Stuart O'Brien, Author at Energy Management Summit | Forum Events Ltd

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Stuart O'Brien

US DOE backs blockchain energy management initiative

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The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science has awarded a $1.05 million grant to energy company ComEd, the University of Denver, Virginia Tech and software specialist BEM Controls to create an energy internet that will ‘enhance building energy management and benefits to occupants’.

The award provides funding to commercialise a blockchain-based transactive energy platform developed by BEM Controls.

Blockchains use multiple servers that operate like decentralized record-keeping and verification systems. They are seen as a promising solution for energy companies bringing more distributed energy resources (DER) onto their systems and creating marketplaces offering an array of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and innovative energy services.

The BEM Controls software incorporates time-based energy management and control of interior spaces in buildings to achieve greater energy efficiency, reliability and resiliency. ComEd will use its Grid of the Future Lab to demonstrate the functionality of the system, which will be developed over three years.

“Energy management technology has the potential to make a very positive impact on the environments in which we live and work,” said Terry Donnelly, president and COO, ComEd. “ComEd’s Grid of the Future lab will play an important role in advancing the science in this field and support our efforts to deliver a premier customer experience.”

“The growing proliferation of distributed energy resources calls for advanced management frameworks that support peer-to-peer communications while being fast, scalable and secure,” said Dr. Amin Khodaei, Chairman of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of Denver. “Now is the time to develop and demonstrate the technologies that can make a more sustainable and resilient future possible.”

While in early stages of development, interactive energy platforms are gaining attention for their potential to manage volatility caused by the growth of distributed energy resources. BEM Controls says it selected blockchain to support its open architecture due to its recognised ability to ensure security for a broad range of transactions.

The Virginia Tech team is led by Prof. Saifur Rahman, founding director of the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, IEEE fellow and president of the IEEE Power and Energy Society.

Image by xresch from Pixabay

Open fridges in supermarkets face environmental scrutiny

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Recycling and waste disposal specialists Business Waste has called for a ban on open fridges in supermarkets due to the energy and environmental impact.

Fridges, used to display cold meats, dairy and other chilled produce, became popular with retailers as they allowed consumers to see what was on offer and easier access, resulting in bigger profits the the retail chains. 

However, Business Waste asserts this open-fronted design is precisely what makes them so damaging for the environment. The refrigerant used in many of the leading retailers’ stores consists of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – a group of so-called ‘super greenhouse gases’ which are much more harmful even than carbon dioxide, which, the firm sayd, means that the over 7,000 supermarket locations in the UK are collectively making a hefty contribution to harmful emission levels.

1.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy are used by supermarkets each year, with 60-70% used by fridges – the energy equivalent of boiling the kettle 15 million times. 

1% of the UK’s energy demand is used by retail giant Sainsbury’s alone. 

While some retailers have made moves to improve the environmental impact of their refrigeration systems – with some of the household names, such as Aldi and Tesco, committing to reducing their HFC use – Business Waste says this fails to address the energy wastage which is a factor of all open fridge designs, regardless of the coolant used.

New ‘aerofoil’ technology in supermarket fridges could mean energy savings of up to 25% if adopted by other retailers.

Mark Hall, spokesperson Business Waste, said: “Committing to reducing harmful emissions is all well and good, but retailers have been slow to do so in practice – and by continuing to use open fridges, they are simply paying lip service to improving their environmental credentials. 

“Shoppers adapt quickly to new initiatives; the 5p plastic carrier bag levy is an excellent example of the general public quickly adopting new ways of shopping. And, with environmental concerns higher than ever on the public consciousness, we are finding that consumers are increasingly willing to accept that changes must be made to prevent further damage to our planet.”

If all UK supermarkets put doors on their open fridges, the electricity saved would be approximately double of that generated by Yorkshire’s coal-fired Drax powerstation – Europe’s second largest.

Hall continued: “Supermarkets are ultimately concerned about the bottom line, and whether or not their sales would be affected without the pull of products catching shoppers’ eyes. They rely heavily on impulse purchasing – hence more expensive products being stocked at eye level and those tempting treats placed by the tills. But, as with many issues which are huge contributors to environmental damage, it’s now the responsibility of industries to innovate and find new ways to operate in this new, concerning landscape we find ourselves in.

“We urge all retailers to look more closely at how they store and market their cold products, and help dramatically reduce the use of open fridges in the UK. We have the opportunity to make the UK a leader in this space, and while some work has already been done, we have a long way to go.”

