Energy Management, Back to Basics?


In the last month I have spoken about Land Securities’ approach to energy management at two different edie events, the edie Effective Energy Management Conference and edie Live. Both events were well attended and facilitated some great discussions on the challenges facing energy managers in driving performance and efficiency.

So how do we at Land Securities approach energy management? Well there are three key factors.

Firstly we must understand the building itself, secondly we must understand how that building performs and thirdly we must identify the most appropriate opportunities for improvement.

I liken this to owning a car. First you need to understand how to drive and control the car properly, then you can get the car tuned, and finally you can assess the serious engine overhauls or replacements needed.

To understand the building itself we need to determine which utilities are present, how they interconnect and how they are used within the asset. We need to understand what plant and equipment is installed and get to grips with the age and condition of it as well as how much energy it is actually using. We also need to be clear on when we need to use it. For example if a shopping centre closes at 8pm do we need to heat and fully light an empty shopping centre for the security guard to patrol? Probably not.

It’s really important that we understand how each building is performing now and how it has performed historically. We must be mindful too of budget because sometimes even if we appear to be financially consistent year on year this isn’t necessarily proof of efficiency. What are we paying for? Is this accurate? Or are we wasting energy even though it appears to be consistent? Data analysis is a vital part of getting this right!

There are many low cost ‘quick wins’ that can be implemented immediately for a quick return. At The Galleria in Hatfield the security team report on unnecessary lighting left on out of hours by tenants to the management team, who can then raise this the following day. This builds a culture that challenges wasteful behaviour. A simple message of ‘please turn off all electrical appliances when not in use’ can have far-reaching impact.

Medium cost ‘quick payback’ opportunities take a little longer to see a return but can include component upgrades within the plant and equipment, boiler resequencing or the installation of variable speed drives, as well as LED upgrades or the installation of motion sensors to existing lamps. At White Rose in Leeds the team have started an extensive upgrade programme converting external car park lighting to LEDs. They have further enhanced the savings by optimising the design and reducing the number of fittings from twin head to single head, whilst actually improving lighting levels.

Our high cost ‘long payback’ solutions are often the most difficult to justify. These include comprehensive lighting strategies, HVAC reviews, Solar PV installation and a sensible equipment procurement system. At Bluewater we have recently recommissioned the passive ventilation system at the centre. This is the culmination of a three year programme of HVAC reviews and sees the integration of destratification fans, solar film and air curtains with the AHU’s to fully support the asset in the most efficient way possible. The site saw a reduction of 13% in its energy consumption which equates to a saving of £80,000 per year.

With commercial buildings accounting for around 18% of UK carbon emissions it is important for us, as a responsible business, to continue to reduce energy use in our sector as well as making sure we are always operating at peak efficiency to ensure that we stay in the best possible place for the future.


This blog was originally published on Land Securities' website here.