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Building a case for waste reduction

The latest building management systems can reduce the environmental impact of our built environment, explains Lionel Caillat, general manager, Honeywell Building Technologies/Building Management Systems

Growing environmental awareness is revolutionising our approach to resource management. As a result, we are identifying and quantifying waste in more detail than ever before. This is partly being driven by government initiatives to mitigate climate change, such as the recently updated Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) regulations in the UK, which aims to improve business and industry energy productivity by 20% over the next 10 years. There is also a growing awareness that technology can provide the tools needed to manage out energy wastage.

Next generation analytics and artificial intelligence, combined with real-time reporting and smart networks, can help achieve previously unattainable levels of energy waste reduction. Manufacturing has been quick to adopt these sorts of processes, especially as energy bills rise, but this type of thinking is also relatable to the built environment. Properly implemented, it can help answer one of the big questions: how much waste does a site or individual building create? It can also start to minimise unnecessary overheads.

A billion pounds’ worth of savings

The issue is sufficiently serious that the UK government is looking at legislation. Plans are being discussed for rented commercial buildings to operate at a minimum energy efficiency standard of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band B by 2030. Westminster estimates that this could save businesses £1bn per year in energy bills. So if those sorts of savings are accessible why wait for legislation?

Tools, such as Building Management Systems (BMS), are available to ensure commercial buildings of all uses and sizes better manage their energy consumption. Areas such as lobbies, halls and conference rooms can all be more efficiently run, especially if footfall and usage isn’t constant. For example, air conditioning systems, lighting and audio visual equipment in parts of a building not being utilised can be automatically switched off or turned down to energy saving mode.

However, it’s not just about reactive management; sensors can also be employed to identify building usage patterns, which in turn can help to develop more cost-effective occupancy planning. This doesn’t just reduce energy consumption, it can also help improve the occupant experience by ensuring that the most appropriate facilities are made available, cost-effectively and efficiently. From a building management perspective, that’s a double win.

Small changes, big wins

Taking control of a building’s energy use is an incremental process – it can be all about a series of small gains which when taken together, can quickly add up to a big win. However, to ensure this potential is fully realised, facility managers need to have access to the big picture. Taking a holistic view will deliver the best possible results. That’s why it’s essential to have a fully implemented BMS in place – it will help ensure that the maximum benefits and value can be realised, now and in the future. The European Union agrees and is proposing in the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) to make the use of BMS mandatory for buildings above a certain size.

Having access to the right tools, in combination with a bespoke plan tailored to your specific needs, sits at the heart of an effective energy waste management strategy. It is also important to work with an experienced building management partner as this will help ensure the best possible outcome: long-term optimised energy use.

Don’t wait for the legislation – stay ahead of the game. Realise those waste reduction benefits now and boost bottom line performance.

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