Public Sector: What are the best ways to monitor energy in 2024?
As we head towards the end of 2023, many UK organisations are starting to plan how they will monitor their energy efficiently in 2024, reduce their consumption and develop their sustainability strategies. It’s important to reflect on the past year, analyse which energy efficiency measures have worked and use data to identify which solutions to implement.
With the unprecedented rise in energy prices throughout 2023, organisations are now more aware of the importance of having an effective energy monitoring system to be able to accurately measure energy consumption, reduce energy costs, achieve their sustainability goals, and have the data to back this up.
What have been the key energy monitoring trends in 2023?
Breaking Energy suggests that 2023 focused on improving technology, smart grid infrastructure and autonomous energy systems to help enable data granularity. This is a fundamental step in helping businesses reduce their carbon emissions and energy consumption.
Overall, the main trend has been the level of focus that energy consumption has had at the board level. Previously it has never really been a C-suite concern, but now, due to the costs and external pressure to decarbonise, more companies and individuals are making this a business priority. This has meant that there is an increased need for data capture and analysis.
The importance of monitoring energy for public sector organisations
The public sector is one of the UK’s highest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Department for Energy Security and Net-Zero, the government is looking to reduce public sector emissions by 75% by 2037, against a 2017 baseline.
Many public sector organisations are finding new ways to monitor their energy effectively and identify savings opportunities. To help public sector organisations achieve this, the government has committed to producing guidance on emissions monitoring and reporting for the sector.
Two of the biggest contributors to the public sector emissions are hospitals and universities, due to their size and unique energy requirements. Hospitals and universities have huge pressures to reduce the amount of energy consumption they’re using. According to the British Medical Association, the health service contributes to around 4-5% of total UK carbon emissions and the NHS in England alone is responsible for 40% of the public sector’s emissions. Data from 537 institutions revealed that more than 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from universities, contributes to around 2.3% of the UK’s overall carbon footprint.
The government is looking to provide more grants and funding to help public sector organisations reduce their heating emissions. The NHS has committed to reach net-zero for emissions directly under their own control by 2040.
So – what should you be focusing on next year? As an Energy Manager, what can you do to take your energy monitoring to the next level in 2024?
Data analysis & reporting: Market Intelligence
Market Intelligence is something public sector organisations must carry out to gather and analyse energy bill information. Are you keeping on top of the market trend history? Are you tracking data on a quarterly, monthly, and even daily basis? Are you accurately calculating the Non-Commodity Cost elements of your bills to ensure you’re not being overcharged? Are you aware of the latest regulation and compliance policies that have come into place for your industry? If you answered no to any of these questions, intelligence should be at the forefront of your energy monitoring strategy next year.
Education: Share the knowledge & get data granularity
Public sector organisations are looking at new ways of being more sustainable and thinking about their carbon efforts. But sharing that knowledge is even more powerful. Are all your staff or students aware of the impact they’re having on the environment and how they are contributing to the organisation’s carbon footprint? Are you encouraging carbon-saving actions and behaviours such as walking or cycling instead of driving and going digital instead of printing? Educate your workforce and community.
2023 saw a rise in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting becoming a board-level requirement. Many energy managers are now expected to have reports and presentations to showcase to C-Suite directors to identify their sustainability achievements. Having accurate energy data and the systems in place to measure this is key to ESG reporting to provide insight into what needs to be done in the future and deliver accurate ESG disclosure reports.
Integrating finance with energy
Many organisations have their own finance systems with their own data, which requires information being collected and exported from the energy management software and placed into the finance system. This task is often done manually, but it would be more efficient to have the platforms in one place to interlink all the departments to have more streamlined reporting. SystemsLink offers several API integrating options with finance systems, to ensure that your finance teams can access the information they require all in one place, which will streamline your energy monitoring and purchasing.
IT departments are facing rising pressures to ensure their systems are secure from phishing, and hacking, and making sure that the data is protected. Some organisations do not yet have their energy data cloud hosted. SystemsLink offers a cloud-hosted version of Energy Manager for customers, ensuring fast performance and security of data.
Don’t forget about your water usage
With gas and electricity being the main utility focus for most organisations due to the costs associated, water is often overlooked. For 2024, organisations should also be prioritising water management services to help them reduce costs even further. SystemsLink water services include a monitoring software package, water procurement and forensic cost audits, as well as leak detection – all of these are crucial to building a water management strategy, as part of your overall net-zero plan.
Reap the advantages of monitoring your energy effectively in 2024
Becoming more conscious of how your organisation monitors energy and implementing up-to-date energy management software will help to provide you with clear insight into what action your organisation needs to take to keep your energy and carbon reduction plans on track. We can provide you with the market intelligence you need with our various apps.
SDG.me app is a great way of recording carbon-saving actions, protecting the environment, creating a healthy society, and ultimately achieving net-zero goals. The SDG.me app dashboard allows you to focus directly on what you could be doing, not just as an organisation but as an individual too. Circuit Level Monitoring is also a great way to gain deeper data visibility of all your sites’ energy usage and can easily identify wastage and save unnecessary costs of overconsumption. Are you tracking all your meters? Are you monitoring at a sub-meter level for granularity? Are you collecting data half-hourly?
Market Eye allows you to view and export up to two years of market trend history, including Day Ahead insights as well as months, quarters, and seasons. SystemsLink offers a non-commodity cost estimator, providing insight into non-energy charges as well as an ICON news service, for up-to-date information about energy compliance and environmental regulation. These tools should provide you with the market intelligence you need to make informed budgeting decisions.
If you’d like to speak to SystemsLink’s experts about your business requirements, send an email to email@example.com or call 01234 988 855.