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

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Stuart O'Brien

UK power market hits consolidation as Brexit looms

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A major change is underway in the UK power market, with increasing competition, regulatory headwinds, growth in renewables and investors’ uncertainty in Brexit all playing a part.

That’s according to research by GlobalData, which says a significant number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) within the UK power sector has signalled a period of consolidation, along with over 10 electricity and natural gas suppliers folding their businesses within the last year.

GlobalData says the smaller scale suppliers are most at risk, with some exiting the market after they failed to hedge the risks properly, and others falling prey to big players through M&A.

“It is evident that companies will only be able to survive in this competitive market if they are able to achieve economies of scale,” said Ankit Mathur, Practice Head of Power at GlobalData. “The small players have provided an opening for large energy companies to diversify and enter the UK energy retail business.

“For example, Shell Energy debuted into the UK energy market after acquiring First Utility in 2017 and recently proposed to acquire Green Star Energy. This proposed transaction along with announcements of Octopus Energy acquiring Co-op Energy, and Ovo Energy slated to acquire SSE Energy’s retail business, marks the third such announcement in the last three months that indicates the UK retail market is under a consolidation phase.”

GlobalData says the UK’s Big Six energy suppliers (British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON SE, npower, Scottish Power and SSE) have been badly bruised by the fierce competition from more than 60 smaller competitors offering cheaper and affordable prices.

According to Ofgem, the Big Six companies have lost around 1.3 million customers and are serving just above 70 per cent of the domestic customers. Their cumulative profits tanked by 10 per cent and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell by 35 per cent in 2018 as compared to 2017.

Mathur added: “The smaller companies in the next tier are boosting share; however, they are more prone to the risk, with some exiting the market. The new stringent entry requirements for new suppliers including tighter funding requirements, providing a customer service plan and passing a ‘fit and proper’ test may restrict new entry into the market.”

Last call for the FM Christmas Party!

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There are just a few weeks to go until the FM Christmas Party, hosted by the team at the Facilities Management Forum and the FMJ – Grab your tickets while there’s still some left!

Our partners for the evening include the CSHAFSI and Sanderson Cleaning Services.

Wednesday 27 November – BEAT London – 6pm till late

Join friends, colleagues, suppliers and peers for drinks and canapes, and toast the start of the festive season. But act swiftly if you want to ensure that your name is the on the guest list, as we have a limited number of tickets left.

They’re priced at just £40 +VAT which covers your entrance, drinks and canapes.

Don’t miss out! Book today!

Best performers in health, safety & environmental management named

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The British Safety Council has announced the winners of this year’s Sword of Honour and Globe of Honour awards for the exemplary management of health, safety and environmental risks by businesses around the world.

The 84 Sword of Honour and nine Globe of Honour winning companies have demonstrated to an independent adjudication panel a proven track record of excellence in managing risks to workers’ health and safety and/or to the environment from the organisations’ activities.

Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, said: “The results of the 2019 Sword of Honour and Globe of Honour Awards demonstrate that there is a growing worldwide commitment to keeping workplaces healthy and safe and minimising risks to the environment from companies’ day-to-day activities.

“The winners of the Sword of Honour and Globe of Honour Awards are the ‘best of the best’ performers in in health, safety or environmental management. They are leading the global efforts to make all workplaces safe, healthy and sustainable.

“I look forward to congratulating personally these organisations and celebrating their success at the gala luncheon in the City of London on 22 November. It always gives me a great pleasure to present the symbolic swords and globes to the representatives of the companies which inspire and lead the international business community by putting health and safety at the heart of their business.”

The winning organisations came from a wide range of industry sectors in the UK, mainland Europe, India and the Middle East, including construction, education and training, energy generation and distribution, food and drink, leisure, logistics, manufacturing, retail and transport.

The British Safety Council paid particular tribute to seven organisations that won the double: both the Sword of Honour and the Globe of Honour.

These are: BAE Systems Naval Ships, UK, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, UAE, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) UAE, Milaha – Container Shipping, Qatar, Milaha Internal Audit, Qatar, Qatargas Operating Company Ltd Commercial & Shipping Group Shipping Department, Qatar, and TECOM Group, UAE.

The full lists of winners can be found at:

Do you specialise in HVAC solutions? 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 November we’ll be focussing on HVAC 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 HVAC 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 /

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

November – HVAC
December – Water Strategy

For more information on any of the above, contact Lisa Rose on 01992 374077 /

Image by Quinn Kampschroer from Pixabay

Epson Europe assesses its eco-credentials

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Epson Europe has unveiled the second edition of its dedicated European Sustainability Report, ‘The Green Choice’.

