Energy Alchemy – Turning Green into Gold – By Arthur Beattie, Commercial Director
If you were able to take a time machine back 200 years it is likely that you would bump into a farmer where your current office stands. This worker, in the age of agriculture, would be rewarded in direct proportion to the output of his labour once all external factors such as weather had been taken into consideration.
Enter the machines. The discovery of steam power, soon to be followed by the harnessing of fossil fuels led to the birth of the Industrial age. Factories were filled with workers rewarded for the hours they put in – punching in and punching out and collecting a wage at the end of the week. In many ways, we are still in the industrial age, machines being replaced by computers; widgets replaced by data. Still we see offices packed with white collar workers, processing this data until it is time to go home.
There is however a new revolution taking place and it is going to change the way we manage energy forever.
In the last 5 years we have seen the birth of the Global Small Business (GSB). Small teams of intelligent collaborators, running global businesses from laptops with flexible working space, local partners and international clients. These companies, generally service driven, are not constrained by working hours; they operate in global time zones and function where demand requires them to.
In the next ten years, I predict that the already blurred line that separates ‘working day’ and ‘down time’ will vanish. This being the case, it will no longer be the energy manager’s role to say ‘turn the lights off when you leave’, the lights will stay on; servers will stay on; the Cloud will stay on.
Globalisation, coupled with advancements in communication and internet technology has changed the way we are doing business. It is time to take a fresh look at what that means from an energy management perspective.
In the 1960’s, our Chairman Andrew Bowden was delivering best in class energy management and reduction practices for Ford motor group. Since then, the principles of energy management have not changed. Sure, technology has advanced but the associated benefits of this have been hugely outweighed by our increasing thirst for demand.
What has changed significantly is the drivers that affect decisions to implement good energy management practice.
With the government subscribed to 2050 carbon reduction targets that are currently unachievable and the legally binding COP21 agreement to limit global climate change to no more than 1.5 degrees, it is UK Plc being made responsible for making an impact. This is manifest in the introduction of new legislation and increases in energy taxation.
We are also witnessing the rise of consumer pressure with Unilever ‘sustainable living’ brands delivering almost half of its growth in 2015.
Corporate Social Responsibility is making businesses more accountable for delivering better environments for stakeholders on both a local and global scale.
The potential energy performance of property is now having a direct impact on asset value and that all important metric, yield.
Edie Live 2016 saw the launch of Legislation, Energy, Asset and Forensics (LEAF) Accreditation – the first scheme that allows companies to demonstrate energy best practise is being achieved regardless of the type of property being assessed. The scheme assists UK businesses in practical compliance, implementing an intelligent energy management strategy and optimising buildings based on their existing function as opposed to the original (often outdated) construction specification.
The output of LEAF accreditation is a certificate that sits alongside the building log book, supported by a recommendation report that provides an investment grade roadmap to implementing gold standard energy best practice. It is designed to meet the well-researched objectives of every stakeholder throughout the lifecycle of the building.
Welcomed by many in the industry as a truly intelligent mechanism to deliver the first comprehensive benchmark of good energy management, the scheme is designed to address the changing nature of energy management and heralds the introduction of a truly level playing field.
Once we accept that the world is changing, we must embrace the challenges. Once we understand the challenges, we must work to deliver solutions. Once we have the solutions, we must accept the responsibility for implementation – The principles of energy management have never changed.
Arthur Beattie, Commercial Director at Carbon2018, chaired and presented a session in the energy efficiency theatre at Edie Live 2016