Finding software capable of delivering the data management needs of the CRC is becoming energy managers’ quest for the Holy Grail.
And in the absence of a one-size-fits-all system, many companies are persisting with Excel, which was last week was branded “not fit for purpose” for carbon management.
The CRC Energy Efficiency Summit heard from energy managers of large organisations and small-to-medium firms who were all looking for – and failing to find – a system to log and then forecast their carbon use.
And even when energy managers recognise that their systems are insufficient and pinpoint a potential solution, they run into a brick wall when it comes to getting senior management sign-off on buying a carbon software package.
David Metcalfe, director of sustainability analyst Verdantix, said: “There is a huge disconnect between the executive team and functional managers. We have got to upgrade out approach to data management.” He said Excel would be “very difficult” to use for forecasting and warned of the dangers of “Barry who has done the Excel spreadsheets for the last 12 years leaving the company and wiping his hard drive”.
“Based on the research we have done, it is obvious that Excel is not fit for purpose.”
The conference heard that Sellafield was one company still carrying out its carbon data management on Excel, and appeals to upgrade to more tailored software had been rebuffed on cost issues.
Even Tesco is still looking for an elusive carbon data package. “We have found nothing that really fits the bill,” said the group’s senior energy buyer James Summerbell.
A reason why suitable software was proving hard to find was put forward by Tony Rooke, sustainability leader for Logica: “Most of the software is only just catching up with how the CRC is changing. So it’s not necessarily the fault of the software.”
However, he added that at the moment, “there is not anything that matches all of the requirements”.