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Routes to deliver net zero

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By David Kipling, CEO – On-Site Energy

Businesses have complicated energy needs, particularly those that use a lot of thermal energy such as for steam or ovens.  Achieving net zero is going to require elements of re-engineering, re-thinking business processes, adopting new technology and changing energy purchasing strategy. But is it even possible in the current climate when those decisions will also directly affect the P&L through changed operating costs.

The main routes to net zero most businesses consider are:

  • Buy green tariffs – and hope they won’t be looked-through as “green-washing”. SECR reporting is starting to highlight energy intensity (how many kWh of energy your company uses to produce 1 kg of product) – which will aim direct comparison with competitors
  • Electrification – and hope the Government will make good on its promises to decarbonise the electricity grid
  • Await Hydrogen to move off gas – another big “if”. When or will it be commercially viable and available ?
  • Invest in energy efficiency

The problem with approaches (1) – (3)  is they will have failed to deliver the change that your customers are looking for anytime up to at least 2030. That could put your business at a competitive disadvantage. Also you are fully exposed to market volatility with these routes.

We believe the right path is option (4), to invest in reducing your energy intensity and also consider low-carbon generation solutions.  This way you reduce your CO2 footprint, reduce your exposure to the grid and are in control of your costs. Also bear in mind that the third round of ESOS is less than 2 years away, and its likely to be mandatory to enact the recommendations of the auditor.  In that ESOS round there is going to be an even greater focus on action on energy efficiency.

The challenge is keeping operating costs under control whilst achieving progress towards decarbonising and deciding when to adopt new technologies.  With a recession looking likely, capital availability may also become more difficult.  We can help deliver measures without any capex from you, using our zero-capex energy partnership solution.

If you would like to discuss how to be more energy efficient and accelerate your net zero strategy, please contact David Kipling, CEO – On-Site Energy on 0151 271 0037 or email  david@on-site.energy (www.on-site.energy).

Do we have to live with higher energy prices ?

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By David Kipling, CEO – On-Site Energy Ltd

The hikes in energy costs on the past 6 months have been nothing short of game-changing. But are they just a spike or are they here to stay ?

At 25 March 2022, the Winter=22 forward energy wholesale price for electricity was 23.2p/kWh and gas 9.0p/kWh.  You need to add non-energy costs and taxes to these, so more realistically electricity will be over 30p/kWh and gas around 10p/kWh.  Looking out to winter 2024 electricity is still at 11 p/kWh and gas is 4p/kWh.  That means Winter 2024 is double what was the norm in the first half of 2021.

So the current “crisis” prices are unlikely to subside to pre-crisis levels, and if you do nothing about it, you are going to have to learn to live with levels at least 100% more than they were in 2021.  How is this going to impact your business or its ability to decarbonise ?

But you don’t have to settle for these prices.  The steps you can take are: (1) reduce consumption through energy efficiency measures and (2) utilise onsite generation to reduce the amount of energy you draw from the grid.

Typically averaged cost of solar PV over its life is less than 8p/kWh and CHP can save around £400,000 per annum per MW installed even with the projected gas prices. With savings like these, every business should be looking at these options.

If you are not sure where to start with energy efficiency measures or onsite generation, we can help. For qualifying companies, we undertake initial evaluations free of charge and can also provide fully funded solutions so that capex needn’t be a barrier. We can also ensure that what is being proposed aligns with your sustainability goals.

If you would like to discuss how to avoid these high grid costs and have a more manageable energy cost for your business, please contact David Kipling, CEO – On-Site Energy Ltd on 0151 271 0037 or email  david@on-site.energy (www.on-site.energy).

Choose ISO 50001 to simplify compliance and set course for net zero carbon

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By Mehmet Olgun, Head of Net Zero Compliance, EQUANS

Businesses face mounting legislative pressure to achieve energy and carbon savings, and to comply with multiple compliance regulations, including ESOS, SECR, CCA and UK ETS. That’s why it’s important to find the most efficient and manageable ways to gather data, manage energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions in order to meet your regulatory obligations.

