Switch on to wireless

Rising energy costs, particularly for multi-site businesses and anyone managing a property portfolio, is an increasingly significant issue, but retro-fitting a wireless energy management system could be the ideal solution, says Ivan McKeever, Director at WEMS International.

Energy costs have already risen by 25% in the last three years and Government legislation is set to increase carbon tax for UK businesses. It’s simple mathematics – the energy sources that we use are running low and alternatives, such as renewable energy, aren’t progressing fast enough to make up for this shortfall. Along with the latest announcements of price hikes from major energy suppliers, this problem isn’t going away. The bottom line is that businesses need to take action now if they are to drive down usage by 10 to 20% in order to simply stand still financially.

Currently, 80% of all buildings in the UK have no energy management systems in place, despite the fact that this type of technology could save up to 30% of an organisation’s energy and, in turn, cut costs substantially. Business interruption is often a key concern when deciding whether or not to have energy management systems fitted as the installation of complex systems could affect customer satisfaction and may lead to further costs being incurred or potential loss of income. The most cost-effective way to deal with this therefore is by retro-fitting a wireless energy management system, as it causes little disruption to the fabric of the building, is much cheaper and is also implemented much quicker than a conventional wired system.

A wireless system can be installed within three to four days, compared to several weeks for conventional wired building energy management systems (BEMS) and has a typical payback of 12 to 18 months.

Changing behaviour

Businesses, and society as a whole, have worked for years to try and change attitudes and behaviour towards energy use and most companies have green policies to encourage employees to be more careful with how much energy is consumed. But the truth is that this has probably gone as far as it can and the WEMS technology has been developed to step in and make a significant difference to improve this further. Wireless technology goes beyond recording energy use with metering and monitoring systems by firmly grasping control of the issue and changing the way an organisation uses its energy. It offers a webenabled dashboard view of the energy use of a business and can be accessed via any computer or smartphone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allows for remote access to enable you to control settings at the site and receive instant reporting of the performance of the system. This real-time data gives an organisation the ability to reduce energy use, while simultaneously ensuring that the environment of the building is still comfortable for occupants and suitable for business.

This type of intelligent technology offers visibility of the overall energy footprint of a business – right down to each individual piece of equipment. This quickly reveals how organisations can pinpoint systems or procedures that waste energy. It goes beyond monitoring and addresses the issue by either cutting waste or regulating energy.

The system recognises that each business and property has an entirely unique set of requirements and will help to save energy where a business can afford to do so. It really is as simple as switching off what you don’t need to use and the technology takes care of all of that for you. The WEMS system isn’t a one-size-fits-all product, so the company works with each business to create a profile that suits each property. For example, a retailer with an outlet in the north of Scotland will find that the needs of this site will differ quite significantly from another outlet on the south coast of England.

WEMS at work

We have recently worked with a national chain of health clubs to install a system at 163 sites across the UK. They have already seen savings of 19% and will see a full payback in 18 months which equates to 7,102 tonnes of CO² being saved every month, which is equivalent to the weight of 71,020 spinning bikes!

Another example of the savings which can be made were recently seen at one of the UK’s largest health and beauty retailers where we fitted wireless energy management systems into 400 of its stores. In addition, one major telecoms company has been able to reduce its energy usage by 22% across over 2,000 telephone exchanges since working with WEMS International and this energy management programme has been rolled out to sites as large as 17,000 square meters.

As well as the reputational benefits of being seen as an ethical trader, there is also a significant improvement in the lifespan of equipment, as heating, ventilation, lighting and air conditioning units only operate when necessary.

The future

A wireless building energy management system is fast becoming the most costeffective way of reducing energy usage and stripping out unnecessary cost from an organisation that has multi-site operations. As the only manufacturer and installer of wireless BEMS in the world, WEMS works closely with private and public sector organisations to help reduce their carbon emissions, minimise energy costs and improve their green credentials in the eyes of the public. Each of these points has a direct impact on an organisation and these improvements have a positive impact on its profitability and the wider environment.

Companies should waste no more time before they closely examine their approach to energy use. But it isn’t just about embarking on a green crusade. Yes it is important that businesses take responsibility for their environment, but a new approach to energy also makes good business sense.                                                                             

You might also like