Despite the vast number of cranes dotting the landscape, 80 per cent of buildings that exist in UK at present will still exist in 20 years.
However, with the UK Government committed to reducing Carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and 40 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions coming from the way our buildings are lit, heated and used, how these buildings operate and consume power will need to change.
Therefore, there is a clear focus on companies actively looking to reduce energy costs by retrofitting their buildings and offices with more energy efficient technologies. Schneider Electric believes every business can increase productivity while consuming less and achieving energy savings of between 10 and 30 per cent. However, while the energy efficiency market is growing on stature and maturity, it is developing more rapidly than the ability to properly evaluate and understand it.
As such, a particular priority is to improve capability to measure the size, nature and impact of energy efficiency markets and the outcomes from investments made in them. After all, it's impossible to know how effective any energy saving initiatives are if they cannot be measured and analysed.
Since 30th October 2006 the European MID Measuring Instrument Directive (MID) has been in force, dictating requirements for measuring instruments - including gas and electricity meters - where the readings are used as the basis to bill energy consumers. In Great Britain, the MID replaced the meter approval process previously undertaken by OFGEM.
Companies that want to ensure that they're cutting resource usage in line with projections (and being billed accordingly) need to be using MID approved meters. This guarantees safe and reliable metering as the unit is tamper-proof and its accuracy is trusted by both suppliers and auditors. After October 2016 every new meter installed for billing must be MID approved, and as such 2015 is going see significant investment in these meters, for both retrofits and new buildings alike.
Evaluating and understanding data
As well as being updated to meet new regulations, the number of energy meter installations are increasing. This means that even in shared buildings, individual companies have the ability to measure the amount of electrical energy they are consuming. This can help show a reduction (or increase) in kilowatt-hours used, but doesn't provide the analysis of where it is being used and how best to control energy usage.
To obtain this insight, 2015 will see the increased adoption of software solutions and gateways that push data from the metering device to a cloud-based platform. This will enable companies to then analyse exactly where their energy consumption is being used most. This analysis provides the necessary data to help determine where to focus to define and shape energy saving initiatives.
Energy efficiency skills shortage
The growing demand for better measurement and analysis is highlighting a shortage of energy efficiency skills in the market. This is compounded by a general lack of awareness of the benefits of investment in energy efficiency measures.
As such, in the next twelve months – and beyond – there will be a big push to provide the right level of training, technical support and expert advice to companies wanting to reduce their energy costs. In order to achieve this, engineers will need access to (and training in) application tools to help companies make the right decision in terms of selecting the right meters, gateways and software for their applications.
While the majority of buildings are set to remain in place for the foreseeable future, there are a significant number of new-builds in the UK. This is followed by increasing recognition that buildings must be designed efficiently from inception to minimise environmental impact throughout the building lifecycle. Designing for high performance from a life-cycle perspective is critical, and depends on several fairly recent innovations in the design/build process.
In parallel, the new build market is heavily driven by standards such as Part L legislation, Breeam and CIBSE standards. Part L Building Regulations aim to reduce the growing threat of global warming by forcing contractors to ensure that their work will help reduce CO2 emissions.
High-performance green buildings of the next decade will be designed by cross-functional teams using complex energy and building modelling tools. These teams need access to content and guides that detail how companies can comply to these various standards.
The right partner
Saving energy reduces costs and pollution, but the right tools are needed to uncover all opportunities, avoid risks, track progress against goals and verify success. With the focus for 2015 being put squarely on energy measurement and analysis as a way of identifying and validating success, it's imperative to have the right tools.
It is with this in mind that Schneider Electric developed the world’s most advanced energy intelligence technology. The PowerLogic range of meters and software help manage all energy assets, every second of the day. A PowerLogic system enables all stakeholders, from the CEO to facility and engineering managers, to respond quickly to potential problems. It delivers the key performance indicators and analytics that are needed to strategically balance emissions, efficiency, reliability and cost. This makes it possible to better manage energy in financial and environmental terms.
The unprecedented rate and scale of urbanisation, population and economic growth, market demands and regulatory conditions are all driving the demand for more efficient buildings – both financially and environmentally. As this demand accelerates and new strategies are developed, the need for building owners and occupants to understand the options available to them becomes crucial.
These options need to be based on individual facts. Trying to apply generalised statistics and trends will only go so far, and are not able to be substantiated against the specific needs or performance of the company or building owner.
When accurate measurement, analysis and consultancy are applied, the benefits can be significant. Regardless of whether it's a new build or a retrofit, this can enable better business outcomes. For building owners this can be improved stock performance and increased asset value, as well as higher rental, occupancy and tenant retention rates. Occupants can expect improved employee productivity and well-being, lower operating costs, reduced environmental impacts, improved public image and fulfilment of corporate social responsibility goals.
By Poonam Walid, Power Monitoring Marketing Manager at Schneider Electric
Tags: Schneider Electric, Instrumentation News, Panel Building News, e-lec.org, PowerLogic