Go all the way on energy efficiency

Go all the way on energy efficiency

How to make dramatic cost and carbon savings with IoT energy insights. By Steven Martin of Smartcool.

Game-changing internet-of-things (IoT) energy intelligence technology from our partner Centrica Business Solutions is helping education estates to ease the pain of high energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.

With budgets already under severe pressure, the cost of powering, heating and cooling your campus is likely to rise even further from 1 April 2023 when the Government energy relief1 fund reduces.

That’s a major worry for all schools, colleges and universities. How will you pay energy bills without draining funds from other vital services?  How will you keep decarbonisation on track to meet your net zero goals? What can you do to ensure your heating, cooling and power systems operate reliably to maintain energy resilience?

Intelligent cost & carbon saving

If you think you've taken energy efficiency all the way, think again! It’s time for a smarter approach to cost & carbon reduction. This involves using IoT energy insights to move beyond the obvious ‘quick win’ energy savings and drive efficiency much further than you thought possible.

It requires a complete understanding of how, when and where you are using energy across your campus – from utility meters and on-site generators – through to your critical, energy intensive assets, such as air handling units, lighting and heat exhaust systems. In this way you can pursue a fully informed sustainable energy strategy that provides real-time vision of your complete energy estate.

Even the most sophisticated building energy management systems are oblivious to what's happening beyond the utility meters – at a device level. As such, you're missing out on major cost and carbon reduction opportunities.

How energy insights work

By attaching wireless IoT sensors to energy intensive assets at a circuit level and using an advanced energy management platform to analyse and visualise that captured data, you can gain complete 360O vision of your campus-wide electricity usage and performance. There are also options to include gas, heat, air flow and water usage, as well as on-site generators, such as solar and CHP systems.

Self-powered, wireless sensors are simply clipped onto the outgoing electrical wire that powers each device, without disrupting operations. Data is delivered  in real-time to the PowerRadar™ energy management platform,  which sits at the heart of customers' energy strategies.

This creates a single, holistic view of your energy footprint across multiple sites and buildings. It provides up-to-date visibility of energy and operational performance. Live data can be interrogated in granular detail by your energy, FM and estates team, or presented simply and with impact to help influence staff and students and make sure that everybody is engaged in energy saving behaviour.

8 benefits of 360 O energy vision

Internet of Things (IoT) energy insights technology gives you 360O visibility of energy performance across your entire campus in real-time. There are 8 key benefits:

  1. Minimise your energy costs 

Record high energy prices are straining budgets to breaking point. By monitoring your real-time energy usage at an asset level, hidden areas of waste can be identified – creating opportunities for high impact energy and operational efficiency improvements that can reduce costs and help mitigate the impact of higher tariffs. 

Dublin’s Marino College halved its energy consumption & carbon emissions by using energy insights technology to underpin its energy efficiency upgrade. With complete vision of site-wide energy performance, efficiency improvements could be focused for greatest impact and informed investment decisions could be made. This resulted in long-term cost and carbon savings, a higher building energy rating, and compliance with ongoing energy reporting requirements.

  1. Shrink your carbon footprint

Consuming less energy means lower carbon emissions, enabling you to work towards ambitious net zero targets and meet the environmental expectations of staff, students and other key stakeholders. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to brand reputation in the education sector and a key differentiator for colleges and universities competing for climate conscious students.

University of Liverpool advances net zero

The University of Liverpool’s Materials Innovation Factory2 is using energy insights technology to help develop the Low Carbon Chemistry Lab of the Future.  The world-leading materials research facility aims to reduce its energy usage by an estimated 45% over the next four years and reduce its annual carbon footprint by the equivalent of 415,000kg of CO2.

3. Inform and justify investment in energy saving projects

Higher level energy monitoring can inform energy efficiency improvements and make the most of existing resources, while exploring options for demand reduction. By optimising data, you can understand your energy priorities and build an accurate and convincing case for capital investment in distributed energy solutions, such as renewable generation and battery storage. You can also base equipment sizing and specification on accurate and detailed energy consumption figures. 

4. Drive energy saving awareness & accountability among staff and students

The visualisation of energy data is crucial to staff and student energy saving communications. You can provide impactful campus-wide information and messaging or focus in on a particular area of energy performance to influence simple behaviour change, such as switching off lights. You can also simplify and present data to communicate specific messaging to a group of people, e.g. those working in a laboratory or canteen. Alerts can be set up to warn about specific areas of energy waste as it happens. In this way, information becomes a powerful influencer in driving accountability and lasting energy saving behaviour around your campus.

  1. Eliminate out-of-hours energy waste

Eliminating out-of-hours (nights and weekends) electricity usage on education campuses, which typically accounts for 15 to 30% of total power consumption, is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to cut costs and carbon emissions.  Aside from the energy used for refrigeration, server rooms and perhaps some lab equipment, most of this off-hours consumption is wasted energy. The most common causes are incorrect set points of building management system (BMS), or the oblivious behaviour of people not turning things off after use.  

With energy insights technology you can prompt specific energy saving actions by staff and students, e.g. “the heater in room 203 was left on last night – costing £4.63. Please turn off in future to help us save money and carbon”.

Once out-of-hours waste is controlled, you can establish a new energy consumption baseline for each building and apply an out-of-hours hours efficiency rating as a basic metric within your energy management strategy.

  1. Optimise your energy intensive assets to increase resilience

With on-demand access to real-time equipment performance data you can gain new insights into operational improvement opportunities. Anomalies picked up by the sensors and  analytics software can uncover faults and vulnerabilities in your energy assets that are difficult to detect.

Data intelligence makes it easier to transition to predictive maintenance – using  24/7 alerts about potential issues so they can be prevented before they become points of failure. In this way, the smart technology can reduce downtime and extend asset life.  

  1. Make energy compliance & reporting easy

With increasing regulatory and legislative oversight of Scope1, 2 and 3 emissions, having a proactive approach to monitoring and measuring your energy consumption ensures a clear view of your emission sources and effective compliance. 

Detailed data can also be collated across multiple sites and reports downloaded for environmental and fiscal reporting.

  1. Pinpoint opportunities to reduce peak time costs or sell surplus energy

Data insights also inform opportunities to use energy flexibly to reduce costs and generate revenue. For example, you can gain a clear understanding of how you can shift energy demand patterns to avoid peak time power costs and where you might have flexible power capacity to generate revenue from Demand Side Response (DSR) activities and other trading opportunities. 

Funding support

Many organisations are benefiting from fast returns on investment in our low-cost energy insights technologies. Funding is also available, including a new government energy efficiency grant scheme3, which will share £500 million among colleges and schools in England. 

Get ahead on cost and carbon reduction

Get ahead of high energy costs & decarbonisation by using game-changing energy insights technology to transform your energy performance.  Future-proof your education estate with low cost, quick and easy efficiency solutions.

Further information: https://www.smartcool.net/energy-monitoring

  1. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/energy-bills-discount-scheme
  2. https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/materials-innovation-factory/news/articles/1-3m-to-develop-the-low-carbon-chemistry-lab-of-the-future/
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/investment-to-shield-schools-from-high-energy-bills-and-boost-to-budgets

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