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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:

  • Buildings are major consumers of energy and they have to be made more efficient to cut CO2 emissions, conserve fossil fuels and preserve the environment for future generations.
  • Buildings are generally designed on experience and simplistic performance calculations even though it has been proven that the use of performance based building simulation can achieve much better performing buildings that consume significantly less energy.
  • Pre-IES building performance tools were too complex to use and remained in the hands of academics making very little impact on mainstream commercial design.

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.

 

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