Building-services manufacturers look to encourage energy efficiency
Convincing boards — Mike Lawrence
A new group has been set up by the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) to stimulate the use of energy-equipment. The Energy Reduction Group is chaired by Mike Lawrence from the British Refrigeration Association. He says, ‘As building-services manufacturers, we are well aware of the costs involved in running our equipment. On average, refrigeration and air conditioning represent 20% of a building’s electrical load Consequently, the industry has made available a wide selection of energy-efficient products and systems that can satisfy the comfort requirements of a building’s occupiers, while ensuring that energy-consumption levels are kept to a minimum. Take up by the end-user, however, has not been encouraging.’ ERG believes that the reason lies in conflicting cultures. A major cause is often that energy-efficient equipment is often slightly more expensive than less-efficient products. There is a mix of business cultures with separate interests and which find it difficult to accommodate the needs of one another. At one end of the construction chain, the priority of ‘major works’ is to complete projects at the lowest costs. The energy manager then has to try to rein back energy consumption. ‘The only point at which budgets come together,’ says Mike Lawrence, is at board level, and that means educating the financial director, managing director and chairman.’ To achieve this, ERG plans to encourage a culture change by motivating boards to develop holistic procedures that will optimise company energy behaviour, thereby reducing the size of their carbon footprint. ‘Many people at the top of large retail and property companies have already indicated their support for the CO2 reduction policies. To assist them, we are planning to organise seminars for board members to demonstrate ways in which their business systems can be adapted so that greater energy efficiency is encouraged throughout their enterprises,’ says Mike Lawrence.