You’re invited to the FM Christmas Party!

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The FM Christmas Party is returning for 2019, once again hosted by the Facilities Management Forum and the Facilities Management Journal and taking place on Wednesday, November 27th at BEAT London.

Yes, we know we’re in the middle of summer, but we’re already looking ahead to the Christmas party season – and we’d like to invite you to an evening of industry networking and festive cheer!

Taking place at London’s ultra-hip BEAT venue, 200 of the FM industry’s leading buyers and suppliers will gather under one roof for a fun-filled extravaganza.

RSVP today to avoid disappointment: Individual tickets are usually priced at £40+vat per head; including drinks and canapés! Buy them now to get an early bird rate of just £35+vat per ticket!

Click here to book your tickets!

We also have a limited amount of bespoke partner opportunities available for the FM Christmas Party – for more information, contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374 079 or email p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk.

Be the energy management leader you always wanted to be – here’s how

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Join 60 peers at the Energy Management Summit and you’ll have the opportunity to discover the latest insights in energy management strategy.

This unique two-day event takes place on September 30th & October 1st at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted and is entirely FREE for you to attend.

Your VIP pass includes access to a series of seminars by industry thought-leaders. These sessions include:

Be the energy management leader you always wanted to be! – by Nick Turton, External Affairs Director, Energy Institute

How to achieve significant energy savings in legacy HVAC equipment – by Tony Wright, Divisional Director, ebm-papst

Understanding your energy culture to achieve effective energy efficiency through behavioural change – by David Eynon, Associate Director, Energy and Technical Services

The Energy Management Summit will also allow you to meet, face-to-face, with innovative and budget-saving suppliers, and network with peers.

Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our networking dinner, are included with your free VIP place.

Places are limited though, so register today.

BEIS Chair implores Secretary of State on net zero actions

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The Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial  Strategy (BEIS) Committee  has written to the new Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom to press for action on a series of policy fronts relating to the net zero initiative.

Issued covered include electric vehicles, carbon capture, and energy efficiency, which the BEIS says are crucial to ramp up UK efforts to meet future carbon budgets and the net-zero 2050 target.

On 12th July, the Committee published a report on energy efficiency. The report warned that the UK stands no chance of meeting its emissions reduction targets, including net zero by 2050, unless the Government takes urgent action to revive its failing energy efficiency policy and builders are compelled to deliver the latest energy efficiency standards. 

In her letter to the Secretary of State, Rachel Reeves MP is calling for stronger BEIS-Treasury collaboration to ensure that Treasury’s net zero funding review considers not only the costs, but also the benefits, of delivering the new target.

Reeves wrote:  “I welcome Andrea Leadsom as the new Secretary of State. With the Government committed to the net-zero target by 2050 but currently set up to fail to deliver on the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, it is clear the new Secretary of State will need to hit the ground running and act quickly to ramp up efforts on the policies and actions crucial to tackling climate change and capitalising on the opportunities of a low-carbon economy.  

“The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has made a series of recommendations to drive forward progress – in areas such as electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and on carbon capture and storage – which I hope the Secretary of State will be ready and willing to act upon.

“The Secretary of State should also seek to overcome Treasury resistance and ensure that her colleague at No.11 examines the potential benefits as well as the costs of the transition to net zero. The Government should also overcome its ideological opposition to on-shore wind – the cheapest form of electricity generation in the UK – and set out plans to fulfil this technology’s huge potential. “We look forward to questioning the Secretary of State later this year and pressing her on her commitment to the policies needed to deliver on the UK’s climate change obligations.” 

Image by digifly840 from Pixabay 

£3m funding for smart energy systems

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UK businesses and researchers can apply for a share of up to £3 million to support projects to develop important technology components that improve the efficiency of local energy systems.

The funding, available through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge, aims to support projects that investigate innovative components that would improve the efficiency of local energy systems.

Areas of interest include applications for monitoring gas and electricity hardware and software, improving integration between local and national electricity networks and markets, optimisation of generation in real time across many sites, operators and aggregators, improving efficiency of heat networks, heating and cold storage, especially inter-seasonal and optimising the coupling of electricity, heat and transport.

The competition opens on 22 July 2019, with the deadline for applications midday on 9 October 2019.