The report, a voluntary effort of the company, tracks the progress of its sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives to date, in alignment with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

It also outlines Epson’s goals and ambitions for the future. The practical steps the company took in 2018 include schemes to reduce emissions, waste, energy and water use from the company’s offices as well as its supply chain.

Building on previous projects, such as Epson Europe’s robotics and textile printing programmes with universities, local school collaborations and international sponsorships, the firm has announced a new educational scheme to support over 10,000 students of all ages.

Entitled the ‘New Horizons’ initiative, the scheme is being developed across the 2019 financial year (up until April 2020) to elevate the understanding of sustainability, drawing from the company’s expertise in sustainable technology, paper recycling, waste reduction and more.

“Initiatives like ‘New Horizons’ are just one piece of a global puzzle for Epson, recognising and acting on what we acknowledge as our responsibility as a global technology company,” said Kazuyoshi Yamamoto, President of Epson Europe. “We must look beyond profit generation to long-term solutions, providing our customers and communities with products and services that not only meet their needs, but exceed them.”

Moving forward, Epson has confirmed partnerships with:

  • The Royal Academy of Arts, UK: Continuation of a long-term partnership allowing around artistic students from varying backgrounds to have access to the latest technology to support their education.
  • Sustainability classes, Germany: In-school workshops to teach students about the importance of sustainability and the concept of energy efficiency.
  • EDU2030, Spain: Supporting a pilot project in Barcelona to introduce sustainable technology solutions and biodiversity conservation areas to a school of more than 400 students between the ages of three and 11. 

“Epson has always sought to enhance efficiency in everything it does as a company – including improving its impact on society and the environment, from conception to mission completion,” said Henning Ohlsson, CSR Director Epson Europe. “Embedding the United Nations’ SDGs into this approach has only strengthened our resolve to demonstrate and expand the value that we bring as a company.”

Highlights from 2018 CSR activities include:

  • All Epson European offices have taken steps to ensure that all single use plastics will be removed from offices by 2020
  • Increased renewable energy use to 55%, on target for the new goal of 100% by 2020.
  • Reduced CO2 emissions by employee by over 6%, and reduced scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions by almost 18% in warehouses, despite expanding in both employee base and warehouse footprint in Europe.

You can download Epson Europe’s full 2018 Green Choice sustainability report here.

Image by Dominique Knobben from Pixabay

SAVE THE DATE: Energy Management Summit 2020

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Miss last week’s Energy Management Summit? Make sure you join the industry on October 5th & 6th next year – secure your place now.

The Energy Management Summit is a bespoke and highly-targeted event created specifically for senior energy management professionals.

It is entirely FREE for you to attend. Simply register your place here.

When: October 5th & 6th 2020

Where: Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

Format: Corporate ‘speed-dating’. As our VIP guest, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged, 1-2-1 meetings with suppliers relevant to your requirements. A series of seminars will also be hosted throughout day, and you can network with professionals who share your challenges.

Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our gala dinner with entertainment, are included with your free ticket.

Who Attends: Senior energy management professionals.

Would you like to join them? Register your free place here.

Businesses ‘waste billions’ stockpiling rubbish

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Homes and businesses across the UK are storing rubbish and old junk that is wasting space, energy, rent and rates.

That’s according to research by Censuswide for Skoup, a ‘pay-as-you-throw’ service for surplus clutter and waste.

The research indicates that homes and business are wasting space and money on storage for bulky items that they’ll never use, such as sofas, filing cabinets, old equipment and general junk that can’t be recycled at the kerbside.

The data also found that the average home is wasting six square feet of living space, storing rubbish because the items are too large or too difficult to recycle or dispose of.

The scale of this waste at national level is eye-opening: Collectively, the national “waste of space” in UK homes amounts to 3,444 acres of living space, equivalent to the entire floor space of 164,000 average sized UK houses, 1,722 football pitches or ten Hyde Parks.

The worst part of the country for storing rubbish is Norwich, where the biggest hoarders store a colossal 7.36 square feet on average in their homes.

In the South East a staggering one in 50 homes have more than 20 square foot dedicated to junk storage. Age was also a factor in hoarding – the baby boomer generation (age 55+) store more than twice as much junk as Gen Z (age 16-24).

“Many of us wish that we had more space in our homes and businesses, and often we overlook the rubbish that has literally become part of the furniture,” said George Pearce, Commercial Development Manager, who is leading the national launch of Skoup.

To gauge pent-up demand, Skoup placed a skip in a street in Solihull and filmed what happened next. The skip was filled within just three hours.

“If you replicate what we did with this experiment nationally, it’s clear that there are thousands of skips’ worth of rubbish that UK homes are desperate to get rid of, not counting the extra waste that they tolerate,” Pearce added.