One of the most effective ways to fulfil all of these requirements is to gain accreditation to ISO 50001 – the internationally recognised standard for energy management systems (EnMS). ISO 50001 provides the foundation for compliance with all environmental regulations and also delivers a framework for creating a net zero carbon roadmap to meet your carbon-reduction objectives.

What does ISO 50001 accreditation involve?

ISO 50001 helps establish best practices for energy management. It involves implementing policies on everything from purchasing and energy efficiency to staff training and data reporting. It helps organisations to manage, monitor and improve energy performance by controlling  energy consumption and enhancing operational efficiency. It enables you to embed processes, measurements, behaviours and responsibilities within your organisation that help to achieve consistent energy and carbon savings.

Once achieved, the accreditation is initially awarded for three years. Certified businesses will have to go through an annual audit each year, to ensure they are maintaining the IS0 50001 requirements. 

The benefits of ISO 50001 accreditation

As well as enabling easy compliance with ESOS and other regulations, accreditation to ISO 50001:

  • Improves profitability and operational efficiency through continuous energy savings and cost reductions.
  • Builds robust operational and energy management processes and behaviours into a business and creates creating a leaner and more agile operation.
  • Provides a strong foundation for creating a net zero carbon roadmap and supports the delivery of your net zero strategy.
  • Helps you stay ahead of regulatory changes and new compliance requirements by instilling bast practice into your business.
  • Strengthens employee motivation by engaging people in improving environmental performance
  • Enhances brand reputation by demonstrating your commitment to sustainable development

Start your journey to ISO 50001 accreditation 

With so many competing priorities, dedicating time and resources to reaching ISO 50001 accreditation may seem challenging. Partners like EQUANS can help by providing end-to-end support for achieving ISO 50001 accreditation. At EQUANS we help you develop your policies and set appropriate targets and objectives. We identify energy consumption hotspots and associated energy-saving opportunities, as well as introducing monitoring and measurement processes to evaluate your performance. Our specialists will also guide you through the annual audit process required to maintain your accreditation.

Find out more about ISO 50001 accreditation and how EQUANS can support your business here.

5 ways to manage higher energy costs & shrink your carbon footprint

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High energy prices are causing pain for all organisations. But what can you do to tackle rising costs and reduce your carbon footprint?

It’s impossible to predict the future twists and turns of the energy markets, so it’s essential to find smart new ways to manage energy costs and carbon emissions.

Centrica Business Solutions’ energy cost reduction guide reveals five opportunities to use energy sustainably for financial and environmental gain.

5 proven ways to manage cost and carbon reduction

  1. 1. Drive energy efficiency through data. Advanced energy insight technologies provide full visibility of your site-wide energy consumption. This enables you to identify hidden efficiency opportunities, pinpoint operational vulnerabilities; and inform investment and optimisation opportunities.
  2. Generate and store your own low-cost, low carbon power supply. Falling technology costs and higher wholesale energy prices are strengthening the economic case for installing solar PV and battery storage. The return on investment for solar projects has recently increased by a third. For one client we were predicting annual energy savings of £43,000 six months ago, which has now risen to £78,000.
  3. Unlock revenue & cost saving opportunities. By ‘load shifting’ operations with high energy demands from peak periods to a time when energy costs are lower you save on energy bills. Use distributed energy assets, such as solar battery storage systems to unlock flexibility revenues or to provide a green back-up power supply.
  4. Become a sustainable business and gain competitive advantage. Get ahead of increasing energy costs and carbon taxes plus tighter regulation, such as the upcoming Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
  5. Use finance solutions to invest in new energy technology. There are many opportunities to use Opex-based finance, such as our Energy as a Service option, which removes risk, time and financial pressures.

Centrica Business Solutions are experts in delivering integrated sustainable energy projects – helping you to improve your cost, environmental & operational performance.

Download our guide: ‘5 Opportunities to manage energy costs’

No time to waste on Net Zero

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We need less “Blah, Blah Blah” and more action on Net Zero, according to Greta Thunberg.

What are you waiting for? Get moving on your net zero journey to benefit both planet and profits.

