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Guest Post

Integrating Smart Building Technology

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Buyer beware – the marketplace for building automation, smart building, and building technology is evolving quickly and is full of new technologies, complicated integration and snazzy buzzwords.

It is so important to understand the benefits to be achieved from making a building ‘smart’, and to define what this actually means to you, the building occupier, the property manager and maintenance team? 

In short, data acquisition is a useless exercise unless you know how to read, manipulate and formulate efficiency or improvement actions from the data presented; whilst also understanding the key benefits of smart building upgrades that you’re trying to harness.

When optimally deployed, smart buildings technologies have the potential to deliver productivity and wellbeing improvements at the lowest cost and with the lowest possible environmental impact over the building lifecycle. This requires adding intelligence through a building’s useful life. There are potentially numerous systems and subsystems which can be integrated, and these have typically operated independently in the past, so in a smart environment these systems can share information to optimise total building performance. 

However, this must also be backed up by human intelligence to really understand the interactions and available opportunities for efficiency.  

Collaboration with building occupants, control specialists, building M&E maintainers combined with an understanding of human behavioural operation patterns, is paramount and all parties should be clear of their obligation to maintain or improve operational standards.

This is the psychology that we at ETS are applying with forward thinking national and international brands to install hardware and software that satisfy the clients need for visibility, control and reporting of a building and wider portfolio’s operation. 

We are employing an empowering approach to building technology which enables individual building systems to be connected and integrated. Most buildings already have some level of intelligence built in, whether HVAC, lighting, or fire safety. We are technology agnostic, and work with various manufacturers’ equipment dependent upon the client’s requirements, budget and what they want to achieve from the data outputs. Consequently, at ETS we are pushing to achieve more from building data and ultimately make better decisions.

A well-designed smart solution at any stage of a building’s life can make a property more attractive to buyers, a better letting option for tenants and occupiers, through greatly reduced cost and carbon emission, being more efficient to operate and maintain, and alignment with broader CSR agendas.

How can ETS help?

With a dedicated Smart Buildings and Automation team, ETS have the depth of knowledge and expertise to design, specify and integrate new Smart Buildings technologies into your properties, whilst also ensuring that you are getting the very best from the systems you already have in place. 

For more information please see https://energy-ts.com/technology/

To discuss your requirements, get in touch. You can contact us by calling 0117 205 0542 or drop us an email at enquiries@energy-ts.com.    

Technology company partners with ENGIE Impact to streamline energy procurement strategy on a global scale

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By ENGIE Impact

With over 100 sites — and an average yearly consumption of 64 million kWh per site — a large technology company realised that they needed to have an aggressive strategy in order to reach 100% renewable energy in Europe and the United States.

Procuring energy for multiple sites in various countries is a complex initiative which incorporates market research, negotiating cost and reviewing convoluted contracts. With several suppliers and contracts to review, the technology company knew they wanted to streamline the entire process, reduce administrative costs and expand their green energy portfolio. So, they partnered with ENGIE Impact to craft a global strategy at a local level. 

By consolidating the supplier contracts and streamlining the decision-making process, ENGIE Impact changed how the technology company procured their energy, saving over £450,000 on energy contracts and decreasing the amount of time spent through the consolidation process. As the programme continues to expand, creating visibility and consistency at a local level is key to creating a global energy strategy. 

Click here to find out more.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: ENGIE Impact

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By ENGIE Impact

Today, sustainability is a top priority for organisations around the globe – but while 84% have set sustainability goals, less than 30% are on pace to achieve them.

ENGIE Impact applies data analytics, multi-disciplinary expertise, and global reach to accelerate the sustainability transformation of corporations.

From strategy to implementation, actionable solutions help clients improve their bottom line, drive growth, satisfy stakeholders and meet sustainability goals.

Click here to find out more.

Flow informs to maximise energy efficiency and savings

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Being able to see how system components are performing in real-time is crucial if energy managers are to reduce costs and improve environmental performance of buildings. Without information on fluid flow, across the system, it’s difficult to diagnose and optimise efficiency. With accurate flow information, the picture changes entirely. 

Armstrong Fluid Technology has developed Active Performance Management to help optimise HVAC systems at any stage of a building’s life-cycle, responding to changing HVAC requirements. The combination of smart commissioning with real-time alerts and system transparency addresses performance drift and maintains occupant comfort. With Active Performance Management you can make annual energy savings of up to 40%.

One of Armstrong’s Active Performance Management solutions is Pump Manager, which ensures that pumps continue to operate efficiently and reliably throughout their complete lifecycles. Pump Manager is a cloud-based application that uses the embedded intelligence and connectivity of Armstrong Design Envelope pumps to provide performance reports to system operators. With this information, operators can make changes and address issues to optimise HVAC performance. 

Online trending and analysis across multiple parameters on single pumps, or on an aggregated basis for multiple pumps, assists in identifying performance degradation and facilitates a predictive and proactive approach. Pump Manager will, for example, report issues such as excessive vibration, pump in hand, risk of cavitation or a dead head should they start to occur.

