Rethinking energy use versus energy supply

CIBSE, David Fisk, president
Greening a profligate economy — David Fisk.

With meeting the demand for energy being so expensive, CIBSE president David Fisk has stressed the economic sense of persuading clients to focus on reducing their energy bills by making building services in their buildings perform better. Speaking at the CIBSE conference associated with the recent Building Services exhibition, Prof. Fisk highlighted the £3000 cost per kilowatt of output for building a new nuclear power station.

He told delegates, ‘You can’t green upstream of a profligate economy. The numbers just don’t add up,’ as he challenged them to consider how relatively little it costs to reduce energy consumption.

‘Managing energy in buildings is the low-hanging fruit,’ he said. ‘But although we know how much our kit costs, we do not know how much it saves. We need to reduce that uncertainty so as to be able to convince others.’

Help is available, however, with benchmarking technology developed by CIBSE. He also referred to the proven benefits of Display Energy Certificates as a successful concept that is largely underpinned by the work of CIBSE experts.

His question to delegates was, ‘Isn’t the real issue at the heart of everything engineering management? If you can’t manage energy, nothing else falls into place.’

Looking back to his presidential address urging a return to ‘normal engineering’ David Fisk said that he was please with the response to his theme and generally ‘keeping it simple’. ‘Things were getting so complex that it was getting difficult to do normal engineering.’

He referred to the difficulties experience by the Department for Transport in awarding new franchise for running train services and problems suffered by banks in updating legacy systems. ‘That sort of complexity has crept into building services. For example, we need to run workshops about what zero carbon means in the term zero-carbon buildings before we can even begin to try to meet the Government’s objectives.’

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