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Earlier this year, RBS’ Innovation Gateway launched the Bristol Go Green Challenge. The challenge sought to source innovative solutions to a range of challenges, including creating the first carbon neutral RBS branch. We are delighted that our CI-Squared service was selected as one of 12 successful innovations to be trialled as part of the challenge and today our blog looks at how it will help to uncover hidden energy and carbon savings on the RBS estate in Bristol.
Following our success in the RBS Bristol Go Green Challenge, we will be trialling CI-Squared on RBS properties in Bristol in the coming weeks. CI-Squared, which stands for Collect, Investigate, Compare and Invest, is the process which we use to enable the power of our established Virtual Environment performance analysis technology to be used on buildings during operation.
CI-Squared is innovative as it links together all operational data streams (e.g. Smart/AMR Meters, Sub Meters, BMS Equipment, Environment Sensors, other building systems such as lighting), and other available external data sources, such as weather, with 3D performance models. This means that real data, rather than design data, can be used directly in calibrated simulation models enabling more accurate predictions.
The strength of our Virtual Environment (VE) suite is the integrated and holistic nature of the way it assesses building performance; taking into account the thermal properties of construction materials, external weather conditions, internal occupancy levels and usage patterns, operational details of equipment and HVAC services, and internal comfort.
One of the key strengths of CI-Squared is its value of being used after initial ‘Quick Win’ energy efficiency improvements have been made, and its capability to find more improvements. It can either be applied to a building for a fixed period or can be used on an ongoing basis to support a programme of continuous improvement, depending on the individual application.
Our Eureka moment
IES was formed in June 1994 by Dr Don McLean, our Managing Director. Its roots go back to 1979; when the 1973 energy crisis, the three-day week, power cuts and predictions that oil would run out by 2000 were all high in the public’s consciousness. Against this backdrop, Don McLean started his PhD work in detailed computer simulation of renewable energy devices. This work, along with subsequent research and commercial activity consolidated three fundamental observations that IES is built on:
What impact will our innovation have at RBS Bristol?
CI-Squared for the Bristol Go Green Challenge will help RBS look for new ways to refine and implement smarter system control and source zero, or low cost, energy demand reductions as a ‘first step’ on the Bristol estate. Then, through thorough scenario analysis using 3D calibrated modelling and investment appraisal, we can investigate what Retrofit and Deep Retrofit scenarios are possible at Bristol and, in particular, how RBS can achieve it’s ambition of creating the bank’s first Carbon neutral branch.
Whilst the IES CI-Squared service directly addresses energy and efficiency of buildings, due to the holistic nature of the service and its integrated consideration of environmental conditions, it will also directly impact on the provision of health and well-being for employees and customers.
Working with RBS
We’re really excited about the feedback and input we’re set to receive from RBS as we go through the trial process at Bristol. Whilst our service has already been tested on a number of Proof of Concept studies in the retail, healthcare and public sectors, we are looking to identify the most appealing and replicable business model, for which understanding and exploring opportunities in the financial sector is crucial.
What’s next for IES
IES has always looked towards the future, investing 1/3 of our turnover in research and development. We’re always looking for better ways of doing things, with the overall objective of continuing to provide our clients with the most advanced ways of reducing building energy consumption and costs.
The aim is to provide appropriate and accurate metrics in a format that allows Energy Managers to understand where improvements are possible and to mitigate or eradicate inefficiencies completely. The information provided will help to plan energy efficiency actions based on actual energy production and consumption, presented as real savings and improve end-user’s comfort levels.
You can read more about Don’s vision at his recent Blog ‘Why Cars are Smarter than our Buildings’.
Increasingly, more and more companies are starting to pay attention to the fact that they need to be more sustainable and reduce their energy consumption. Not only is energy a major factor of most businesses operational costs, energy prices are continuing to rise and show no signs of stabilising anytime soon.
The cost of energy is overtaking all other variable costs in most industries. From 1993 to 2006 the cost of natural gas increased over 250 percent. And during this same period the cost of fuels and power increased over 110 percent. Managers are asking, ‘How can we better manage these costs?’ and ‘How can we better utilise our resources?’
Companies are also now recognising that their customers expect them to be part of the national and global energy sustainability solution. With stringent government energy targets on the agenda as well as the need for transparency via the likes of Corporate Social Responsibility reports, businesses must show that they are undertaking strategies to help meet our current and future energy demands in an environmentally responsible way.
It’s for these reasons that our team at IES have been busy using our technology to create a unique process called CI2©, that helps building owners to eliminate hidden waste and find resultant cost savings. In the past identifying hidden waste has typically required looking at each control or analysing utility bills and having a ‘gut-feel’ as to the source of a problem area. This has led to energy waste remaining undetected, draining resources for years. Now, break-through advances in building simulation technology and the creation of Ci2© means that you can collect and investigate your actual energy usage, as recorded by your Building Management System (BMS) or your Automatic Meter Readers (AMR), to pinpoint exactly when and where your buildings are wasting energy.
Companies such as John Lewis in the UK and Walgreens in the US are already seeing the benefits of this. By comparing how their stores are performing against enhanced virtual models of how they could be performing, they’ve been able make informed investment decisions about how best to upgrade core plant equipment, improve the fabric of their buildings or add ‘green’ technology such as voltage optimisation, LED lighting or solar VP.
Let’s look closer at the Walgreens project. Walgreens have set a target to reduce its energy use by 20 percent in every store by 2020, but that mission alone isn’t enough for Walgreens: It has decided to go steps further and build the nation’s first net-zero energy retail store, located outside of Chicago in Evanston, Ill. The project anticipates earning Net-Zero Energy Building Certification by U.S. DOE standards, and LEED Platinum, Living Building and Green Chill Platinum certifications. Walgreens estimates the store will use 200,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity while generating 220,000 kilowatt hours per year. As the store will serve as a living laboratory, Walgreens has made an investment in energy metering, building automation and measurement and verification. Using IES technology and its Ci2© process Walgreens are tracking and regulating the performance of the building very closely to ensure it performs as predicted and achieves their Net-Zero target. Since opening in November 2013 the store is on target to achieve its goal after the first year of opening.
Commercial buildings utilise more than 42% of all electricity produced, yet waste up to 50%. It is clear that looking at innovative ways to manage energy use across the building portfolio offers very substantial savings. There are a myriad of things companies could be doing to reduce their energy costs. The challenge is working out what actions will generate the biggest return for their organisation, small actions can immediately be put in place to generate savings, therefore, self-funding further building improvement plans. Many companies are just embarking on this journey while others are way ahead and making steady improvement.
So what is your company doing to prevent energy waste? Is it utilising technology and processes like those IES provide to continually monitor and evaluate your building to prove various options that will save you both energy and money? It should be.
For more information you can visit http://www.iesve.com/building-operation