Lack of tools hinders building energy savings – survey

No matter how enthusiastic facilities managers are about cutting energy, many are “cautious” about energy reduction targets and feel hindered by a lack of tools. A recent survey by the […]

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By Vicky Ellis

No matter how enthusiastic facilities managers are about cutting energy, many are “cautious” about energy reduction targets and feel hindered by a lack of tools.

A recent survey by the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) and the National Energy Foundation (NEF) flags up some worrying statistics.

It suggests those in charge of buildings’ energy use still lack metering and monitoring tools to establish accurate baselines and track their progress.

A massive majority (90%) of respondents knew their yearly energy costs – but that still suggests one in 10 don’t.

What’s more, only half knew how the buildings were performing compared to their design and nearly a third weren’t comparing the buildings’ performance over time.

While 40% of respondents said they used Building Management Systems, monthly consumption data was still the primary data tool available for most FM professionals to manage their energy use.

“Technology” was cited as the most important factor in improving the use of energy by nearly half of respondents, closely followed by “behaviour” in the survey.

Offsetting and certification was seen as having the most limited impact.

Kerry Mashford, CEO of NEF said: “FM professionals are uniquely placed to tackle the gap between predicted and actual energy performance in buildings but are constrained by a lack of access to the scope and quality of data they need.

“This barrier persists, hampering both comparison over time and external benchmarking initiatives”.

Lucy Black, Chair of BIFM’s Sustainability Special Interest Group added: “The survey highlighted a sophisticated understanding of the interplay of technology, behaviour and processes in achieving energy savings. However there could and should be more aggressive targeting to achieve energy improvements.”