In the latest instalment of our energy management executive interview series, we sat down with Optimised Buildings Managing Director Gary Bark to talk about his company, industry issues, careers advice and Peaky Blinders…
Tell us about your company, products and services.
Optimised Buildings is an award-winning company providing a market-leading solution/service that typically delivers an 8-10% total energy reduction to business customers with minimal capital expenditure and a typical ROI of less than 12 months. The proposition focuses on optimisation of the HVAC and Building energy Management Systems and provides continuous monitoring and recommendations utilising market leading technology and our team’s expertise to deliver energy and carbon savings, improved occupant comfort, increased asset life and reduced maintenance costs.
What have been the biggest challenges the Energy Management industry has faced over the past 12 months?
The challenges remain the same over the past 12 months as they have done over the past 5 years. This is more about how the FM industry operates and the lack of joined up thinking between the end user, FM and energy services provider. By linking these 3 parties together and having a common coherent strategy that all three are buying into, greater savings could be achieved. The challenge is typically not with technology, solutions or platforms; but with people, politics and process. If we can overcome these so much more could be achieved. The great news is, end users are becoming more educated in what could be achieved and as a result we are seeing more requests to optimise exists assets and system than ever before.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
With respect to our offering the market and industry has matured and as a result we find more clients now asking for our proposition rather than us having to educate. We have seen a big difference in the interest and acceptance of our managed service approach since we delivered a national optimisation roll-out and managed service for a large retail client. This has resulted in a great case study for the rest of the industry delivering; a 24/7 managed service across, 800+ buildings, 1500 meters, 270,000 BMS points, 60,000 analytics points and 100 analytical rules, management of more than 6,000 work orders and delivering savings over a 12 month period of more than £7m!
What is the biggest priority for the Energy Management industry in 2020?
I think the biggest challenge we face is much bigger than our industry and that is one of how to reverse climate change in the short window of time that we have before it’s too late. As an industry we have plenty to contribute, however the problem is much bigger than our industry alone and deeply concerning for future generations. As an industry we have to continue to lobby governments, get more legislation passed through government, continue to innovate and get stakeholders at every level taking this more seriously. Everyone thinks the element we contribute either as an individual, company, or nation is so small it won’t make a difference – but what happens if we don’t try!
What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2020?
I’m expecting to see more in the IoT space, where technologies that were pilots in 2019 are starting to roll-out in 2020. There are many of these technologies that have an impact on energy saving as one of their value propositions. It is exciting times in this area as new technologies start to address problems that we previously didn’t have solutions for and start to automate business outcomes, not simply tell us we have a problem.
What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market next year?
I’m not sure as I can predict this, but I am particularly excited about some of the IoT and AI technologies that are becoming cheaper, simpler to deploy and delivered around a proven value and business case. As these start to become main stream we will have new opportunities and challenges around the operating models that make these most successful.
In 2023 we’ll all be talking about…?
Autonomous Buildings. Buildings that will respond and react to the people, changing environments and deliver a healthier, efficient and improved experience for the people that use them.
Which person in, or associated with, the Energy Management industry would you most like to meet?
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Energy Management sector?
How many people don’t appreciate what a BMS system can deliver in energy savings from the existing infrastructure, regardless of age. Something that they already have in their facility and by optimising it they can generate more savings that any single capital purchase with a compelling ROI!
You go to the bar at the Energy Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
Beer followed by a final gin & tonic or two!
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Continuous change, new technologies and solutions and opportunity to do things different.
There are so many opportunities in today’s market – it’s more of question of where you focus your effort.
And what’s the most challenging?
Working with an industry that, in the main, believe that the way we have always done it is the way we should do it. Technology is the easy bit – the most difficult by far is people, process and politics in making change happen.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?