Compatible with industry-standard BMS, EMS or CMMS solutions, Pump Manager helps reduce operating costs by providing data to support continuous optimisation of pump performance. Pump Manager also increases pump availability and reliability, reducing unexpected failures and providing early problem detection. Lastly it helps organisations report their energy use and environmental performance. 

To find out more about connecting your pump to gain greater visibility and control contact Armstrong Fluid Technology on tel: 08444 145 145, or email ukaftermarketsales@armstrongfluidtechnology.com.

The Heat Networks (Metering & Billing) Regulations – Action Required in 2021

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By ETS

What are the Heat Networks (Metering & Billing) Regulations?

The Heat Networks (Metering & Billing) Regulations – ‘HNMBR’ – were introduced in 2014 to drive energy efficiency and carbon reduction across heat networks which, as they represent a relatively small proportion of UK heating systems, previously went largely unregulated.

In short, the regulations promote efficiency improvements through the installation of consumer-level metering devices – i.e. leaning on the axiom that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” – whilst also facilitating clearer and more accurate billing for end-users.

Previously, in the first incarnation of the regulations, operators of heat networks were simply required to notify the regulator (the Office for Products & Safety Standards, ‘OPSS’) of any and all heat networks under their control.

Now, since an update of the Regulations in November 2020, the evolving requirements have placed additional actions on operators of heat networks, with potentially significant financial implications for heat meter installations over the next 18 months.

What action is required and by when?

The updated HNMBR requirements essentially comprise 3 main elements, which are in addition to the ongoing requirement to complete an updated HMNBR Notification of all heat networks under an operator’s control every 4 years.

The additional actions relate to classifying buildings that contain heat networks, undertaking cost effectiveness assessments for the installation of heat meters / cost allocators, and then the installation for those meters that are deemed suitable.

As an overview:

  • 27 November 2021: Deadline to define building classes – essentially determining whether properties fall into one of the following 3 classes: Viable, Open, or Exempt.
  • 27 November 2021: Deadline to complete ‘cost effectiveness’ assessments – this will require building-specific investigations, using proprietary tools produced by BEIS / OPSS, as to whether the installation of heat meters or cost allocators is cost effective for those buildings that are in scope, based on their classification.
  • 1 September 2022: Deadline for the installation of heat meters / cost allocators that have been identified as being cost effective.

Updated notifications to the regulator will also be required, detailing building classifications and metering installations.

Clearly, depending on the outcome of cost effectiveness tests, the financial implications for landlords and property managers may be highly significant, and will need to be built into budgets for 2022 in good time.

How can ETS help?

ETS keeps fully abreast of legislative develops that affect our clients’ businesses. 

We have supported our clients through the first iterations of the HNMBR and will continue to do so across all aspects of the updated regulations – from building classification and cost effectiveness tests, to turnkey specification, tender and project management of required heat meter installation across our clients’ portfolios.

If you or your colleagues want to know what the updates to the regulations mean for your business or property portfolio, we would be happy to talk to you about your specific circumstances and how we can assist. Our expert team at ETS are always here to help; you can contact us by calling 0117 205 0542 or drop us an email at enquiries@energy-ts.com.

Rising electricity renewal costs?

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By David Kipling, OnSite Energy

Many businesses are getting shocks when they are coming to renew their current electricity contracts, with significant price hikes.  Energy suppliers have been hit hard by impacts of defaults from COVID and commodity volatility, which are driving the increases.

For energy intensive companies, this may threaten their business if they can’t pass on the additional cost to customers.

What can you do ?   Brokers have limited scope to help, but you should definitely shop around. 

Now has also never been a better time to revisit both energy efficiency to reduce consumption and onsite electricity and heat generation.

With rising cost per kWh and falling technology costs, the payback on measures you appraised a few years ago may be a lot shorter, and with the recent “super deduction” from 1 April (which can provide up to 130% writing down allowances for capital investment), the capex challenge may be lower. 

If the paybacks are still too long, we can also offer zero capex solutions which can typically still result in 15%+ savings.

Please visit www.on-site.energy to find out more.

Turn your carbon reduction goals into action

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By Centrica Business Solutions

How can you best deliver on your energy sustainability ambitions? What’s the best pathway to net zero for your business? In challenging economic times, how do you achieve both your environmental and economic goals?

Centrica Business Solutions has published a free guide to show business leaders  ‘How to Turn Ambitious Sustainability Targets into Effective Action.’

The guide explains the proven steps senior teams should take to create a highly effective carbon reduction plan that aligns fully with business strategy.

Download our guide to delivering on your carbon reduction goals

5 Opportunities to Reduce your Energy Costs

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By Centrica Business Solutions

In today’s challenging economic climate, it’s more critical than ever to control and reduce business costs.  As a major overhead, energy is a good place to focus. In fact, a 20% cut in energy costs can represent the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.

However, many businesses are unclear how best to achieve energy cost efficiencies without jeopardising carbon reduction targets or spending large sums of money.

Centrica Business Solutions has published a new guide that details five opportunities to help businesses manage energy costs to balance commercial success with environmental responsibility. 

