Energy Efficiency Strategy – information is key
In November 2012 we saw the launch of the UK Government’s energy efficiency strategy, through the new Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO). The Government calculated that by 2020 the UK could be saving 196TWh which is equivalent to 22 power stations.
To those in building services, this message is nothing new. Many people in our sector have been saying efficiency is the way forward for some time.
Speaking just before the launch of the Energy Strategy, CIBSE President David Fisk said building owners and managers should be persuaded to focus on energy efficiency because it is cost effective: “You can’t green upstream of a profligate economy. The numbers just don’t add up.” The BCIA certainly agrees with that sentiment.
It seems now that a general tightening of the national purse strings has encouraged Government to focus not only on our energy supply, but to make energy demand equally important. Again, this is something that the BCIA supports fully, although we know that managing demand is just as challenging, if not more so, since it involves changing behaviours in individuals and businesses.
Barriers to achieving energy efficiency are also outlined in the strategy document. One of these is a lack of information on the exact impact of energy efficiency measures and another is that energy efficiency is undervalued – partly because of this lack of information. CIBSE’s David Fisk also raised this same point: “Although we know how much our kit costs, we do not know how much it saves. We need to reduce that uncertainty so as to be able to convince others.”
Reliable information is an important requirement for any investment decision. And it has been pointed out in previous editions of this column that the building energy management system (BEMS) should not be regarded simply as a technology for checking electricity bills, but as a source of business critical data.
The new Energy Strategy has recognised this important point: if we don’t know exactly where we’re starting from, we’ll never know the true impact of energy efficiency measures. Now is the time to start looking closely at where and how energy is being used in your business. If you have a BEMS in place, it could be the most cost effective efficiency measure you ever take.