Boat firm lets Energy Management take the strain

Steve Retford from Energy Management LLP is proud to announce that popular holiday boat hire company Sally Narrowboats has renewed its contract with the Wiltshire-based company after achieving savings of over 10 per cent on its energy usage in the last 12 months.

As well as powering a 26-strong fleet, Sally Narrowboats offer a full repair and maintenance service for passing traffic on the Kennet & Avon Canal at its dry dock facility in the picturesque Bradford-on-Avon Marina.

Sally Narrowboats General Manager Mark Fraser says seeking external help in energy management has brought about noticeable benefits to the company, and not just financial.

“Thanks to the energy efficiency measures put in place by Energy Management, we have reduced our energy usage by 10.3 per cent over the last year.

“Energy Management assisted us with some upgrade works in our office space and in the workshop and warehouse as well as helping us negotiate the best possible deals with energy suppliers.

“Originally, we had standard light bulbs installed in high-level fittings that constantly needed changing and were troublesome to get to because of their location. We’ve since had LED lights fitted, which have a five-year lifespan, and less time is now spent on maintenance.”

Energy usage can amount to a third of a company’s overall bills, yet, in the experience of Energy Management CEO Retford, an engineer with over 25 years of industry experience, there are obvious areas where savings are achievable.

For example, as many as one in five invoices seen by Energy Management over the last two decades have been found to be inaccurate. These errors typically can result in an increase of 3-5 per cent of business energy bills.

“Invoice validation is one of our core services. Whether it’s down to inaccurate meter readings, wrongly applied correction and volume factors or CCL and VAT charges, customers often pay more than they should for their energy.  Our invoice validation service uses a thorough invoice-checking system that shines a light on any errors, so that action can be taken to recover any overcharges as quickly as possible.


Schools benefit from SPIE’s Energy Management initiatives – saving over £1 million in energy costs during first four years.

SPIE UK is delivering a high quality Facilities Maintenance (FM) service to over 70 schools in the UK across numerous private finance initiative (PFI) contracts. Located in the catchment areas of Scotland, Liverpool, Wirral, Salford, Manchester, Halton and Kirklees, West Yorkshire, these schools feature a range of facilities with energy management and improvement a priority. Already in the fifth year of 25-year term contracts, SPIE has saved many of these schools over £1 million in energy costs. These savings can be attributed to a bespoke, remotely managed energy monitoring and Building Management System (BMS).

SPIE combines energy performance and system controls, delivering a proactive approach that’s co-ordinated with our central team of engineering and energy experts. This expertise supports our operational teams at each facility, with Facilities Management (FM) services extending right across these diverse contracts – often covering infrastructure and asset management including caretakers, swimming pools, engineering systems, energy monitoring and building management systems. Our engineers work alongside a central team of energy experts to provide clients with proactive energy specialists who carry out daily checks, adjustments and problem solving across many of the school buildings. This information is then used to change or modify system operations accordingly to improve building energy performance, whilst also setting targets for future improvements.

Moreover, by closely aligning energy monitoring with BMS operations, our team can log performance, establish trends and quickly identify any operational issues that need to be resolved.

Many of the PFI school contracts also feature a range of performance management reporting and benchmarking tasks, carried out by our Central Engineering Team, working closely with our local maintenance teams. These include water consumption data collection, energy and water use analysis, weather monitoring, target setting, meter reading and ‘in use’ analysis reconciliation, as well as BMS monitoring & scheduling, plus site visits for audits and reviews of systems and buildings.

Sustainability-related benefits are being delivered across these PFI contracts, with improvement plans resulting. One contract in particular, representing eight high schools and a primary school, has saved 384 tonnes of CO2 over a two-year period (2012-14). This is the equivalent of a standard car driving nearly 900,000 miles.

There’s so much more that has yet to be achieved, including better connectivity to off-site monitoring, integration of expertise and reinvesting energy savings into new facilities. Our latest innovation features a plant refurbishment service that will improve life cycles, increase efficiency and minimise cost/operational disruption.


eSight Energy are named in Top 10 Energy Management Software Review

An independent review conducted by Business Energy highlights eSight Energy as one of the top 10 Energy Management Software Providers.

Within the review it is highlighted that eSight Energy is global therefore it is perfect for an international company as well as being ideal for smaller businesses as the software is scalable for those who cannot justify a large system.

Other aspects of the software highlighted are the web-based nature of eSight, meaning it can be accessed anywhere and its worldwide capabilities to work with multiple currencies and cultures.

The author, Alex Loijois, states that, “eSight directly converts a company’s consumption data into monetary units, making it easier to digest. One thing that really sets it apart is its ability to set up a revenue contract, which is meant to be used in tenant billing… A global company could probably take advantage of eSight’s international data focus.”

To read more please visit


BoilerMag Commercial Boiler Filters Save Hotel Heating Systems for County Durham Installers

County Durham based MPUK Mechanical Services Ltd has recently installed several BoilerMag XL commercial boiler filters in 2 large hotels in the UK.

