It’s a numbers game

The importance of keeping track of energy use and savings from investments in upgrades or refurbishments are increasingly being highlighted in both legislation and research into current business thinking.

Accountancy firm PwC reported in its Sixteenth Global Annual CEO Survey of 2012 that more than half of top management in European firms view rising energy costs as a major threat to growth prospects. Just under half of those surveyed said that they plan to increase efforts to reduce their company’s environmental impacts.

It’s now only five years until April 2018 when it will be illegal to rent commercial (or residential) properties that do not achieve an EPC rating of E.  Around 25% of commercial properties only reach F or G. The potential impact of this rule, introduced through the Energy Act of 2011, does not seem to have entirely hit home with property owners.

One of the key characteristics of the energy market is that it is extremely volatile. There is a general upward trend, but prices fluctuate, leaving business energy buyers with difficult choices to make about how they manage those ups and downs. What’s also certain is that demand for energy is rising and it would be almost impossible to keep up with that demand without an increase in prices. 

Information on energy use is therefore a business issue, the same as any other large cost such as staffing, supply costs and distribution. If a business grows, it must now take into account how that might impact on energy use. Linking energy usage data into the business in this way means making the building energy management system (BEMS) part of the corporate information machine.

We are in a market where many energy efficiency ‘solutions’ are now on offer. Some are excellent; others not so good. But businesses have to make tough decisions about where to invest in order to see a reasonable return in terms of energy saved.

Measurement is key. Not only can the numbers show how much energy has been saved, it can also help to sort the good solutions from the indifferent. If property owners pay attention to the numbers produced through the BEMS, they can keep a close eye on exactly what they are getting for their money.

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