Businesses are also housing unwanted desks, chairs, old equipment and more, according to Skoup polling. The average office of a small business has enough space taken up with rubbish to seat an additional two employees and most say they have been hoarding for a matter of years rather than weeks or months.

Office floor space equivalent to just one employee’s work area can cost around £6,000 per annum, based on a per square foot rental fee of £4 per month.

“When you consider the cost of business rent and rates for storing rubbish, clutter and junk, the total national bill for SMEs alone stretches into the tens of billions of pounds per annum, which is simply staggering,” Pearce added.

Censuswide surveyed 2,000 respondents across the UK between 20th and 23rd September 2019.

Image by Thomas B. from Pixabay

A night to celebrate with your peers – the FM Xmas Party!

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Are you joining the cream of the UK’s FM community at the FM Christmas Party?

Hosted by the FM Forum and the FMJ, the FM Christmas Party is taking place on Wednesday November 27th at the BEAT London private members club.

Our partners for the evening including the CSHA, FSI and Sanderson Cleaning Services.

Tickets are priced at just £40 +VAT each which includes entrance, drinks and canapes. Buy yours now to avoid disappointment!

You’ll be joining fellow FM professionals and industry professionals from the likes of:

  • ACM Environmental
  • Airdri
  • AJ Products
  • Arcus FM
  • Barley Communications
  • BioHygiene
  • BPR Group Europe
  • BusinessWatch UK Fire & Security
  • Complete Washroom Solutions
  • COREecruitment
  • Corps Security
  • EuroWorkSpace
  • Forbo Flooring
  • FSI
  • Glass Expert T/A Gx Glass
  • JC Group
  • KM Facilities Management
  • Linaker
  • Lucion Services
  • Martin Evans
  • Millwood Servicing
  • Mytime Active
  • NSS Group
  • Planon Software
  • Plant Designs
  • ProActive Commercial Maintenance
  • Rendall and Rittner
  • RSPB
  • simPRO Software
  • Solid Management
  • St George City
  • Survey Roofing
  • Suzanne Howe Communications
  • Techserve
  • Thames Valley Police
  • The Xenon Group
  • Total Solutions Group
  • uComply
  • Veolia ES UK

Don’t miss out! Book your ticket today!

€30m Triangulum project touts sustainable cities success

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The €30 million Triangulum project is drawing to a close, with participating cities beginning to share the first results from the five-year programme.

Triangulum is one of 14 European Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse Projects (SCC1) funded by the European Union’s Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020.

Since inception in February 2015, Triangulum has followed the journeys of three ‘Lighthouse’ cities: Manchester (UK), Eindhoven (NL) and Stavanger (NO) as each city implemented and tested innovative smart solutions in bids to create more sustainable urban environments.

Twenty-two partners from industry, research and government have steered and developed numerous mobility, energy, ICT and business improvement projects as three ‘follower’ cities from Lipzeig (D), Prague (CZ) and Sabadell (ES), and an additional Observer city, Tianjin (CHN) have shadowed developments; replicating the most successful concepts and solutions as Triangulum evolved.

In the UK, Manchester looked at the key issues of ICT, mobility and energy. Manchester City Council – the lead organisation of Triangulum in Manchester, The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University – partnered with Siemens as the technical partner to investigate how to balance energy consumption and demand, reduce costs and carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy along the city’s Oxford Road Corridor.

In 2019 Siemens upgraded the Building Energy Management System (BEMS) at Manchester Art Gallery to create a more stable indoor climate within the 200-year old listed building.

The gallery houses priceless artefacts and artworks where the control of temperature and humidity were vital to the care and conservation of thousands of valuable pieces and the Grade III listed building itself.  The replacement BEMS utilised a demand-side response operation that activated heating, cooling and humidity on a needs-basis while predictive analytics were used to return energy sources back onstream when required.

Siemens has also been working with Manchester Met University on its distributed energy system at the university’s Birley Campus. A 400kWh lithium-ion battery, installed at the University Birley Campus which integrates with new solar panels also installed on the roof as part of the project.

Together with the solar panels and the existing Combined Heat Power (CHP), it can supply power to 900 student rooms and a large academic building.  All these technologies are controlled by a Siemens microgrid controller, which will choose the best energy source to use and whether the battery should store or release energy.

A central controller – cloud-based energy management platform – effectively functioned as a virtual power plant and managed the renewable loads in tandem with the BMS located at three sites around the city: the Central Library and Town Hall Extension for Manchester City Council, Alan Turing, Alan Gilbert and Ellen Wilkinson buildings at The University of Manchester. 

