Spiralling energy prices pose a risk to FM budgets and greater scrutiny of CO2 emissions seems inevitable with the political conversation focused on net zero commitments.
The solution for FMs is to master their building’s kilowatts use and identify times when energy can be reduced without affecting performance. This can be achieved with:
- Climate technology that adjusts a property’s electricity load to reduce its baseline energy consumption; and
- Demand side response (DSR) programmes, which grid operators use to manage the network during peak demand or ease constraints.
Identify non-essential electricity
Not all electricity is equal or required constantly for performance. These non-essential kilowatts are invisible to the naked eye and consumed by appliances such as pumps, fans and air conditioning chillers. They can be identified by using these tools.
By installing a small device at a property, electricity use and, more importantly, true requirements are immediately learned by the system. Once this discovery phase is complete and the device has identified the potential benefits the facility could obtain from the programme, a full report is handed over to the facilities manager, explaining the level of benefits the property could obtain from the programme.
Modulate energy use
Because this device has AI capabilities and contains an IoT controller, non-essential electricity consumption can be automatically turned up and down in different areas across the property for short periods of time. The modulation is made according to a pre-agreed strategy and set point with the facility, and assets remain under the control of the FM.
There are no limitations on the integration of this system with buildings. Older building management software (BMS) may need a minor upgrade to adopt the scheme, but this can be easily resolved via a DSR partner.
Speaking in local terms, the scheme enables an average commercial building in London to reduce otherwise inaccessible carbon emissions by over 4,450kg across a building of 205,000 square feet in the first month of having the devices installed.
Law firm Pinsent Masons, for instance, recently partnered with us to carry out this process and reduce its CO2 emissions. We analysed the firm’s energy data and assets, and created a bespoke strategy for them.
To make it seamless, the scheme operates through the client’s existing energy suppliers, using their current infrastructure to generate a predictable annual recurring revenue stream.
Ultimately, this means energy cost savings in Pinsent Masons London headquarters would be around £30,000 for the first 12 months of operation. In electrical terms, some properties can save up to £50,000 per 180kW.
Contribute to a more sustainable network
Because we partner with grid operators, the adjusted electricity load is used to balance electricity networks during times of stress, when supply and demand are at odds, resulting in financial compensation for the organisation.
Remuneration varies on the adjustable electricity load available. For example, if the client has any green generation or sits on a constraint network, the scheme would typically generate between £28,000 and £100,000 for a commercial building – saving and revenues combined.
How to get started
The scheme requires a partner to participate, as properties would need to build a platform and meet a minimum contribution threshold that can be unreachable for one property alone.
DSR schemes and AI intelligence, coupled with unique programmes have evolved into practical tools for FMs so the real investment required from FMs is time – with around five hours spent pre-project and one hour post-installation. There is no upfront capital investment. If you have an in-house or group BMS contractor, the installation period can be quicker.
FMs must start adopting technology to address their building’s non-essential consumption. Not only will they reduce costs and emissions, they will also be financially rewarded for doing so.