With an annual utility budget rising to £2.1m in 2008, effective energy management had become a key priority for Cardiff Metropolitan University.
That year, the University implemented a five-year plan to reduce energy and water consumption from improved housekeeping – not only in response to rising energy costs but also to meet the Welsh Government target for public sector bodies to reduce CO2 emissions by 3% per annum.
‘The automatic monitoring and targeting system that we’ve installed has enabled a more holistic approach which has delivered worthwhile reductions in utility consumption across all of our buildings,’ explained Paul Manley, energy manager at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
He added: ‘Having studied our results, I cannot think of a more cost-effective way of reducing our utility bills and CO2 emissions.’
The five-year strategy and implementation plan was developed in conjunction with Carbon Trust Wales to maximise the return on investment of £330,000 of ring-fenced funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) in automatic monitoring and targeting (aM&T) technology.
Carbon Trust Wales energy efficiency surveys confirmed that the University’s approach had been successful as many buildings were identified as operating at or better than ‘best practice’ benchmarks.
Data from more than 200 meters is collected and transmitted via the University’s own data network to an on-site server where it is stored and exported to an external web visualisation server to facilitate the display of half-hourly energy data online. This data is used to generate monthly reports for key managers throughout the organisation who are each responsible for meeting annual reduction targets in their areas of responsibility. Regular review meetings are held with them to highlight the opportunities for improvement and to suggest practical ways in which these can be addressed. By partnering with a local energy management company, the University secured additional specialist support for the aM&T infrastructure and the ability to influence behaviour change whilst maintaining good interdepartmental relationships.
The installation phase
The installation of sub-meters and automatic meter reading equipment was completed over two years in two phases:
Phase 1 – Installation of automatic meter reading to existing sub-meters and provision of aM&T software as a pilot study for the Welsh HE sector (£42,000)
Phase 2 – installation of additional submeters and aM&T equipment (£248,000).
The learning outcomes for the installation phase were:
âœ¥ Maintain your own copy of historical data even if you outsource data collection.
âœ¥ Teamwork between aM&T provider, IT, data, mechanical and electrical contractors is essential.
âœ¥ Adopt a referencing system for identifying individual meters and keep good records.
âœ¥ Ensure correct meter pulse values are used _ benchmarking of consumption data against floor area can provide a useful check. Select meter types with good levels of accuracy.