The controller integrated with the BMS systems and switched non-critical assets like heating and cooling on and off in response to demands on the grid to maximise energy efficiency; compensating for different weather conditions or changing populations in any of the buildings.  The solution optimised energy consumption, reduced CO2 and lessened the area’s dependence on the grid.  Scaled citywide the central controller could potentially save Manchester approximately 57,000t CO2 emissions per annum – that’s the same as taking 12,000 cars off the road each year!

The findings from the Manchester pilot will be used to develop smart city quarters in other cities around the world. With 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050 [UN] devising sustainable urbanisation solutions will be key to managing future growth and development.

On the conclusion of Triangulum and the completed energy-related work, Juergen Maier, CEO Siemens UK said:  “We are immensely proud to have participated in Manchester’s smart city vision and have learned and demonstrated, in equal measures, that with the right blend of investment, technologies, governance and citizen engagement, cities can evolve to be eco-efficient and fit-for-the-future. Triangulum has shown a blueprint for low-carbon, cost-efficient smart cities.  Manchester and Siemens have proven it is achievable, repeatable and scalable. Now to meet the carbon neutrality targets set by many cities around the world – these projects need to be rolled out at city and regionally-wide scale to have a significant impact on energy consumption and carbon emissions.”

Martine Tommis, Manchester Triangulum Coordinator at Manchester City Council, added: “Working with Siemens as part of the Triangulum project has been a really exciting contribution to supporting our journey to meet our ambitious target of becoming a zero-carbon city by 2038.  It is essential to innovate and create a much smarter, more efficient city, which is why we will continue to support the development of new energy systems and eliminate the need to use fossil fuels. The project is a tribute to what partnerships can achieve for our city.”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

87 global businesses commit to UN emissions targets

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Eighty-seven major companies — with a combined market capitalisation of over US$2.3 trillion and annual direct emissions equivalent to 73 coal-fired power plants — are aligning their businesses with what scientists say is needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change.

Responding to a call-to-action issued in June by a group of business, civil society and UN leaders, the companies collectively represent over 4.2 million employees from 28 sectors and are headquartered in 27 countries.

They have committed to set climate targets across their operations and value chains aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Since the first 28 companies committed to 1.5°C were announced in July, the number has more than tripled. The latest cohort of companies include ADEC Innovations; América Móvil; ASICS Corporation; Atlassian Corporation; Bharti Airtel Limited; Burberry; City Developments Limited; The Co-operative Group; Croda International; Cybercom Group; Danone; Deutsche Telekom; Dexus; EDP – Energias de Portugal; Electrolux; Elopak; En+ Group; Ericsson Group; Firmenich; Glovo; Grupo Malwee; Guess; Ingka Group; Inter IKEA Group; International Flavors & Fragrances; Intuit; Klabin; L’Oréal; MARUI GROUP; Nestlé; Nokia; Novo Nordisk; NRG Energy; Orange Group; Ørsted; PensionDanmark; Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited; Saint-Gobain;; Scania; Schneider Electric; Seventh Generation; SkyPower; Sodexo; SUEZ; Swiss Re; TDC; Viña Concha y Toro; and Wipro, among others.

The news comes as world leaders gather in New York for a milestone Climate Action Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

“It is encouraging to see many first-movers in the private sector align with civil society and ambitious Governments by stepping up in support of a 1.5°C future,” said Guterres. “Now we need many more companies to join the movement, sending a clear signal that markets are shifting.”

Demonstrating the private sector’s support for these efforts, companies are now leading the way in creating a positive feedback loop known as an “ambition loop” — with Government policies and private sector leadership reinforcing each other, and together taking climate action to the next level.

The companies are committed to setting science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which independently assesses corporate emissions reduction targets in line with what climate scientists say is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Of the 87 companies, the following already have verified 1.5°C-aligned reduction targets covering greenhouse gas emissions from their operations: AstraZeneca, BT, Burberry Limited, Deutsche Telekom AG, Dexus, Elopak, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intuit, Levi Strauss & Co., SAP, Schneider Electric, Signify, Sodexo, The Co-operative Group and Unilever.

All campaign signatories have taken this ambition a step further by extending their commitments to apply to their entire value chains, which on average account for 5.5 times higher emissions than operations.

The latest companies announced today as part of the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C — Our Only Future” campaign join an earlier group of 28 companies announced in July, including Acciona; AstraZeneca; Banka BioLoo; BT; Dalmia Cement Ltd.; Enel; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Iberdrola; KLP; Levi Strauss & Co.; Mahindra Group; Natura &Co; Novozymes; Royal DSM; SAP; Signify; Singtel; Telefonica; Telia; Unilever; Vodafone Group and Zurich Insurance, among others.