Metered data – the measure of sustainability on the road to Net Zero

Metered data – the measure of sustainability on the road to Net Zero

By Dave Sing, Group Managing Director (Assets), Energy Assets

Net Zero. The direction of travel is set. The timescale is clear. And while the journey may be missing parts of the road map and some firm milestones, now is the time to act.

With national policies and strategies proliferating, the question for industrial and commercial (I&C) organisations is where to invest time and resources today to maximise benefit tomorrow?

Enabling data-driven energy efficiency

The answer is clear – energy efficiency. Not only will this deliver a fast payback at a time of high energy costs, the positive impact on carbon reduction will also be significant.

The good news is we already possess the currency and building blocks to make this happen. The currency is data, and the blocks are the systems and technologies that turn data into value.

As a multi-utility energy services provider, we’re ready to help in a number of ways, by:

  • operating automated meter reading systems to systematically collect consumption data
  • delivering half-hourly meter data streams to suppliers and end users as an approved Data Collector/Data Aggregator 
  • monitoring and analysing consumption trends through our WebAnalyser AM&T portal
  • applying machine learning to metered data to optimise building energy performance.

In short, data will increasingly become the measure of sustainability on the road to Net Zero, acting as the proof point for carbon reduction strategies. It’ll also be the enabler for corporate compliance, as regimes such as the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) are widened and more strictly regulated.

Harnessing the power of digital intelligence and market reform

It’s already clear that the days of viewing energy consumption as a fixed cost are over. Data should be viewed in 30 minute intervals to enable a granular insight into consumption patterns.

This data revolution will instigate new time-of-use-tariffs along with innovations in demand side response. These will nudge businesses to shift energy-hungry processes off-peak as part of an ever more sophisticated energy efficiency landscape.

The big challenge for managers, and particularly those in medium sized enterprises (SMEs), will be how best to make sense of these huge volumes of data. The good news is automatic monitoring and targeting systems, such as WebAnalyser, can already be customised to provide bespoke analysis and spot unusual consumption patterns.

But we’re going further. Our AMR DNA service uses machine learning to progressively apply data insight to optimise building energy performance. Indeed, a study of one customer portfolio identified millions of pounds of potential savings in heat energy through the application of artificial intelligence.

How are you positioned for this low carbon era?

The potential for improvement is huge, with the 1.5 million I&C buildings in England and Wales accounting for around one third of all UK carbon emissions from total building stock. Incentivising carbon reduction from these premises is a central plank in the government’s Heat Strategy. This aims to reduce energy usage by at least 20% by 2030 and greenhouse gas emissions by 68% (from a 1990 baseline) over the same period.

It’s also why ESOS looks set to be transformed. ESOS requires larger businesses to identify opportunities for energy savings, but without any obligation to implement them. Even so, the scheme is estimated to have delivered annual efficiency energy savings of 1.65TWh from buildings, plus 1.51TWh from industrial processes.

No wonder the government is considering widening the net for ESOS to include SMEs and to give it more teeth. This will likely include the publishing of company energy performance audits, actions and progress.

As we go forward, data will be both the measure of success and the means for holding leadership teams to account. Critically, embracing the opportunities presented by this new data-rich era will be fundamental to successfully decarbonising our economy.

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