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How FM can help you ‘Go Green’

In this article we will be discussing how FM can help you to go green. This is a huge topic so this will be a high-level snapshot of some of the key drivers and areas where improvements can be made relatively quickly to get you on the road to becoming a more sustainable business.

Why do we need to act? 

We are reminded daily of the negative effects of climate change. This affects us all whether it is the melting ice caps in the Antarctic, bush fires in Australia or if we look a little closer to home, summer flooding and depleting coast lines. It is something that most people are concerned about, whether that’s lowering our individual carbon footprint or improving our environmental impact to benefit future generations.

There is also the need to adhere to and meet new government guidelines and legislation as well as the good business sense it makes to be leading the way in creating sustainable business strategies that make a positive impact as opposed to be part of the problem. 

Legal Requirements 

There are several legal requirements that we need to be aware of and include in our sustainability planning including those mentioned below.

Climate Change Act 2008 – Through the Climate Change Act, the UK government has set a target to significantly reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a path to get there. 

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme – ESOS is a mandatory scheme applying to undertakings that meet the qualification criteria. The scheme is aimed at large undertakings and their corporate groups. A large undertaking is identified based on its number of employees or financial information relating to its turnover and balance sheet. Smaller undertakings that are part of a corporate group may be mandated to participate in ESOS if another group member qualifies for the scheme. A large undertaking is one that employs at least 250 people or has an annual turnover more than £50 million and a balance sheet in excess of £43 million. As an example, Derwent fm are part of a larger group and are fully aware of the energy savings opportunity scheme (ESOS) for large undertakings in the UK. We are therefore committed to meeting the requirements of ISO 50001 and ESOS.

Failure to be compliant with this legislation could lead to significant fines which obviously is not very good for your reputation as a business. 

Energy management systems (EnMS)

Before developing the (EnMS), it is important to identify the scope and boundaries. This will include an understanding of the activities that are undertaken by the organisation and the facilities that are used. Energy uses should be considered when determining the scope of the management system. Dependent on the structure, size and makeup of the business, boundaries should be identified to highlight those sites/locations/activities where energy performance can be influenced. We can only influence the energy that we control and are responsible for.

Scope and boundaries 

The first step is to identify the scope and boundaries. This will include an understanding of the activities that are undertaken by the organisation and the facilities that are used. Energy uses should be considered when determining the scope of the management system, for example, we’ve looked at things like having a full fleet of EV’s by 2025. We aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 by introducing an electric fleet and installing electric charging points on all sites where vehicles will be used. We’re also installing electric equipment to replace gas items and utilising 100% environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Energy Policy

Once you’ve identified your boundaries we can progress onto the next steps. 

The energy policy is an integral part of the EnMS, which will not only highlight your senior management’s commitment to support and continually improve the effectiveness of the EnMS, but it will also highlight their commitment to improving energy performance, ensuring availability of information and resources to achieve objectives and targets set and complying with legal, customer and third part requirements. 

In addition, the policy will highlight the significant energy uses and the support for purchasing energy efficient products and services. To give an example, we have a student-based app with a “Be Green” section to help educate and encourage students to be more sustainable, preparing them for energy saving opportunities beyond student life whilst also contributing to energy savings in their student halls.

Baseline Data

To be able to improve energy performance, we must first establish the energy usage between a specific period for each type of energy used, whether electricity, gas or fuel and in what capacity this is used. This is known as baseline data, which we can then use to identify Energy Performance Indicators (EnPIs). These can then be used to support the effective continuous improvement of the EnMS. 

Baseline data, such as gas and electricity, can be gathered from several different sources and in several different ways. This can be from analysing the energy bills or sub-meter readings for an area or equipment. It is also possible to gather estimated energy consumption by obtaining the power rating in watts and the time spent in use. For example, a current in-house target is to reduce our fuel consumption for all sites by 2% over the coming year. We have established a baseline for this by collating mileage data for all our company cars based on company-issued fuel cards. This data will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of reduction initiatives e.g. company-sponsored cycle to work schemes and car sharing.

EnPIs are used to assess the actual energy performance against an expected outcome. This can vary depending on the operation and are selected by the organisation. For instance, Derwent fm have chosen an EnPI of energy consumption per unit of floor area plus energy consumption per person. Should the business activities change which would affect the relevance of the EnPIs, then these should be reviewed and updated accordingly. Just as an example we’ve been able to decrease our head office usage by 49% overall. 

Energy Performance Review 

When performing the energy review, it is beneficial to have the baseline data collated within an energy performance spreadsheet or similar. From here a review of the types of energy, type/name of equipment, power rating and energy consumption period whether weekly, monthly, or annually. 

This will allow for identification of the significant energy uses and be able to identify what equipment uses the most energy. This can be taken from either method detailed above regarding actual data from energy bills/sub meters or from estimates used by considering the equipment specification and time in use.

Energy Saving Opportunities 

Where energy savings can be influenced by having direct control of the asset or energy consumption, practical savings can be adopted such as replacing light bulbs to LED which last longer and are very low energy consumers and solar glazing. This is being planned with our customers with a view to both reducing their carbon footprints and their utility spends, with savings estimated at £125,000 across our customer portfolio.

Derwent fm are approaching energy savings through procurement and life cycle management plans. As a business we inform our supply chain that energy performance will be evaluated when selecting products, services or equipment that may impact on any significant energy use. By adopting this approach, we hope to change behaviour and culture regarding energy consumption, and it aligns to our energy policy. Across our sites we have managed to achieve a 5% decrease in our total energy consumption from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021 so far.

If you would like to know more about how your facilities management can positively contribute to your business’s environmental and sustainability goals, please visit our website.

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