At one hotel in York, the company was faced with two four year old 150 kw boilers, one of which had failed completely, and the other extremely inefficient and due to fail imminently. Both boilers were completely full of black sludge that had built up over a number of years as a result of being connected to the old heating system. Two brand new boilers were fitted, including two BoilerMag XLs.

At another hotel in Edinburgh, MPUK again installed a BoilerMag XL on a new 60KW boiler, housed in a boiler room and connected to a towel radiator circuit heating 40 of the hotel’s en-suite bathrooms.

Again, the heating system was heavily contaminated with black sludge and difficult to flush, but the company is confident that the BoilerMag XL filter will prevent contamination in the future, keeping the system free from sludge and working efficiently.

“When I receive plant room drawings or heating alterations, the BoilerMag XL is my filter of choice,” says MPUK Heating and Gas Director Wayne Peel. They are a very well made, solid unit, and you can feel the quality when unpacking them from the box. They are also very straight forward to install and reasonably priced.”

Plumbing and Renewables Director Alex McAlinden added: “I would 100% recommend this product to other installers and to the M&E consultant we work with. The BoilerMag XLs are easy to maintain and give installers and customers the assurance that their plant room boilers will be running at their full capacity under heavy use. We’ll be returning to the York hotel soon for a follow up, so it will be great to go back and see some positive results.”


Keep your energy supplier onside and avoid unexpected bills

Energy broker, Kevan Enticott, explains how to avoid the headache of unexpected energy bills for your business, and the consequences of not doing so for years to come.

The overriding reason for an unexpectedly high electricity or gas bill for a business, is a failure to provide any meter readings to the energy supplier, says Kevan.

If your energy supplier doesn’t receive meter readings for your premises, then they have no choice but to estimate the meter readings on every bill they send you. What happens if they underestimate your readings? Every month you allow them to do so, you are placing your business more and more in debt. Many businesses have come to us over the years with bills they are struggling to pay off because no meter readings have been provided for a year or more.

We don’t complain when the energy bills for our business are low

And here lies the problem. We don’t complain when energy bills are lower than expected. You may not even check the bill to ensure all is in order – although on receipt of a large bill we are straight on the phone to the supplier to see what is going on.

It is usually the months (or years) of smaller, underestimated bills that result in the large bill we call our energy company about. They have finally taken a meter reading, and this has resulted in a ‘catch up’ bill which is now putting pressure on your company finances.

There are no set rules to state whether the customer or supplier has the responsibility to take meter readings at a business premises. You cannot rely upon your energy company to chase you for a meter reading. Therefore, take ownership yourself and give your energy company regular meter readings.

Do you know if your energy bills are based on estimated readings?

A simple check of your electricity and gas bills when they arrive will avoid all these issues, saving you time, aggravation and money.

A bill based on estimated meter readings, should clearly highlighted on the first page. You can also check the page with the meter readings. An ‘E’ next to the reading will indicate an estimated reading.

The smart meter rollout

Most businesses are aware of the government smart meter rollout, to be completed by the end of 2020. These will instantly solve the issue of estimated bills.

However, it is not always that easy to get a smart meter installed. It can depend on the supplier and where in the country you are situated.

Some energy companies have started to contact customers to arrange smart meter installation for their business. They will generally target customers in a few areas of the country at a time. By waiting for your energy company to contact you, the installation will be free of charge. It depends on the supplier, but if you were contact them to request an installation, you can generally expect to be charged for it.

Please note that many suppliers are not yet installing smart meters for multi-rate meters. Or for three phase meters. It is also worth checking whether the smart meter you have asked for will be compatible with other suppliers. Some energy companies we have spoken to have advised that other suppliers will not be able to access the data on their smart meters – an issue if you want to switch to another supplier in the next year or two. Although in this situation they can still be read as a standard meter. When these suppliers start to install the next generation of smart meters, switching supplier will not be a problem.

Long-term consequences of estimated readings

Until you can get your hands on a smart meter, please ensure you provide regular meter readings to your energy supplier. Ideally every month, but at least quarterly. This forces your supplier to invoice your business up to that reading, ie. for the electricity or gas, you have used.

Failure to do so, could leave you in a lot of debt to your energy supplier, with further implications still. For example, at the end of your contract even if you find a better price with another company, your current supplier will object to the transfer if you owe them money.

A large debt can affect your credit rating, and therefore limit the suppliers who will offer you an energy contract. We have even seen cases where a company’s energy supplier has objected to the transfer away, but has also refused a fixed rate contract based on the poor credit score, leaving their customer on higher, out of contract rates.

For more advice, you can contact Kevan Enticott on 020 3372 6517.


About Perfect Clarity:

A leading UK independent business energy broker, businesses of all sizes use our free service to lower the price they pay for gas and electricity. Our buying power brings lower business gas and business electricity prices.


VMU-Y makes a piece of cake out of multi-site energy management

Carlo Gavazzi presents a no annual fee solution

For many organisations the key to successful energy monitoring is flexibility and as such a solution which provides the ability to monitor a single site or multiple sites and installations via a gateway is essential.

