Award winning manufacturer of IT-based building automation.
industry collaboration could be key to enhanced energy efficiency
Trend Controls UK.
people have some understanding of the importance of energy efficiency.
Within our own homes, keeping bills down and maintaining a comfortable
environment is a delicate balance of control.
Yet for commercial businesses and government organisations, the advantages of energy efficiency can be huge. Although the benefits of reducing carbon footprints and cutting costs are obvious in today's austere times, the commercial understanding of how to do this is possibly not as clear as it should be. To address this, associations in the controls industry are being encouraged to collaborate to provide better energy efficiency education.
Of course it's important to save energy
A high profile topic in recent
years, energy saving is rarely out of the media and for good reason.
Efficient energy use is central to minimising carbon footprints and
building utility costs – saving much needed business budget.
In the UK, government legislation is already in place setting levels of energy efficiency for all UK buildings: Part L of the UK Building Regulations for example specifically focuses on the conservation of fuel and power, detailing insulation, HVAC and carbon emission targets. In addition to this, other recent legislation focuses on conscious energy reduction as central to cutting the UK's carbon footprint – and saving money for businesses. For example:
Yet while media coverage and legislation go some way towards enhancing awareness of the importance of energy saving, many organisations are failing to understand how to implement a robust plan. As a result, inefficient building control systems – plus poorly considered energy use – can lead to rising business expenses.
Education leads to optimisation
Building controls are central to
optimising energy use in commercial buildings. Controls systems can
influence up to 84 per cent of the energy-using equipment in the
average non-domestic building fabric. So for any organisation seeking
to reduce energy waste, an understanding of their controls system is
Unfortunately, many are unaware of
just what savings they could make, or even how to begin optimising
their building controls. If utilities and facilities managers are
unaware of their system's potential, lights can remain on, heating and
air conditioning can run out of sync with operational hours and
inefficiencies can spiral out of control fast. As a result, trade
associations within the building controls sector believe now more than
ever is the time to collaborate by encouraging organisations within the
industry to work together to educate end-users about getting the most
out of their building controls.
industries together for collaborative controls and saving
By working with industry peers in
associations such as the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA),
the Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA) and the Building
Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA), controls
organisations can take a more effective step towards educating others.
These channels provide a broader
platform for the benefits of energy control to reach and impact
government and end users with a clear and concise message. Karen
Fletcher, BCIA's executive officer, states, 'It is very important that
controls companies, large and small, work together... We can help to
educate the wider construction industry about the benefits of controls
in general by providing working groups, conferences, and briefings –
creating greater interest in the products and services of our members
as a result.'
cases of enhanced energy efficiency and knowledge
It's easy to state that enhancing
energy efficiency and improving understanding should be business
priorities. From savings and better use of budgets, to minimised
environmental impact, the benefits are clear. But in the real world,
how have organisations actually achieved success through their
Needing a way to make buildings
across a 900 acre site more efficient through a comprehensive BEMS, the
vehicle manufacturer managed to make an energy saving of 4,271,544kw
and reduce CO2 by 21%.
By installing new VSD's (variable
speed drives), Matrix house gained an additional £80k p.a. in savings,
and experienced an 18% energy reduction in just over a year.
Considering the initial solution investment was £90k, ROI was achieved
in little over a year.
In the case of Imperial College, 9
local BEMS networks connected 14 buildings across a 250,000m2 area.
Through investing in BEMS, the college made a 50% saving on heating
equal to £350,000, made better usage of the environment itself by
starting to use fresh air recirculation for 'free' energy savings, and
reduced steam usage by 79%.
Enabling an 80% reduction in fan
power energy consumption, Chester Zoo's solution saved 84 tonnes of
CO2, increased air filter service life by 60% and made a £25,000pa
saving on an initial £9,000 investment.
At a smaller scale, even in a
non-commercial building similar benefits can be felt. For example, 25%
of all a building's heat is lost skywards, so roof insulation just
250mm thick can make a noticeable impact on bills. If building and
property owners are made aware of this, they can take the time to
insulate: from walls to floors, double glazed windows and loft
insulation. The result of efficiency education? Costs can be cut,
energy consumption can be reduced and the overall climate of a property
can be much improved through all seasons.
One of the reasons that the
commercial solutions above saw long term maintained success and ROI was
due to continuous collaboration, review and adjustment between the
client and the BEMS provider.
accounting for changes in building usage, purpose and new construction,
solutions quickly become ineffective again. This is one reason that
mixed-vendor solutions can be seen as less reliable. If different
providers install (and therefore must maintain) different parts of a
solution, it adds a lot of complexity, a lot of room for error and
incompatibility, and leads to an overall increase in costs in the long
run: an issue that many companies may not be aware of. So for best
results, reporting, management and long term ROI, it's wise to invest
in a comprehensive solution from a single provider.
brighter, more efficient future
By raising the profile of new
technologies and acknowledging the advantages behind them, the design,
installation, maintenance and benefits of energy efficient solutions
can only improve and spread.
and immediately this will
result in better energy practice for many organisations, but from a
wider perspective this can have dramatic transformational results in
many areas: in creating new industry training opportunities, better
end-user control guides, and potentially even influencing new
legislation on building's energy usages. Through education and positive
action a combined industry approach to educate and improve efficiency
may benefit all.
All information courtesy of Trend Controls UK.