Early action could pay dividends

In a recent article, the Financial Times highlighted the news that thousands of businesses are still unaware of their responsibilities under the new CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme – even though it officially began in April 2010.

Around 30,000 businesses using half hourly electricity metering will be included in the scheme, though of these only the 5,000 biggest energy users will be placed on a league table of energy savers. Anyone who hasn’t already registered has until September 2010 to do so online at the Environment Agency (EA) which is administering the scheme.

Participants in the scheme must monitor their total carbon emissions from relevant energy use during the footprint year which runs from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011. The EA must receive a footprint report by 29 July 2011.

Many organisations may be tempted to hold off on taking action on their energy consumption, assuming that it can be counted as part of carbon reductions after the footprint year. However, in doing so they run the risk of missing out on Early Action Metrics, which effectively offer rewards for early adoption of more metering and for putting in place a demonstrable energy management process.

This point is very important because it should encourage intelligent public and private sector organisations that fall under the CRC to take action on energy use in their buildings now. This is where building management systems can offer real help for energy or facilities managers faced with responding to CRC requirements.

The EA states that an energy management process should have: “A high quality energy or carbon management approach focusing on measurement, management and reduction.” Unlike metering, which simply measures energy used, a building management system can help to develop strategies for reducing energy use long-term. Options such as trending, automated response to external environment and early alarms are widely available – and can play an important role in keeping track of where and how energy is used in a building.

Information on exactly how energy (and hence carbon) is saved is also an important factor in the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme. A high standard of data and evidence will be required as part of the assessment process. Again, building management systems can provide exactly the information required to demonstrate any energy savings made over time.

Anywhere between 50% and 70% of building services are linked to building controls or a building management system. Since the building services such as lighting, heating and cooling are the main users of energy in a building, the ability to monitor and manage these has never been more important.

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