Energy Management software called SystemsLink is used, designed to provide a cost effective way of implementing an Energy Monitoring and Targeting system.
Durham County Council has over 800 buildings including offices, leisure centres, libraries and depots. For each one it manages electricity, gas and water consumption, at a large annual cost. Each building is unique, with different opening hours and numbers of occupants, different age and condition, and very different functions.
The Council estimated that up to to 10% of total energy and water costs could be saved if this data could be managed well. However, the Council at this time was using a very complex and inflexible set of paper bills and Excel spread sheets to manage consumption data so it was not able to manage its consumption well. A great deal of staff time (6 full time staff) was taken up in managing utility bills and trying to identify waste, with limited success.
As a result, the decision was taken to invest in new energy management software called SystemsLink. The software can be used across multiple utilities accounts, and has an interactive webportal function, allowing individual site access, so that building users can see how much energy they are using and compare consumption for previous weeks, months or years and a wide range of reporting tools. Energy and water consumption data is collected half hourly for each site meaning that the data can be managed by identifying energy waste (such as boilers being left on out of hours and holidays), water leaks and bi
The initial cost of the system was £16945 + VAT, and there is a small annual ongoing fee for maintenance and updates. Less than 3 FTE members of staff are now employed to use the system, and much of their time can be spent on proactively following up data to save energy and money.
Evidence of success
The software has saved Durham County Council money and enabled it to meet its carbon reduction targets. More importantly, it has empowered users at all levels to manage energy and resources more efficiently, and to take action proactively to do so. Under the old system, staff time was spent on reactive work through checking bills. Now, staff both in the Energy team and in building management have data at their fingertips to use and act on promptly.
When setting up the system, the challenge was the accurate manual uploading of data, which the contractor supported us with, and the setting of appropriate targets for energy reduction. Ongoing, skills development to ensure best value is achieved.
Potential for learning or transfer
Almost all public or private sector organisations consume energy and water in their buildings and can therefore benefit from using effective energy monitoring and targeting software. The software can be used to monitor energy and water consumption, to identify waste and over-spending and to set targets to reduce costs and carbon emissions. Systems that have been developed with understanding of the role of the energy officer are likely to be most beneficial. This means that the benefits of using energy management software such as SystemsLink has very broad transferability across countries and sectors.
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