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Intelligent Energy Insights

Written by members of our expert team, our regular Intelligent Energy Insights are a convenient and useful way of ensuring you are up to speed with the latest thinking on some of the key energy, carbon and environmental issues that may affect your organisation.


Metering, monitoring and targeting (MM&T) is the single most important energy management tool and delivers a wide range of benefits if used effectively. The technology is currently experiencing a boom, with a dramatic increase in products and services from both old and new suppliers. Read more...

There is no shortage of allegedly “silver bullet” bolt-on solutions for saving energy. How can you tell which ones could work? Will they work for you? Is there a far better solution? Read more...

“HELP! Everyone in my organisation behaves as though saving energy is just my responsibility – I have done everything I can think of and our energy consumption is still increasing!” Such was the telephoned plea that we received from an Energy Manager a few months ago. Does it reflect your experience at all? Read more...

On-site Combined Heat and Power (CHP) seems to be an attractive way to reduce costs and cut carbon emissions. The reality is that many CHP plants do the exact opposite of this. Unfortunately, many users are unaware that this is happening or, even if they know, they’re stuck with a very expensive piece of kit with high maintenance costs, often paid for with borrowed money and operated by a third party. Read more...

Nobody really notices lighting until there's something wrong with it. It's too bright? It's too dark? Maintenance bills have gone through the roof? Read more...

The vast majority of large modern buildings – and many older ones – are fitted with mechanical ventilation. Almost invariably our Investment Grade Energy Efficiency Audits reveal that it is oversized and inadequately controlled - responsible for excessive electricity consumption and often the greatest cause of heat loss from buildings. Read more...

Heated swimming pools are operated by schools, universities and hotels as well as dedicated sports and leisure organisations - even hospitals have hydrotherapy pools. They are expensive to run, with energy costs being a major factor. This is not surprising, as the demands of the energy intensive processes are often exacerbated by very inefficient standards of operation. Improvements in the operating regime will not only reduce energy costs and carbon emissions but can sometimes improve both water quality and the user’s experience as well. Read more...

The importance of building occupants, such as staff and students, in reducing energy consumption is often overlooked. This is frequently because behaviour is deemed to be too difficult or expensive to influence. It certainly requires persistence and a one-off burst of effort is very unlikely to produce long term results. If, say, you could save £100,000 pa by spending £20,000 pa on an expertly designed campaign why would you not do so? Read more...

As part of energy awareness campaigns, it is useful to establish a network of volunteers to assist with the promotion of energy saving values and messages to colleagues. These ‘Energy Champions’ can be very effective and a good resource. But they need to be carefully recruited, trained and equipped for their role. They also need ongoing support to stay effective and active. Read more...

Does your organisation hesitate to invest in energy efficiency because it fears that the projected cost savings will not be achieved – or that it will have no way of knowing whether or not the savings are made? To avoid this common problem, savings measurement and verification needs to be an essential part of your implementation plan and an integral part of business case to justify it. Read more...

As the cost of electricity has increased, there has been a surge of interest in reducing electrical voltages as a supposedly quick, easy, “guaranteed” energy saving measure. There are a host of voltage reduction solutions being marketed in the form of “secondary transformers” of various types, and with some extravagant claims for their effectiveness. How can you possibly know what, if any, solution is right for you? Read more...

How do we effectively communicate sustainability for lasting change? I know from my 25 years of designing and running energy awareness campaigns that the answers are often not what we think they are and we should think carefully before engaging with employees. Read more...

Chillers often waste considerable of amounts energy, both directly and through their interaction with heating. Yet in most cases this is not identified or measured and substantial inefficiencies go unaddressed – whilst the chillers themselves are out of sight and out of mind on the roof or somewhere equally hidden. Read more...

In many buildings air-conditioning or “comfort-cooling” is provided by “split” systems which can also be used for heating and humidity control. These systems are often installed and operated in an uncontrolled way with many organisations not even having a proper record of the units they have installed. Read more...

Most boilers waste a significant proportion of their input energy for much if not all of their operating lives - a fact that is largely unrecognised and unaddressed by those who specify, install and manage them. Tackling boiler inefficiencies is a top priority if you want to reduce energy consumption and cut costs with an excellent Return on Investment. Read more...

Heating, ventilating and cooling buildings to make them comfortable for users is a major consumer of energy. We have all sorts of sophisticated (and expensive) kit to do this but all too often building users are not comfortable. The first line of response is often to dial up more heating or cooling. The result is always bigger energy bills but frequently occupants are no better off than they were before! Read more...

Building Management Systems (BMS or BEMS) are essential to effective energy management and if any one piece of equipment, or its control, goes wrong it can cost a fortune – and this can go undetected for many years. Unfortunately, there are many ways in which things can “go wrong” and, unless your operators are well trained and careful, your BMS will be wasting a lot of energy. Even organisations that employ full time BMS engineers, or have expensive “energy efficiency” BMS maintenance contracts, frequently have seriously dysfunctional systems. Read more...

Boilers represent a key energy efficiency opportunity as they frequently account for a significant proportion of energy wastage. Intelligent optimisation of their efficiency almost always results in worthwhile savings with a quick Return on Investment. Read more...