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New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
Through another Energy People interview, we learn about energy management and its importance for achieving net zero through the experience and career of Brian Troddyn MEI, Sustainability Manager at the Salvation Army.
Q: Tell us your background and when you first became interested in energy?
A: Growing up in a rural location on the north-west coast of Ireland and spending lots of my childhood out in nature led me to develop an interest in the environment. My route to working in an energy management role wasn’t straightforward. I first studied forestry management and then completed my degree in environmental science.
Seeing the increasing link between energy use and climate change I decided to continue my studies and completed a master’s in energy management in my early 30s. I was 32 when I began my career in energy related roles and have been working primarily in property related energy and sustainability roles for the last 10 years.
Q: Tell us a little about your current job?
A: As a Sustainability Manager for the UK and Ireland for the Salvation Army, my key responsibility is the development and implementation of a net zero strategy to reduce our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. I also act in an advisory and support capacity across the organisation for environmental management issues across our operations.
Q: How has being an MEI benefitted you in your career?
A: I have been a member of the Energy Institute for about eight years, first joining in 2017 as an associate and then becoming a full member a few years later. I think becoming a full member is very much worth doing. Membership offers significant useful resources to access, and the range of training topics and modules available is very good.
Q: How are your role and being part of the EI contributing toward a just transition to net zero?
A: The work I do with the Salvation Army contributes to a just transition in a few ways. One example is the energy improvements in our large domestic estate will contribute to reducing fuel poverty. Secondly, it helps support the creation of more jobs in the developing green skills sector through our procurement of goods and services related to our net zero ambition.
Q: You mentioned that your route to energy management (via forestry management and then environmental science) wasn’t straightforward. What learnings from these previous studies were you able to bring to energy management and how have they helped?
A: Studying environmental-based subjects before I moved onto energy management gave me a good understanding of how consumption, use of materials and energy systems impact the environment. It allows me to view projects from both an environmental impact and technical perspective rather than just purely from an engineering point of view.
Q: You also say that you have been working primarily in property-related energy and sustainability. With the UK’s built environment responsible for some 30% of our total greenhouse gas emissions, this is obviously a key area to decarbonise for reaching net zero. What approaches would you recommend for the country to ensure that it reaches its decarbonisation targets?
A: I believe that a key measure needed in decarbonising our built environment is the improvement of existing buildings’ thermal performance where feasible along with the transition to low-carbon heating sources. This will not be an easy task with each building presenting its own challenges and suitability for technology adoption. However, there is now a range of different heating technologies on the market, with new ones being developed that should allow for most exiting buildings to make this transition technically feasible.
I believe that a key measure needed in decarbonising our built environment is the improvement of existing buildings’ thermal performance where feasible along with the transition to low carbon heating sources.
Q: You also mention how energy improvements in the Salvation Army’s large domestic estate will contribute to reducing fuel poverty and creating more green jobs – could you provide some details on what these improvements were and how they have helped?
A: We have just completed a large number of EPC (energy performance certificate) surveys on our domestic estate and are still in early stages of assessing and plan development.
We are currently assessing our domestic estate for opportunities to make improvements in energy efficiency of our officer quarters. This improvement will hopefully help reduce their energy bills and raise them out of fuel poverty which many of them currently find themselves in with the high cost of energy.
Q: The UK government recently announced that it was pushing back the deadlines of various green targets, including delaying the ban on installing oil and LPG boilers and new coal heating, and scrapping policies forcing landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties. What are your thoughts on these changes?
A: I think this new policy shift is shortsighted and misguided. Businesses and industry have done a lot of work to pivot towards net zero over the last few years. I think the delay in these targets will reduce confidence in the market for investment in energy efficiency and carbon reduction projects and technologies, and cause confusion as to what commitments we should be making if we are really going to reach net zero by 2050.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author only and are not necessarily given or endorsed by or on behalf of the Energy Institute.
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