You can get ahead of regulatory changes and surging carbon and energy prices to balance both your financial and environmental goals.

Read our new report to find out how green business leaders are delivering on their net zero goals. Discover the most cost effective ways to improve your sustainable energy performance.

Download your report: Why wait to pursue net zero?

Click here to buy: How retail delivery can help Britain meet its Net Zero target

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Online deliveries – is there anything more convenient? You browse through endless options, click on the product that tickles your fancy, and wait for it to arrive from the comfort of your settee.

There is no hiding that this practice has surged over the last 18 months or so, incentivised by lockdowns and unsettling times. From food shopping to wardrobe makeovers, customers have been placing their orders and waiting for the delivery man to knock on their front door. However, there are growing concerns over the impact this has on our environment. So, it’s time to rethink the way in which retailers cater to such high delivery demands.

As our planet finds itself under severe pressure, governments have adhered to the so-called Net Zero Emissions Race. The goal is to drastically bring down the release of toxic gases into the atmosphere. The UK, specifically, has committed to a legally binding net-zero target which needs to be achieved by 2050. It is safe to say that, with the increased use of online delivery services, retailers have a significant part to play in helping the country meet its aim.

With this in mind, we take a look at how retail deliveries can become more eco-friendly and sustainable.

Transport issues

It is no secret that it takes some sort of vehicle to drop off a parcel on our doorstep. If you have ordered your weekly shop, a pair of new jeans, and a tasty Chinese takeaway, it is very likely that at least three different vehicles have hit the road and stopped outside your house in one day.

Unfortunately, regular home deliveries do our environment no favours whatsoever. This becomes particularly unsettling when realising that transport holds the unenviable reputation of being Britain’s largest emitting sector of greenhouse gases. As a result, the UK government has already set out plans to decarbonise the transport system. From 2030, for instance, petrol and diesel vehicles can no longer be sold. By 2035, instead, all cars and vans on UK roads will have to put out zero emissions.

As things stand, though, retail deliveries can have a significant, negative impact on everyone’s carbon footprint. This is especially true in multi-item orders. In fact, two products that are shipped separately will generate 35% more emissions than if they were delivered together.

To eradicate the problem from the outset, switching to electric vehicles would massively nullify gas emissions. Yes, buying a fleet of electric delivery vans may seem a costly and inaccessible solution. But the reality is that there are affordable van leasing deals that would help businesses kickstart their eco-friendly deliveries in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

You will be glad to hear, moreover, that this is not the only sustainable option. What else can be done?

Decrease trips

As already mentioned, delivering products separately certainly doesn’t help the environment. It would be wise, instead, to limit the number of trips to a customer’s house and substantially cut down on emissions. An effective way to ditch those multiple delivery journeys is to combine as many orders as possible. It is important to plan your itinerary carefully, organising routes to minimise mileage.

Limit returns

One of the perks of online shopping is that many retailers offer return services. Most of the time, clients can benefit from this option free of charge. This is surely an excellent strategy to encourage customers to buy multiple items at once. While retailers may find it to be good business, in truth, it’s no bed of roses.

In fact, a study suggests that 30% of web shoppers purposely over-order and later send back items they are not particularly keen on. Apart from affecting the finances of the retailer, extensive returns are highly detrimental to the planet. To limit the number of avoidable return trips, retailers may want to consider eliminating free return options. This way, customers will be more inclined to think twice before ordering products they don’t really like, want, or need.

Another way to help reduce the high rate of returns could be to enhance product descriptions on businesses’ websites. With extensive information about the item and good-quality pictures, clients will be able to make more conscious decisions – and, consequently, fewer reckless orders.

Reduce packaging

As the saying goes, “good things come in small packages”. Why wrap a mug inside a parcel that could easily fit a cutlery set? Not only does it occupy unnecessary room in the back of the van, but it also has a negative effect on the environment – especially if it is not recyclable.

Moreover, reusable packaging is incredibly useful. To make return services more sustainable, reusable boxes allow customers to send products back inside their original parcel – which, in turn, can be repurposed by the retailer for another delivery.

