With the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) the current hot topic, companies and their energy managers must respond now by providing upfront investment of time, money and technology to achieve, or go beyond, their corporate and social responsibilities. With over, an estimated, 7000 UK organisations likely to be affected by ESOS, energy managers have to become much more proactive in their approach.
That is the view of Duncan Everett, General Manager of Optimal Monitoring who says: “Companies and their energy teams need to act now. For too long they have been in a reactive phase – to the same set of figures – and failing to look at the wider picture and long term potentials”.
The issue for today’s energy managers is one of time constraints. Whether having fallen into the role by default or having gained a degree in energy management to embark upon their chosen career, the current crop of energy managers may find the job spec very different from the day to day reality where, increasingly, demands upon their time are restricting their capabilities. Everett says: “The old adage that we can only manage effectively if we monitor effectively is so true, but unfortunately many companies are still not stretching themselves to monitor and react to energy usage and waste at a high enough level”. He explains that for many energy managers, the tasks of monitoring usage from each supplier, taking manual readings for gas and water, performing sanity checks and validating the information can be all consuming. Sifting through all the information to report to senior figures the relevant data for CRC and determining the figures for carbon tax is very often all there is time to do. Therefore comparing and analysing data in order to forward plan and make significant changes is invariably put to the back burner.
In a survey conducted by the National Energy Foundation in partnership with the British Institute of Facilities Management at the end of 2013, the findings suggested that ‘metering and monitoring tools to help improve the use of energy are still not widely used’. The managers surveyed all understood that ‘only real and regular data will provide real insights’ yet many admitted to not having the required information readily accessible.
With ESOS audits in the offing however, companies must surely now reconsider their priorities and reassess the way they are collecting and analyzing data. Real time data, areas of inefficiency and misuse must all be considered. Long term goals have to be put into place and a commitment to upfront investment into efficient technologies, such as the installation of advanced monitoring software, is paramount.
The Carbon Trust reports that large businesses have the ability to save 15% on energy bills through increased efficiency and it is ‘not uncommon’ to see this figure rise to 25%. Efficiency increases that with the right technology are found not just in energy savings and waste reduction, but also in the way an energy manager can perform their role. As Duncan Everett from Optimal comments: “If the ESOS scheme is viewed in a positive light and not just as another task to endure, managers will sit down now and think how can we be proactive and plan for this? Investing in suitable energy technology will not only benefit the company financially in the long term but will in the short term rapidly increase the amount of man hours and therefore ‘managing’ hours available. This in turn, will provide energy managers with beneficial time to consider all the other information that they have thus far been ignoring.”
The importance of planning for the future cannot and should not be overlooked any longer.
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