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How can you boost profits against the current economic backdrop?

Posted by John Stevens on 24-Mar-2017 15:40:52

With Brexit, the fall in value of the £, overhead inflation and pressure on wages impacting businesses across the UK, it’s essential to consider additional opportunities to boost revenues and cut costs. 

Energy saving opportunities are an integral part of this, and yet many Energy Managers within organisations are still frustrated by the number of invest to save opportunities that remain unapproved.

Reasons for this are varied and include:

• Absence of capital
• Not seen as a priority in the boardroom
• Lack of skilled personnel
• Operational challenges

Advancing technology can play a vital part in boosting business profits, but despite various initiatives from government and the advances made in technology, we’ve still only scratched the surface.

There are three simple ways that businesses can act to boost profits against this backdrop:

  1. Common sense: let’s seek to understand what we are using before we jump in to the solution
  2. Unravel complex data: identify what is actionable right now that can effect change and make a difference
  3. Leverage technology: deliver efficiency through the use of big data and systems integrated technology

We’ll look at each of these elements in more detail.
 

1. Common sense

There are three elements to a common sense approach:

Reducing energy consumption: Switching off devices when not in use
Reducing energy use: Ensure all levels are set to correct specification for buildings and plant
Energy efficiency: Implementing the use of the right technology for the task

By starting with a mind-set shift and moving towards a strategic common sense approach, we can really start to make a difference.

Awareness needs to be raised from the top of the business to all staff of the importance of energy saving. Energy consumption should be visible to all, so that it’s not ‘out of sight out of mind’. Setting goals at team/department/company level can help to maintain momentum.

And finally, let’s ensure that we use the right technologies to deliver maximum savings at minimal cost.

2. Unravel complex data

You have to start somewhere and the easiest place is an energy audit.
 
A good audit should comprise a combination of desk top visualisation and analysis of consumption data patterns with detailed or holistic site surveys to examine what is happening to potentially cause the pattern.

The humble energy audit should not be underrated, and the Carbon Trust’s recent analysis highlights this. They sampled 86 Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) audits and the average reduction achievable through the recommendations of those audits was 20%. If you take the average energy spend of those qualified within the scheme, that’s an annual saving of £360k**.

Despite these facts, there is still low compliance with ESOS: 40% of businesses failed to comply with the ESOS phase 1 deadline in April last year***.

The reality though is that energy efficiency measures are not going to go away and will only become more important. An energy audit will help you unravel your energy data and identify opportunities to boost revenue and cut costs.

3. Leverage technology

These days we’re all surrounded by technology, and so it may surprise you that 70% of buildings in the UK are classed as ‘dumb’, demonstrating that there is still so much scope for leveraging technology.

And it doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is to keep it simple, use the right technology to get results and generate confidence.

The rapid increase in the number of connected devices and their ability to send and receive data has been labelled by many as the Internet of Things (IoT). While it’s not a new concept, or the sole panacea to the difficulties that businesses are facing, it is a catalyst to accelerate the role of technology as an energy optimisation tool.

Despite IoT and technology advances, collating and analysing business data often remains a manual process.

But what if you had:

  • Software that automatically looks for “issues” or events across a wide range of data with different sources and format
  • Process rules to generate events or alarms
  • Easily add new rules without re-programming controllers


The result: The ability to transform operational data into actionable insights with minimal intervention. Our Business Energy Intelligence software can help to deliver these benefits.

Actionable insights can be turned into actual benefits and value for your business. The graphic below demonstrates a total of 220 unfiltered alarms/events for a business going into the top of the funnel.

By introducing the method of filtering and qualifying the categories of alarms, we can see that the number is reduced to just 50 at the bottom of the funnel, a reduction of over 75%. In real terms, this saved the business the cost of 58 days support.

Alarms graphic.jpg

Bringing it all together

These are just some of the ways businesses can tap into the massive potential of incremental energy and business efficiency optimisation.

We’re seeing increasingly how advances in technology are enabling more connectivity and interoperable systems. But the real key to success moves beyond getting hold of and managing all the data and into analysis, tracking and reporting of performance trends.

It's this flavour of insight which has driven us here at SSE Enterprise Energy Solutions to focus on increasing our breadth and depth of technology based services to enhance our customers’ ability to optimise their energy.

* https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/low-carbon-buildings-best-practices-and-what-to-avoid
**http://www.edie.net/news/6/ESOS-energy-efficiency-cost-savings-for-UK-businesses-Carbon-Trust-2016/
***http://www.esos.uk.com/esos-phase-2-it-pays-to-be-prepared/

Topics: Energy Optimisation, Energy audits, ESOS, Internet of Things (IoT)