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An integrated approach to energy and carbon management should find a correct balance between data analysis, behaviour change programmes, and energy products and technologies.

Not all energy waste and GHG emissions can be attributed to practices of individuals. It may well be caused by the failure or degrading performance of energy-consuming equipment.

As with a vehicle you should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on regular servicing every 6 - 12 months or so many thousands of miles, energy consuming equipment should be also regularly assessed and serviced.

There is no one size fits all solution; the skills and knowledge of an energy and carbon manager are called upon to measure the benefits of various options to optimise energy-consuming, supplying or monitoring products, whether its maintenance, refurbishment, replacement or investment in additional equipment.



Energy-efficient equipment

An energy and carbon manager should determine which energy-efficient solutions and products are available and suitable for their organisation, the potential for improvements and what an organisation can afford.

For example, heating consumes large amounts of energy in non-domestic (commercial, public and industrial) buildings and accounts for a high proportion of the total GHG emissions. There are significant opportunities to improve heating efficiency and reduce emissions, such as heat pumps that can generate heat from ambient conditions or biomass boilers that burn solid biomass fuels.

Among numerous channels of information about suitability and effectiveness of different products are technical experience of external consultants, trade associations, for example the Register of Professional Energy Consultants (RPEC) and the Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA), feedback garnered from exhibitions, articles in technical journals, or trade magazines.

There is no universal list of recommendations or guides. In the UK, the Government publishes the Energy Technology List (ETL), which features 10,000 energy efficiency products across 20 different technology categories, for example:

There are numerous similar initiatives, for example:

Renewable energy technologies

Renewable energy sources reduce an organisation’s carbon emissions when they replace other supply sources that cause GHG emissions. They can also improve fuel security and to varying degrees, depending upon the technology and incentive schemes, reduce energy costs. A short payback period can be achieved when applying the right technology to the right application.

For example, installing a 500 kW wind turbine in the grounds of a commercial building free from obstructions and with generous wind resources can enable a simple payback period of the order of 5 years to be achieved, assuming eligibility for renewable energy incentive schemes. Similarly, installing a biomass warm air heater to replace an aging gas-fired warm air heater in a factory with a clean waste wood supply can lead to a similarly short payback period.

However, not all situations are as suitable for the installation of renewable energy technologies. It is their carbon emission reduction and ESG characteristics that explain their established and growing uptake rather than their ability to provide a significant return on investment.

Before considering which renewable energy technology to apply, it is best practice to reduce energy requirements, improve the efficiency with which energy is used and recover waste energy wherever it is viable. Following this, the choice of which renewable to use depends upon the needs of a building and its occupants. It is important to carefully consider the financial viability of renewables.

Tools for the energy and carbon manager

A separate category is the technological support of energy and carbon management itself.

The effective use of these technologies will allow an energy and carbon manager to, among other things, monitor energy consumption and detect avoidable energy waste, provide real-time control adjustment, quantify the energy savings and reduce energy costs.

Automatic Monitoring and Targeting (aM&T)

Automatic Monitoring and Targeting (aM&T) equipment gathers and collates energy consumption data, records and distributes metered energy data, analyses and reports energy consumption data and displays the findings. It is particularly useful for organisations with large property portfolios.

It is estimated that this technology can help customers to identify energy savings of 4 to 20% or more, with average cost savings of 10 to 15%.

The benefits of aM&T equipment are:

Building Energy Management System (BEMS)

A Building Energy Management System (BEMS) is an all-encompassing computerised system designed to act as a centralised building operating system that assists with monitoring, controlling and optimising the energy consumption of devices such as lighting, HVAC or power system used in buildings. The control of these directly affects the energy consumed in the building and the comfort of the building’s occupants. It uses inputs, such as temperature sensors, to obtain information and outputs, such as on/off devices, to control equipment.

This is a highly effective solution in a complex building or a site of many buildings. BEMS offers an energy manager the opportunity for centralised monitoring and dynamic control of large systems and processes. Its control technologies allow the amalgamation, integration, automation and optimisation of all required processes and equipment.

Data logging is a key element of a BEMS. It is the process of gathering, classifying and recording various significant data: for example, environmental parameters such as temperature and humidity levels.

Want to know more? More detailed information is available in our online training course, Level 1, Certificate in Energy Management Essentials. To learn more, visit Energy Management Training | Energy Institute.