Delvin Lane is head of Energy360
There seems to be a lot of talk in the news about smart meters. As a small leisure business, should we install one and how can they benefi t our organisaton?
The government has set a target to roll out smart meters in 30 million UK homes and businesses by 2019. The rollout starts in 2014, but there is a strong case for installing one in your leisure business right now. The meters are simple to install, and monitor energy consumption on a half- hourly basis – giving you near real time information on how energy is being consumed (and often wasted) in differ- ent areas of your facility. Businesses typically identify energy savings of up to 10% using low or no-cost measures as soon as a meter is installed. But it is important to realise that a
smart meter is really just the start of your energy journey. It is a highly pre- cise identifi cation tool, but you must also be ready to act on the informa- tion, by taking the data and applying analysis in order to determine your energy strategy – this is something that British Gas can help with. The smart meter can be linked to an online dashboard that you can view on your computer. You can log in at any time of day and view your energy activ- ity. A range of evaluation tools will help you interpret that data, and work out how to make energy and cost savings. If you have multiple sites, smart meters can be linked up to compare how different sites perform on a daily, monthly or longer term basis. Smart meters are also useful to assess new technology you have installed. If you buy a new piece of kit which promises you X amount of sav- ings, then a smart meter can easily verify those claims or otherwise.
Smart meters allow businesses to analyse their data in real- time. Which of the following applies most accurately to your business?
■ We have smart meters but aren't entirely sure how to use them / get the most from them 13%
■ We don't have smart meters but are planning to get them 16%
How can we ensure that staff are 'on message' about saving
energy at our chain of leisure sites?
Your staff are a major part of your energy management
strategy. A clear policy should really be ingrained in the DNA of your business, and it has to work on both a behav- ioural and an attitudinal level. Staff should not see energy saving as a chore that simply saves money for the company. There is no reason why you can’t offer fi nancial incen- tives. One large pub chain we are working with is running a competition across its sites where staff can make YouTube-style videos of themselves making energy savings around the facility and there are prizes to be won. The chain is also publishing a league table of the results, which sets up an atmosphere of friendly compe- tition between sites and really draws attention to what can be achieved. Another large leisure company we have worked with includes energy effi - ciency in its two-day induction for new staff. It also offers an ideas shar- ing scheme – so if a member of staff comes up with a good energy idea that
Find out more: www.britishgas.co.uk/business
0845 955 5820
+ + + + + +r + + + + +
■ We're not aware of smart meters 40%
■ We have smart meters installed and find them useful 31%
is implemented, they get some fi nan- cial share of the savings made by the leisure organisation. There will be lots of opportunities
around your facility where staff can make a daily difference, especially in the start-up and closing down of your daily operations. Are the cleaners coming in early in the morning and switching lights on all at once instead of gradually? Is your heating coming on a few hours ear- lier than necessary? Are there parts of your facility where heating and lighting can be switched off when not in use? Who has access to the thermostat and can it easily be meddled with? If you have a pool cover, are staff using it at the end of the day?
When a business installs a smart
meter, they are often very surprised to see how much unnecessary energy is being consumed overnight when the facility is closed. Again, basic house- keeping rules about switching things off can signifi cantly cut consumption. A clear company energy policy will pay dividends in terms of changing behaviour, making savings, and allow- ing your staff to feel in control of their working environment. ●
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