The guide explains how advances in technology, digitalisation and new financing models are opening up affordable new opportunities to make long-term energy savings. These methods can help businesses to work towards their net-zero ambitions, while also improving operation efficiency and resilience.

Our energy cost reduction guide shows you 5 proven methods to:

1. Drive energy efficiency through data

2. Unlock revenue opportunities from your energy estate

3.  Create energy independence by generating your own power

4.  Become a sustainable business and gain competitive advantage

5.  Use finance solutions to invest in new energy technology

Centrica Business Solutions partners with organisations to deliver integrated distributed energy projects. We help you to balance commercial success and environmental responsibility to take a cost effective pathway to a low carbon future.

Benefit from our international footprint, expertise and flexible finance – to improve your cost, environmental & operational performance.

Download the new guide: ‘5 Opportunities to manage energy costs’

The importance of ventilation in controlling COVID-19

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By ETS

Looking to the future, property teams will also need to consider how they will reopen sites again once staff start coming back to the workplace. 

As we look forward to the eventual reopenings –it’s important for building managers to keep up to date with the latest government guidance. In particular, information coming out from groups such as the Environmental Modelling Group. As their recently released paper highlights, the role that ventilation systems have to play in controlling Covid-19 transmission throughout buildings is becoming increasingly clear.

The Role of Ventilation Systems (H2)

Ventilation is obviously an important factor in mitigating the risk of virus transmission. As a result, optimising ventilation operation should form an integral part of a wider Covid-19 mitigation strategy for all multi-occupancy spaces. 

This should include investigation into the current ventilation performance in all parts of a building, and implementation of a strategy which is adapted to ensure that ventilation is adequate throughout. For example, multi-occupant spaces that are reused regularly and are poorly ventilated (i.e. those that have a ventilation rate of below 5 l/s/person or a CO2 level of above 1500 ppm) should be identified and prioritised for improvement.

Measuring for elevated CO2 levels in indoor air is an effective method of identifying poor ventilation performance in multi-occupancy spaces. However, it should be noted that in low occupancy or large air volume spaces, a low level of CO2 cannot necessarily be used as an indicator that ventilation is sufficient to mitigate risk of transmission.

Part of an Encompassing Solution (H2)

While ventilation is one of the primary factors when it comes to Covid-19 mitigation in multi-occupancy spaces, it should form part of a wider strategy. 

Ventilation should be balanced against other aspects – in particular, thermal comfort. This may pose a challenge in naturally vented buildings, however strategies such as intermittent airing and partial window opening to compliment background ventilation may enable this to be achieved (or enable sufficient ventilation to be achieved whilst limiting the impact on thermal comfort.)

Overarching guidance from the Government recommends that organisations identify where they may need to secure additional financial or technical support to enable them to take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of the space they provide or occupy. 

How can ETS help? (H3)

Energy & Technical Services have a long history of improving HVAC system performance across all sectors – ensuring appropriate ventilation rates whilst maintaining a firm grip on cost and carbon. We also offer a technology-led Indoor Air Quality solution, to measure internal conditions for a wide range of parameters, and subsequently control building services operation to ensure optimal internal conditions for occupants. 

To discuss your requirements, get in touch. You can contact us by calling 0117 205 0542 or drop us an email at enquiries@energy-ts.com.

www.energy-ts.com

Realise your net zero ambitions through SECR compliance

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By ENGIE

Businesses have a major part to play in helping the UK reach its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) legalisation requires organisations to publicly report energy use, carbon emissions, and energy efficiency, and it can be an important first step to achieving your carbon reduction targets. 

What is SECR?
SECR came into force in April 2019 and is a set of sustainability regulations requiring large organisations to report energy and carbon emissions as well as energy efficiency measures taken throughout the year, on an annual basis. It affects almost 12 thousand companies putting more responsibility on them to choose how they measure and report their emissions.

Do you need to comply?

Large UK incorporated companies are required to comply with SECR if they have two of the three qualifying conditions; 

  • at least 250 employees, 
  • an annual turnover of more than£36m 
  • an annual balance sheet total over £18m

Achieving SECR compliance 
Specialist energy consultants such as ENGIE can support your business by providing end-to-end assistance for all your SECR obligations. At ENGIE we will calculate accurate emissions, produce your SECR report and provide a template that fits your business for future use. We will identify the most appropriate metrics to measure your business against and express your emissions as a ratio of activities chosen specifically for you. We can carry out all necessary audits to ensure you are fully compliant, all with minimal disruption to you. 

Already SECR compliant?  – take the next step with ENGIE Certify  
Our ENGIE Certify service covers all your compliance requirements  – If you’re already SECR compliant that is a great first step to achieving your carbon reduction targets, ENGIE can help you progress by  working with you to produce a net zero roadmap. By looking at energy efficiency, renewable generation and energy sourcing we can show you how you can make your business net zero, and we can help you achieve it. 

Find out more about how ENGIE can support your SECR reporting and help you achieve your net zero ambitions here

ENGIE specialises in the production and supply of low carbon energy, services and regeneration supporting the net zero carbon transition.

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