As more organisations are set to return to work alongside the latest guidance from the UK government, energy professionals will be reopening their estates.
In this blog our Energy Consultant, Juan Garcia, explores how energy professionals can use back to work energy surveys to ensure they are reopening their buildings optimally. Providing insights into how these surveys can be used as a launch pad to support energy management strategies as we move into a new normal and look ahead to post the pandemic.
So to begin, what does an effective energy survey involve?
Typically, an energy survey involves the following assessments:
- Examining the building’s fabric, services such as lighting and heating and controls
- Identifying the building occupancy profile, the building’s use and any environmental conditions and requirements
- Estimating the breakdown of energy use on-site, in terms of the main energy users
- Benchmarking the site’s energy performance against similar buildings, based on energy use and building data.
A back to work energy survey, will assess your building or properties, by seeking out opportunities and making recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of the building and therefore reducing overheads for the business. With many organisations beginning to reopen their estates following the government guidelines, it is important to understand how energy usage and business overheads will change.
With new rules and guidance for safer working being released, things will not be returning to normal just yet, so we need to look to find new ways of working. This will no doubt mean a change in operations for many businesses; a back to work energy survey is an opportunity to embrace this change and use it to find ways of improving your energy use.
How can a back to work energy survey help me in the current circumstances?
It may be beneficial for energy professionals to take advantage of their reduced operations and invest in a back to work survey, which will help them to understand ways to reduce energy costs and usage.
Additionally, if a building has been unoccupied for a few months, it is recommended that you have an energy survey carried out to find areas of improvement in the property’s energy efficiency. This will be more important for organisations now looking to cut costs and operate with reduced resources following the consequences of the pandemic.
There may be small changes identified in a survey that can be made to your building to help support a more optimal energy use. It is important to remember that energy saving does not need to be a capital investment. Whether this is a new office layout, or the lighting and heating in the building being adjusted to more ideal temperatures. Other systems such as boilers, air conditioning and ventilation will also be assessed with recommendations being made to save the organisation money, reduce energy usage, and provide comfort for staff.
Due to the circumstances in which organisations are re-opening, it may be necessary for businesses to keep buildings open for longer hours to ensure they are complying with social distancing measures. This will be costly and therefore investing in an energy survey to identify areas for improvement can support organisations in keeping these costs down.
Many organisations may also find they are opening to reduced numbers of staff in the office, meaning they could be changing the way their properties are set up. Perhaps your properties are multiple storeys and due to limited numbers of employees in the building, you may want to close a floor off. This would mean your energy consumption would change, and would require your building controls to be adjusted as you look to reduce the heating or air conditioning in areas of the building that are no longer in use.
Additionally, due to health and safety around new working conditions, it may be that there is one entrance and exit for all staff, requiring other exits to the building to be closed. It is important to ensure these doors and exit areas are closed and locked, which will help to reduce unnecessary energy use.
If perhaps your organisation has had to move to a new building due to the pandemic, investing in an energy survey will be effective to help you to identify services and controls, and advise how you can use these in the most energy efficient way.
What should organisations be doing to look ahead?
As we ease back into reopening our estates and welcoming back our employees and the public, albeit in a very different way than we were before. Organisations must be looking at the long-term plans that they can be initiating into their energy management strategies.
As many of us in the energy industry know, the Government’s target for the UK to be carbon net-zero by 2050 remains in place. Therefore, many organisations will still have the same targets now, as they did before the pandemic. This means businesses must be looking longer term as they adapt and plan for a new energy management strategy.
Many recommendations that are made by a back to work energy survey are often simple adjustments that can be made to help reduce costs and usage. They can also help assess what can be done to make small improvements within your existing infrastructure and tools, from a simple reset of your building controls, to training your workforce to think sustainably, all of which can deliver real energy and sustainability benefits.
If you would like to find out how TEAM’s expert energy consultants can support you with a back to work energy survey, please contact us today or give us a call on 01908 690018.