By 2020 utilities companies must install 53 million smart meters across UK homes and businesses and while there is evidence to suggest that they do help to save costs, for example, a Uswitch poll showed that 52% are seeing their energy bills lower, due to the installation of a smart meter in their home, there is still a huge question mark over how beneficial they really are.
Smart meters are designed to provide energy consumption information in a far more user–friendly way and ensure that you are only ever charged for the power that you use. As well as replacing your outside meter you typically get a device to keep in your home or business so that you can understand energy usage. In essence, their purpose is to avoid the issue of inaccurate billing and estimated bills.
So while smart meters bring energy monitoring into the 21st century they only form a very small part of a much bigger picture in what’s possible to make your business more energy efficient. With traditional working practices changing and a growing remote workforce, it is smart automated control systems that are increasingly being seen as a valuable tool to help address growing sustainability challenges and reduce costs.
Zoned heating and lighting solutions that can be controlled through an intelligent control system are an ideal way to make buildings more efficient by reducing energy consumption. Just like homes, there are parts of your business premises that spend large amounts of time unoccupied and therefore don’t need lighting or heating until they are in use.
Intelligent zoned control systems can set heating and lighting to be switched on for when the first person arrives in the morning to the last to leave at night. Similarly, you can programme in your schedule so meeting rooms are only heated and lit for the duration that they are booked. And there is no need to worry if the rooms will be at the correct temperature as the control system already has this covered.
A heating control system can help you to maximise efficiency by maintaining the heat at each individual radiator and simultaneously reducing your bills by up to a third! Smart heating and lighting control can be used across a wide range of business scenarios including retail, hotels and manufacturing to name but a few. Thinking beyond reducing energy bills smart energy control can also help you to spot spikes and detect any unusual activity for example if your building is being used outside normal operational hours and if so why.
In summary, while there is a lot to like about smart meters and they will certainly make you more aware of your energy consumption the reality is that are many more ways to achieve energy efficiencies than simply installing a smart meter.
By Liam Parker, managing director of Quest End