Cutting energy bills is an incentive for any business, but generating revenue from surplus power is even better. Nicholas Newman explores the intricacies of demand-side response. Almost a fifth of UK businesses spend more than £250,000 a year on energy, according to the Daily Telegraph and YouGov business energy survey last October. One big customer alone paid £120 million. These already large amounts energy bills are expected to rise over the next few years to pay for the National Grid’s continuing transmission capacity enhancements.
Despite such costs, 46 per cent of business managers don’t know how their firms use energy, says the survey. But advanced technological kits can provide precise real-time data on energy use– the first step in understanding how to reduce energy consumption and use it efficiently. Meanwhile, the falling cost of installing and operating renewable energy technology and storage offers the potential to slash bills, but also turn what was once a cost into a new revenue stream as a result of selling surplus energy back to the grid.
Even for a dedicated energy manager, keeping track of fluctuations in cost can be time-consuming. But being able to do so can provide significant energy-efficiency savings, improve site resilience, cut power bills and generate new income streams. This is where real-time automated building energy management systems, known as computer-based control systems, monitors and controls all aspects of a building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as heating, ventilation and lighting.