But the ability for this solution to be scalable is also a major benefit for companies large and small because it enables their energy management system to evolve with the company.   Carlo Gavazzi’s VMU-Y EM is one such solution providing all the benefits of a multi-site solution without ongoing costs.

The newly launched VMUY-EM enclosed in a compact 2-DIN module and allows the user to aggregate information from up to 10 VMU-C EM units within a single centralised interface. This effectively allows you to monitor up to 320 meters and access the information from any PC using a standard web browser with no recurrent annual fees.

All data can be viewed through the web browser which uses a highly interactive software interface, providing exportable data from selection of AC, DC and environmental variables in either xls or csv format.  Alarms and warnings are logged and automatically emailed allowing for immediate action.

Complete with an impressive 32GB on board data storage which is substantial enough to store up to 30 years of historical data.  To help minimise costs, VMU-Y allows estimations of the monthly costs based on the energy monitored which is calculated by its embedded dual tariff.

For more information regarding Carlo Gavazzi and its range of products, please visit the website:


User acceptance of the smart home

Global business communities have set energy efficiency as one of their major goals and building automation is a key factor in the drive for more sustainable energy use. Numerous related products and solutions already exist on the market, increasingly also for the smart home. However, although these solutions achieve enormous savings of up to 30 percent, they have not yet become well established among the general public. An important component is missing: user acceptance. Flexible, intuitive and automatic systems are needed to change this situation.

By Armin Anders, Vice President Business Development and co-founder, EnOcean GmbH

The much touted intelligent networking capability of the smart home currently founders on the fact that the automation solutions use different standards for individual disciplines, are manufacturer-specific and above all, wired solutions can only be upgraded with a great deal of effort. As a result, consumers find it difficult to choose the most suitable system from a highly fragmented assortment. Furthermore, until now, they have only rarely seen added value in a smart home, since the ideal coordination between the individual components, and thus the actual intelligence, is still lacking. This means that the smart home has not yet been widely accepted by the users.

Manufacturer-independent approach

The industry however is beginning to rethink its approach and increasingly, suppliers are finding ways to combine products, standards and disciplines into an integrated solution. This willingness to work together enables open systems that connect the products of different manufacturing partners. Customers can choose from a wide range of different solutions, all of which communicate with the same control unit. As a result, all components across all standards can be controlled with a single app.

Wireless makes for easy installation

Most consumers would like to be able to install a start-up system easily by themselves and therefore, more and more wireless systems are replacing classic cabled solutions. The solution is wireless technology, which makes it possible to flexibly place, network and upgrade the individual components. Even existing buildings can be upgraded with a minimum amount of effort and thus save complex conversion work. Modern solutions also work without batteries. “Energy harvesting” allows small energy converters to generate electricity for sensors, switches and actuators from the immediate surroundings, using movement, light and temperature differences as energy sources. These devices completely eliminate the onerous and frequently impracticable need to change batteries.

Multifunctional, self-learning solutions

The products are further developing with the use of modern technologies such as energy harvesting wireless technology with the goal of achieving high user acceptance. Thus, solar-based wireless sensors can now map different functions and simultaneously measure temperature, brightness and moisture in a room.

Such multifunctional sensors often form part of self-learning systems that automatically adapt to the users’ living habits as well as to various parameters. A great example of this is an intelligent individual room solution, in which a sensor detects the current room temperature as well as the presence of people. As a result, the solar-operated sensor identifies the times at which a room is used over the long term and automatically generates an individual usage profile. The sensor sends this information wirelessly to an energy-autonomous, thermostatic radiator valve, which regulates the room temperature according to demand.

Intelligence makes for real added value

Advanced systems use special algorithms in the central controller. These algorithms process the data of the sensors distributed throughout the home as well as information available elsewhere, such as online weather data, in order to adapt the entire automation system to the individual habits of the people living in the home as well as changing external factors. Linking the different parameters and disciplines gives the users significant added value. They benefit from substantial energy savings and comfort functions that adapt to their individual needs without the users having to surrender control.

Data protection

Cloud platforms now exist that integrate the different applications for controlling lighting, heating or blinds, together with energy harvesting wireless sensors, actuators and mobile devices. In this case as well, the system processes all data in real time, takes the building properties into account and processes complex automation scenarios in the cloud background, depending on the situation.

Even with all this intelligence, data must still be protected. To keep the personal information secure, control centres transmit the data in encrypted form. Users can also determine at any time whether and which data they want to store in the cloud and which data should be stored locally in the home’s control centre.

Free choice for real smart homes

These manufacturer-independent systems give the user a free choice of products, and the central controller converts the complexity of the different technologies into easy and intuitive operation. Thanks to energy harvesting wireless technology, the sensors are maintenance-free, easy to install, can be relocated at any time and be upgraded at a later date. The result is a true smart home that seamlessly integrates comfort, energy savings and security into everyday life without requiring the user to deal with technology.