Analysis & Feasibility

You’ll not be surprised to know that the pattern of use in a hotel is quite different from an office, as is a university from a hospital.  But the different peaks and troughs of demand can help offer opportunities for sharing facilities or trading energy.  That’s why we’ll need to make an in-depth review of energy and operations.

There’s no point jumping in and changing energy systems, without first taking a cool look at what you already have and who is responsible for it.  To provide sound advice, at a minimum we will need a year’s energy bills, but more data is almost always better.  Half hourly metering will help – so we can look at the profile of energy use throughout the day and the split between weekdays and weekends.

We’ll need to know what fuels you are using – and if there are any backup generators.  We’ll also need to look at the building itself – how big, how old, its orientation, and any added insulation – and the systems inside it – heating, cooling and lighting, as well as what’s going on inside.  If you have an EPC or DEC, that will help us.

Once we have a sense of where energy is being used – or wasted – now, we can look at what’s feasible to reduce demand or improve supply.  Maybe it’s as simple as improving the controls on a heating or cooling system, or replacing older lights with LEDs.  Or maybe it will involve upgrading boilers to a heat pump system, or adding solar panels to a flat roof.  Or it may be more complex, like installing battery storage or a system that can switch between multiple energy sources depending on cost and availability. We’ll also use this to work out if local energy trading would be beneficial.

But one thing’s definite: any feasibility study has to look at costs, access to capital funding, desired payback periods – and whether it will work for you.

Heating

This will look at boiler systems and controls. If gas boilers are used, how efficient are they, and are there good control?  Modern condensing boilers should only be replaced when they risk becoming unreliable, although if they have been installed for some years, it is likely that controls can be improved.  If there are multiple boilers onsite, are they properly sequenced?  If heating comes from a combined HVAC system, what are its parameters and, again, how well is it controlled?  Are there opportunities to upgrade to a more modern air source heat pump?

Cooling

If present (and most properties on the South Bank have some cooling) is it made up of standalone units, centrally controlled or part of a wider HVAC system?  What seasonal efficiency should be attained, and does this tie in with the electricity profiles?  Can users set their own temperatures? Is there a need for a minimum number of air changes for HSE reasons?

Lighting

Most lighting will already be either CFLs or fluorescent strips – there are few remaining incandescent bulbs in use (except for some halogen spots).  So a lighting audit will look at additional savings by moving to LEDs – not just in terms of energy consumed, but also in reduced maintenance costs – and controls.  Even LEDs will benefit from motion sensors or daylighting controls in most cases, and they don’t suffer from the limits on switching that CFLs did.

Small power

Use of small power varies enormously across the South Bank (and some is far from small!)  Most premises will have PCs and small peripherals, but only some will have larger IT or data centres.  There are some very specialist uses too, as diverse as operating theatres, movie theatres and science laboratories.  At BankEnergi, we don’t claim to be expert on any of these, but can hopefully ask intelligent questions that may lead to users rethinking their energy use themselves.

Next steps

Once we’ve done the initial energy review, and come up with some feasible solutions, it’s up to you.  Do you want to schedule in improvements, saving money, improving local air quality and reducing carbon emissions?  Or will it need to wait for funding to become available?  And are there lower cost measures – such as encouraging behaviour change among employees or visitors – that may have an immediate payback?  And finally, have we identified opportunities for local energy trading from your pattern of energy use?  As we said – it’s up to you to decide, but we very much hope you’ll be able to continue on the BankEnergi journey with us.

If you are based on the South Bank in London, and think that you could benefit from a free energy review, as BankEnergi is currently funded through the UK Government’s InnovateUK programme, then please contact us by email or by completing the form on the contact page.  We’d love to hear from you!