Businesses of any size may apply, with expected projects to range in size between £100,000 and £500,000

For more information click here: 

https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/397/overview#summary

Image by Alberto Sanchez from Pixabay

Do you specialise in Water Management? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on Energy Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the market – and in August we’ll be focussing on Water Management solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help energy management buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Water Management solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Lisa Rose on 01992 374077 / l.rose@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering in 2019, month by month:

August – Water Management
September – Solar PV
October – Lighting
November – HVAC
December – Water Strategy

For more information on any of the above, contact Lisa Rose on 01992 374077 / l.rose@forumevents.co.uk.

Image by rony michaud from Pixabay 

Would you like 1-2-1 meetings with these energy managers?

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We will have 60 energy management professionals attending the Energy Management Summit this autumn. They have all registered because they are sourcing new suppliers.

Would you like to meet them?

The Energy Management Summit takes place on 30 September & 1 October 2019 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted.

We will create an itinerary of pre-arranged, 1-2-1 meetings for you with the buyers who are looking for your solutions, and with those you’d particularly like to meet. Our delegates include representatives from:-

  • BT
  • ELIS
  • Finsbury Foods
  • James Finlays
  • London Borough of Hackney
  • Marriott International
  • Network Rail SE Route
  • Nippon Sheet Glass
  • Norfolk County Council
  • Scarborough Borough Council
  • Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard
  • Southern Co-Operative
  • The Body Shop
  • The Princess Alexandra Hospital
  • Vodafone
  • Wates Group

Find out more about how the Summit can help boost your sales pipeline, click here.

The Facilities Management Forum – Registration Open!

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Registration is now open for the Facilities Management Forum – register for your free VIP place today!

Our Approach

Taking place on January 27th & 28th 2020 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, the Facilities Management Forum allows senior FM professionals to share forward-thinking ideas, meet new partners and discover new ways to underpin their security strategies.

It’s entirely FREE for you to attend and your VIP ticket includes:

  • A bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged meetings with product and service providers who match your requirements and upcoming projects
  • Access to a series of seminars by industry thought-leaders
  • Networking with like-minded peers
  • Complimentary overnight accommodation, plus all meals and refreshments
  • An invitation to our networking dinner

How Do I Get Involved?

We have just 60 VIP tickets available, so register your free place today.

MPs warn Government on energy efficiency targets

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The UK stands no chance of meeting its emissions reduction targets, including net zero by 2050, unless the Government takes urgent action to revive its failing energy efficiency policy and builders are compelled to deliver the latest energy efficiency standards.

That’s the warning delivered by MPs in a report by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, which states that improving the energy efficiency of buildings will be vital to meeting climate change obligations, eradicating fuel poverty and lowering home energy bills.

The report asserts that energy efficiency is the cheapest way of reducing carbon emissions, but says public investment has shrunk, and the rate of installations has gone backwards – with insulation measures installed in houses under Government schemes now around 95 per cent lower than in 2012.

The report concludes that energy efficiency is a national infrastructure priority and calls on the Government to designate it as such. The report is clear that if the Government is serious about achieving its climate and fuel poverty targets it needs to fill the substantial investment gap and allocate more central funding for energy efficiency. 

It also highlights the low levels of per capita investment in residential energy efficiency schemes in England compared with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, concluding that the UK Government considers energy efficiency less of a priority than its counterparts in the devolved administrations.  

The report calls for more robust building regulations, finding that builders are currently able to exploit loopholes that allow them to build homes to outdated standards and sell homes that do not meet advertised energy standards. 

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: “Improving energy efficiency is by far the cheapest way of cutting our emissions and must be a key plank of any credible strategy to deliver net zero by 2050. If the Government lacks the political will to deliver energy efficiency improvements, how can we expect it to get on with the costlier actions needed to tackle climate change? More energy efficient buildings are not only crucial for tackling climate change but are vital for lowering customers’ energy bills and lifting people out of fuel poverty. Despite a consensus on what needs to be done, Ministers have continued to sit on their hands and failed to deliver the policies needed to boost energy efficiency. 

“The Government needs to commit to investing in schemes to ensure all buildings are brought up to the highest energy efficiency standards. The Government has failed to close loopholes in regulations that allow builders to develop to outdated standards and also enabled builders to sell homes that do not meet the standards advertised.” 

The report says the Government should set out urgently how it intends to meet its target for all homes to reach EPC Band C by 2035, which the Committee considers an empty commitment. 

The report also recommends that the Government drastically increases the £5 million allocated to the Green Home Finance Innovation Fund, set up to encourage the private sector to develop finance products to incentivise households to make energy efficiency improvements.  

Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay