We were delighted to host our ‘Powering Efficiency’ event at Scotland’s iconic hotel this week. The hotel provided a live case study on how energy monitoring with our PowerNow technology has helped them operate more sustainably and efficiently. Our speaker line up included Vincent de Rul, our Director of Energy Solutions, Warren McIntrye from Zero Waste Scotland, Gary Weddell, Emily Dewar, Callum Boyle from Gleneagles and David Robinson from Capula.
Efficiency: the win-win for sustainable profitablity
Net zero was unsurprisingly top of the agenda on the day, with all our speakers highlighting the need for behaviour change in business in order to meet our climate targets. Vincent de Rul opened by underlining the urgency of reducing carbon emissions as Friday’s global climate strikes clearly demonstrate. People don’t want ambitions they want actions- we all have our part to play. He acknowledged the seeming contradiction of an energy company wanting customers to reduce consumption, but explained that we do because it’s important. If we don’t save energy we put the Grid and our business at risk, so we’re on the same journey. There is a mutual benefit – for us, business and the global climate.
He went on to talk through the benefits of efficiency measures for business. Most successful projects start with the ‘quick wins’ or low hanging fruit and energy is no different. Efficiency is a great first place to start when looking to operate more efficiently, save money and be more sustainable. The starting point for businesses is understanding how you consume energy- where, what and when. Having all this info provides a robust model for your efficiency strategy. We can then help benchmark your consumption against different businesses in different countries. PowerNow is a system which is simple to install & use and provides granular detail on the where, what and when on a live dashboard. Often these steps are quick and easy to make- lights or devices being left on overnight, heating in un-staffed rooms or old, inefficient machinery.
He ended by explaining that once you have these results you can show your stakeholders exactly where changes need to happen. You’ll immediately see the results and can take incremental steps- one change at a time towards profitable sustainability.
Growth doesn’t have to cost the earth
The audience then heard from Warren McIntyre from Zero Waste Scotland, the delivery body for the Scottish government to accelerate the circular economy. The level of support in Scotland is unrivalled by comparison to European countries and sustainability is a priority for the Scottish government. He delivered the hard hitting fact that the way we waste resources is a moral scandal. He shared an analogy that you wouldn’t go to a party and eat all of the cake in knowledge that more people would be joining later, yet that’s what we’re doing with our resources. Just this year our Earth Overshoot day highlighted that by July we had already used more of the earth’s resources than could be replenished. So the common good is at stake when it comes to energy and resource management.
He explained that there is a clear policy context within Scotland to support businesses but that many of them face barriers of finance, lack of skills, time and stakeholder buy-in. However organisations like the Resource Efficient Scotland programme has a team of experienced advisors covering Scotland who can give dedicated support to businesses wanting to be more efficient. He said it’s imperative for energy companies, Zero Waste Scotland and businesses to work together for this common goal. He shared some really positive stats from their work with SME’s to illustrate this. Through their work they’ve identified over £200 million of cost savings for businesses they’re working with, with typical savings of around £50k per business (over the lifetime of the projects, with a massive 24% average energy saving per business. He asked the question of what could a 24% saving give you? And what could you do with it – could it support a new recruit, the purchase of new equipment, bonuses for staff? These are benefits that extend way beyond an energy bill.
He concluded by saying that crucially, the cost savings involved in increasing efficiency could save companies from going under- reassuring in this time of unprecedented change. There are also the added health and social benefits associated with reducing waste and helping companies to prosper.
We must empower our young to deliver the solutions of tomorrow
David Robinson from Capula focused on the behaviour change aspect of energy management. Sustainability is about systems optimisation, continuous improvement to net zero – there is not just one fix. Against a context of changes with supply, generation, networks – solar, national grid black outs etc. In the tech world there are changes too - artificial intelligence and the internet of things. The two are beginning to merge to creare the second revolution of energy – smart metering, EV smart charging, flexibility etc. Then there’s also virtual reality & augmented reality – to see the temperature and power usage of certain appliances as you look at them. With so much new technology we need the skills to manage it effectively and here he underlined the importance of getting young people into the organisation to deliver the solutions of tomorrow. Behaviour changes around energy consumption are needed – there are savings to be made from behaviour change alone.
The biggest challenge is when people don’t act- either they don’t realise the consequence of certain actions and decisions or fail to take action- how many of us have seen lights left on but have done nothing about it, or left the door open for easy access when the heating is on, sabotaging the efficiency of the room. This kind of data and feedback is essential – collect the data, identify where you can make a change and ask, if the system is not performing well, why isn’t it? You then change behaviours based on this. Simple actions can have positive consequences.
Gleneagles: future proofing for sustainable success
Finally we heard from Gary Weddell, Emily Dewar and Callum Boyle at Gleneagles about their experience of using PowerNow and the benefits it has brought them. They installed Power Now about a year ago due to in response to the exec team’s brief to save money and reduce carbon footprint. As a five star hotel the challenge is to never compromise on quality. They rolled out the system firstly in The Arena area (tennis courts, equestrian centre) and the target was to reduce by carbon foot print and energy consumption by 10 percent year upon year. They are currently at 6 percent so it is improving with PowerNow. Using the live dashboard they were able to see how much we use, how to monitor, best practices to reduce it and make changes accordingly.
They explained thet Gleneagles take environmental aspects seriously and it’s not just the exec team – guests also want to know about the sustainability agenda and ask questions. So PowerNow contributes to the wider sustainability aims of the hotel.
So far they have:
- Reduced food waste
- Implemented an energy management system (the LED lighting programme)
- Set up a Green Team who meet to discuss where positive changes can be implemented
- Made a 10 percent reduction in carbon footprint, environment and cost saving
- Achieved a sustainable refurb through recycling old furniture
- Won a Green Tourism Award
Gleneagles provides a real success story and shows how, within a small space of time, they’ve achieved award winning sustainability goals through live energy monitoring.
The key learnings from the event for business:
- Get to know your building behaviour inside out through live energy monitoring such as PowerNow
- Learn from each other- networks like the Green Network for Business gives businesses confidence to make a change when they can see other businesses benefiting from similar measures
- Systems need people- a lot can be done with systems but we need to know the desired outcome. Programming – people instruct the systems
- Empower your employees, especially the young to strive for the circular economy and change their behaviour for the good of the company and the wider world
Find out more about PowerNow and our other energy solutions.
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