Carbon-conscious clients eager to measure the energy performance of their buildings should check out the Workplace Footprint Tracker, a building management information system that uses wireless radio meters to collect energy usage information and then calculates the cost and carbon emissions
Developed by Building Sustainability, the software can display results on screens inside a building, to make workers and building managers aware of energy consumption.
‘Most current smart metering systems are designed for technical people, but we wanted it to be accessible by staff and clients,’ says George Bartley, managing director of Building Sustainability.
Fit-out contractor Morgan Lovell is already offering the system as part of its sustainable fit-out package for office projects to help demonstrate the energy efficiency of its designs to clients. The firm has also installed meters in its London headquarters building, and energy consumption has been reduced by 30% as a result.
Paul Kelly, Morgan Lovell’s head of marketing explains: ‘We installed meters on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, plus heavy plant. The footprint tracker energy consumption chart showed a big spike between 2-3am when no one was in the building. Further investigation revealed that there was a fault with the heating and cooling timer. By rectifying this, we were able to save the equivalent of around £5,000 a year.’
The contractor also linked the software to its room booking system, which enabled it to switch off lighting and adjust temperatures in 100 rooms hourly rather than leaving them on all day. ‘The software also proved handy for checking energy bills, displaying electricity and gas usage in pounds and pence,’ adds Kelly.
Building Sustainability manages the system at its data centre under a contract with the end user. Clients can also log on using a password to monitor performance.
The meters can be easily retro-fitted, claims Bartley – they are simply screwed on to distribution boards or plant.
Bartley says the number of meters installed on projects could rise hugely as businesses clamp down on energy consumption. ‘A big driver will be the introduction of Carbon Reduction Commitment legislation in April 2010, which will affect any large organisation consuming over 6MW hours per annum, or with energy bills of over £0.5m,’ he says. ‘After that date it will no longer be a cost issue for companies, but a regulatory one.’