In the latest instalment of our energy management industry executive industry interview series we spoke to Stewart Butler, Head of Energy Services at Richard Irvin FM, about the company, industry challenges, the switch from conventional heating systems to renewable sources and the switch to hybrid working…
Tell us about your company, products and services.
At Richard Irvin, we create safer, smarter and greener places to live and work. We’re the leading technical facilities management services business serving public and private sector clients across Scotland and England.
With a strong focus on excellent customer care and compliance, Richard Irvin provides a broad scope of services for commercial property and housing. These include planned and reactive maintenance, comprehensive plant and system replacement and upgrades, full project management services and energy management which includes commercial energy management, external wall Insulation and focuses on reducing utility bills and CO2 emissions.
What have been the biggest challenges the Energy Management industry has faced over the past 12 months?
I think one of the biggest challenges in the difficult last twelve months was the reduction in office occupancy, which in turn reduced the demand for energy management systems to be working at full capacity causing concern in keeping the skilled staff within the businesses/industry as workloads reduced there was only the requirement for minimum staff.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
Clients raised awareness of the need for a clean air/safe working environment for office staff due to the pandemic, this has given rise to the need for a suitable heating and ventilation system with close control allowing ventilation to be increased/decreased depending on the occupancy throughout the working day.
What is the biggest priority for the Energy Management industry in 2022?
Stabilisation following the past twelve months and watching how the clients will react regarding their need for office working. This could go two ways the need to maintain/increase the offices but with the requirement for improved clean air systems or the reduction of office requirement therefore reducing the need for the management of the building.
What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022?
The continued switch from conventional heating systems to renewables sources also the increase in demand for solar car ports to aid the vehicle charging points as the increase in electric vehicles continues.
What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
I think we will see the increase of installation of solar car ports both on an industrial and domestic basis. Possibly due to the pandemic it could be the requirement for clean air within office environments and how this will be controlled ie. CO 2 monitoring to drive variable speed fans within ventilation systems etc.. I also think we will continue to see the shift from conventional heating systems to the renewables in ground and air source heat pumps.
In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?
Produce technology enhancements in virtual and augmented reality and AI that allow people to live smarter, safer and more productive lives, enabled in many cases by “smart systems” in such key areas as health care, education and community living.
Which person in, or associated with, the Energy Management industry would you most like to meet?
I do not have any single individual, I think there is inspiration and knowledge to be gained throughout the industry, this is clearly evident when attending seminars etc. and the great individuals you meet.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Energy Management sector?
Initially the lack of knowledge in general but as the years have progressed, I have seen a substantial change in both the industry and client base knowledge of the energy management and renewables sector.
You go to the bar at the Energy Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
The constant changes and challenges you encounter daily, meeting great people who are like minded in they want to improve our working environment and in turn improve our carbon footprint.
And what’s the most challenging?
As above the changes and challenges need solutions and at Richard Irvin FM we pride ourselves on being able to determine the best solutions for our clients’ needs.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t see problems, see solutions.
Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?