Finally, plastic packaging is widely used for deliveries. A fundamental way to becoming more eco-friendly is to ditch plastic containers and resort to recycled cardboard parcels boxes instead. These can then be recycled or used for storage.

As the UK works hard to reach the all-important net-zero goal, we are all called to play our part in safeguarding the environment. With an astounding rise in online deliveries, retailers will have to tweak their plans of action to become more sustainable.

Onsite generation and efficiency are best defences against volatile grid costs

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UK gas costs and electricity grid costs recently reached record highs. For those that are exposed to these rates there could be serious consequences.  For those that were lucky enough to dodge these bullets due to hedging or fixed tariffs, then the lesson should also be learned that you can’t avoid exposure to the market long term. When your hedge or fixed rate ends, what will the market be like then?  Are you prepared for that risk ?

But what can you do about it ?

The best thing you can do to avoid these prices is to reduce consumption. Suddenly energy efficiency measures whose payback was too long previously should be more attractive because of the higher costs of energy.  It would be wise to revisit what opportunities you have, and  to have your operational energy needs reviewed.  Inefficiencies that you have lived with for years such as over-sized steam boilers, inefficient motors, outdated refrigeration, obsolete plant, power correction, lack of VSDs, T5 lighting etc, will be worth addressing.

Additionally, generating your own power on site – “behind the meter” – avoids the non-commodity costs and CCL that go with grid power, and is amongst the cheapest form of power you can now source.

There are various low carbon and renewable options available.

Renewables are currently only intermittent generators …..solar only works in the day (and not as well in winter), wind only works when the wind is blowing sufficiently.   Also correct sizing of a solar array or wind turbine really impacts return on investment, so its wise not to go too large.

For those with more complex energy needs, combined heat and power systems can operate 24 hours a day, providing the largest savings.   They can provide heating, steam or even cooling as a by-product,  reducing grid electricity or gas usage, and providing more resilience,   They can also be carbon reducing or even carbon negative. Most CHP are also ready for 100% hydrogen when it becomes available, giving it some future proofing.

A key question though is where does the money come from for these measures ?      If the paybacks are still too long, or cash is already committed to other projects, then you can look for zero capex options where the provider will install the measures without cost to you,  and then charge you over time for their use. This is what we do at OEP Group (www.on-site.energy) for energy intensive manufacturers.

We can conduct a free review of your energy usage and recommend efficiency measures and onsite generation solutions without any commitments from you.  At the end, we provide you with our recommendations for both efficiency measures and onsite generation, and options for both capex and zero capex funding.

If this sounds interesting then please get in touch with our CEO, David Kipling at david@on-site.energy or call him on 0151 271 0037.

Energy efficient Air Management and Temperature Control

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By David Kipling, CEO – OEP Group

We regularly see air temperature and humidity management challenges in large buildings.  That can be in large logistics warehouses who have problems with solar gain in summer and very high temperatures at mezzanine levels or winter heating where the space is vast and there is pressure to reduce gas and fossil fuel usage.

Also in buildings with tight climate management, which need to maintain temperature and humidity within tight tolerances such as for pharmaceutical and electronics manufacturing.

The answer to date seems to have been to throw money at expensive air handling.  Even then employees often complain about cold or hot spots.   These can also manifest in uneven temperature for the stored product or production process, with implications on product quality.

There is a new approach though that can provide significant benefits.   The system uses a patented “stirring” approach which achieves uniform temperatures, and minimises stratification.  It only requires about 1/6th of the ducting usually needed, which also means less capacity is needed for AHUs and other air processing.  This can be paired with low energy fans and other technologies such as evaporative cooling to provide the required solutions.

The impact of this technology can be a reduction in energy costs of up to 40%, avoidance of replacement capex on AHUs, reduced operating costs to maintain and better staff comfort.   It could also resolve capacity constraints in some refrigeration applications.

If you would like to discuss how to implement energy efficient air management in your business, please contact David Kipling, CEO – OEP Group on 0151 271 0037 or email  david@on-site.energy (www.on-site.energy).

