IGNORING ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS BIG RISK FOR PUBLIC SECTOR
ith squeezed budgets and resources across the public sector, the temptation to put energy efficiency on the back burner is understandable. However, this is a short-sighted and risky decision that could result in even less money to spend on public services.
THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPERATIVE The wholesale energy markets are extremely volatile – putting public sector organisations at risk of massive price swings. Organisations also face increasing third-party, non-commodity charges, which now account for more than half of a power bill and are rising steeply yearon-year. The only way of reducing these third party charges is using less energy or shifting patterns of energy consumption to avoid peak time energy costs. The urgent need to tackle energy efficiency is also driven by ambitious climate change targets and ever harsher environmental taxes, as well as the reputational advantages of being seen to be green.
ENERGY SAVING STEPS When undertaking energy surveys, our assessors typically identify energy savings opportunities of 5 to 20%, which can often be delivered at low cost or
Those who overlook the opportunity to save energy now are likely to regret it when faced with predicted higher energy bills of the future, warns Rob Leak, Head of Energy Solutions for Inprova Energy. with speedy payback on investment. This can help straitened budgets stretch much further. But how can public sector energy managers get the ‘biggest bang for their buck’ from energy efficiency? The first step is to measure and understand your energy consumption. There is a huge untapped resource of existing valuable data available in meter and sub meter readings and energy bills, which should help you to make a start in understanding your energy profile, the factors that affect energy use, and where waste might be occurring. The next stage is to use the information you have gathered to help inform an energy audit. This process will usually cover: • Energy use and profiling – the way energy is used and where • Energy policy and procedure – goals and objectives for saving
ENERGY MANAGER MAGAZINE • MARCH 2018
Management systems – how energy is managed and accounted for Savings – Identifying areas where wastage can be reduced
THE ENERGY WALK A useful starting point is to conduct a basic walk-through of the building or estate using the data insights to inform investigation. This may identify obvious opportunities and determine whether you need further specialist support. Most professional audits will be presented in an energy management report, including a detailed action plan with cost estimates and potential payback on investment for recommended energy/carbon saving measures.
WHERE SHOULD YOU FOCUS Some of the most common areas of energy wastage in the public sector are: • Lighting – can account for up to 40% of a building’s power demand, so make the most of natural daylight. Switching to high efficiency technologies, such as LED, can deliver cost savings of up to 70% with rapid return on investment. • Heating/hot water, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) – space heating is a common area of waste and basic energy saving measures can reduce costs by as much as 30%. Consider switching heating off for the final hour of the day and keep boilers and other equipment regularly serviced to optimise efficiency. Use air conditioning sparingly