Last week, a group of energy specialists – with combined experience of over 300 years – came together at our Energy Management Seminar. With such a wealth of knowledge in one room, there was some very interesting discussion of approaches to energy management. This knowledge shouldn’t be limited to those who attended the Seminar, so I’d like to share some key ideas and approaches that I learnt during day. The aim, as usual, is to inspire you to take well-managed, considered risks and adapt or cherry-pick successful approaches.
- Don’t forget water, the ‘untapped resource’. For some organisations, water management may be a hidden opportunity for savings. There were some good examples in the seminar of using water audits and good monitoring systems to identify problems (like leaks) and respond quickly – as well as changing behaviours when unusual patterns appear. We’ll soon be uploading a new case study from Aneurin Bevan Health Board on this topic; it has seen some great successes from effective water management. Keep an eye on our Twitter account for more information on this.
- The real benefits of energy monitoring. Facts and figures are often reported to senior managers, but you can also use them to create league tables for departments; competition is often a great way to change behaviour. Some delegates discussed their own use of league tables and quite a few went away planning to start their own league tables – the benefits of shared learning.
- Embed energy management in your organisation. Our delegates discussed regular reporting to senior leadership level and actively engaging with staff prior to new projects. One idea I found particularly interesting was embedding energy management in staff appraisals. This lets the Chief Executives challenge Directors, and Directors the Departmental Managers. Controversial perhaps, but could be adapted to suit other organisations.
- You don’t necessarily need to start energy management projects from scratch. Retro-fitting is possible and the delegates shared some good examples of running projects in existing buildings. Welsh Water’s presentation focused on managing what’s already there rather than splashing out on expensive new technology.
- Do the maths. Not all energy management projects will be suitable for your organisation, particularly when finances are tight. But don’t be scared to invest some money to save in the long run. Instead, the day’s discussion taught me that it takes some consideration to work out which projects are most suited to your own needs. For instance, Geoff Walsh from Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board gave an interesting presentation on retro-fitting LED lights – but which may apply better to buildings with 24/7 lighting than short hour offices.
These are only a few of the great ideas presenters and delegates introduced during the seminar. We will shortly upload the ideas people shared during the day, as well as some of the common difficulties. Take a look at these outputs and see if there are any projects you’d like to know more about, or anyone you can help.