Help your business save energy…and be kind to the planet

Business activity accounts for a significant percentage of Britain’s overall energy consumption, but with some simple steps and innovative digital analytical tools it is possible to make considerable savings and to be kinder to the planet.

To coincide with Big Energy Saving Week (January 20 – 26), George Catto, Client Services Director at AMR DNA, an Energy Assets service powered by kWIQly, which applies artificial intelligence to optimise energy efficiently, offers his energy insight and provides three energy saving tips for businesses.

George commented: “We are in an exciting era in which artificial intelligence is applying state-of-the-art analysis and algorithms to determine where and how energy is being used. 

“With precise monitoring, these automated systems can spot the trends and actions that will inform the best ways to save energy. However, even without such an advanced system, it is still possible for companies and public sector organisations to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon and make energy budgets go further.

Here are just a few simple tips:

TIP 1 – Do the maths before replacing boilers and chillers

It is important that a chiller or boiler is correctly sized because if it is too big or too small it will not run at its maximum efficiency.

Therefore, before replacing, make sure you install a boiler or chiller with the minimum capacity that will meet your needs.  To do this take into account historical average daily energy consumption vs outside air temperature. To gain more energy saving, it may be worth varying operating times to reduce peak time energy consumption by using a smaller boiler or chiller for slightly longer at the start of the day.

Remember a smaller boiler works harder and typically is more efficient; they cost less and carry lower lifetime carbon impact.  Other considerations:

  • If controls go wrong, the smaller capacity will also help cap possible energy waste. 
  • For gas, meter capacity should be meet your consumption needs, which can mean lower network charges. 
  • Controlling anything that has a rated load near the expected load makes for better performance, improved comfort and lower costs.  (An analogy is a beginner driver “bunny hopping” a powerful car that they do not have the sensitivity to control).

TIP 2 – Don’t ruin a holiday by heating empty space

Holidays cost money in more ways than one!

If your buildings are unoccupied over specific periods, for example if you are a school or university or a facility with a defined shutdown period, then make sure your heating controls take into account the shutdown rather than operating as ‘business as normal’.

Heating an empty space is like throwing money out of the window and produces unnecessary carbon.

Also make sure you treat ventilated buildings as if they are two distinct buildings. During occupancy, forced ventilation massively increases the heat transfer rate.  This means determining load or waste analysis for the unoccupied periods cannot be related to normal operations and will skew results.


TIP 3 – If you can’t forecast it, you’re probably wasting energy.

When forecasting energy consumption, you should use any unpredictability of consumption as a flag for probable waste.

It’s a simple truth that if you cannot forecast what you need, you cannot know that you are using only what you need. 

Reducing the volatility of your ‘forecast vs actual’ will undoubtedly save money and carbon, reduce wear and tear, enhance comfort and avoid penalty pricing for poor purchasing decisions on some tariffs.

The only way to accurately understand your energy consumption and building efficiency is to measure it. What you cannot see you cannot know. So take action now and follow these simple steps to save energy. AMR DNA, our artificial intelligence tool, can spot many more rules and changes that you can make to save energy and money.

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