Take back control of your energy – Here’s how

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By David Kipling, CEO – OEP Group

The last few months will have caused many businesses sleepless nights… unprecedented and previously unthinkable energy prices, their knock-on impact into cost of commodities such as CO2, steel, building materials and even the raw ingredients for manufacturing. Hopefully this period will act as a wake-up call, the equivalent of a “health-scare”, that results in reappraising what we are doing, and metaphorically going to the gym and shedding those excess kilograms.

So how do we take back control ?

The lesson we should be taking is understanding what we are actually in control of, and what we aren’t.  We aren’t in control of wholesale prices, or grid costs, or taxes, or carbon pricing. You can’t fix or hedge for the next 20 years.  Even if you hedged before this crisis, so ducked this bullet, at some point you will face exposure to the market.  Hopefully you are fortunate when you do, but do you really want to take that risk ?

What you DO have control over is your energy consumption, and onsite generation. The best course of action is to reduce consumption – invest in energy efficiency – and become more self-sufficient for your power needs by investing in low carbon and renewable generation.   This way you minimise your exposure to the grid and volatile markets.

Boardrooms now accept that sustainability is a key driver to succeed in both short-term and long-term.  With COP26, increased reporting of carbon performance, clearer road maps being set out by Government to net zero, and the third round of ESOS only 2 years away, there is going to be an even greater focus on action and making changes. There is also a recognition that acting now is the right thing to do to grow long-term shareholder value – morally, politically, legally and to address business risk.

For energy managers and professionals, there has never been a better opportunity to rise and shine.   Board’s don’t know how to do what you do.  YOU are now central to making your business a better company, and in doing so contributing to solving the climate crisis.

Innovation in energy technology has never been more active. With the advent of higher energy costs you can also add an even stronger economic argument to act.  Projects that were previously dismissed due to long payback may now be viable.

Add to this that by the time ESOS reports are finished in 2023 it will be mandatory to enact the proposed measures, and the case is building for focusing on the matters within your control.

Capital is readily available to support investment in efficiency and onsite generation – either directly or through third parties such as OEP Group, to provide the investment “off-balance sheet”.  There is no shortage of money.   It’s a question of priority about where money is allocated.   With the massive changes happening, the priorities are likely to switch to sustainability and to reducing business risk.

Take back control !

If you would like to discuss how to take back control of energy in your business, please contact David Kipling, CEO – OEP Group on 0151 271 0037 or email  david@on-site.energy (www.on-site.energy).

BEMS – Greener, safer, and more efficient buildings

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By Richard Irvin FM

A Building Energy Management Systems, (BEMS) is an intelligent and efficient approach to monitor and control building services such as lighting, heating and HVAC. Information is collected, tracked, monitored and used to control equipment for energy consumption.

As increasing energy costs continue to be a significant challenge, more building owners are using BEMS systems to improve efficiencies, reduce waste and manage costs.

This technology can be used in both residential and commercial buildings. Depending on the size of the premises, building type and budget – the BEMS system can be wired or wireless with both software and hardware integrated to the equipment, devices and appliances. Once installed, systems need to be maintained or they can be upgraded to maximise results.

The Richard Irvin FM advantage:

  • Plan – our engineers and specialists have industry-leading experience to help you get the best possible results from your existing BEMS / plant systems; from survey for new installation to re-commissioning and upgrades.
  • Protect – building users and residents benefit from clean air, set at the right temperature to create a healthy environment. Conserving energy reduces running costs and pollution.
  • Control – monitor and manage consumption based on data, make informed decisions to reduce running costs, act on energy consumption and minimise repairs.
  • Improve – we have the skill to assess, advice, supply and install renewable options such as ground source heat pumps and solar photovoltaic systems to improve both carbon footprint and energy consumption.

Our team of specialists review and recommend the best solution to achieve your goals. From recommissioning to upgrades or building new BEMS / HVAC systems – we will ensure the best possible outcome to prioritise safety and efficiency within the current environment.

Please visit our website www.richard-irvin.com or contact our Energy Division Manager,  stewart.butler@richard-irvin.com.