Energy Targets FAQ

In May 2011, the University Operating Board approved a set of individual targets for Schools and Directorates aimed at reducing electricity consumption during non-operational periods (11.00pm – 6.00am).  All Schools and Directorates have now received their targets.

The targets have been set by determining the level of avoidable electricity wastage in each department and using energy weightings to allow for different types of space.

This FAQ section is intended to provide managers and budget holders with more information about the targets. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Energy Manager at a.schmidt@qub.ac.uk

How was the level of avoidable electricity wastage determined for each Department?
What about buildings which are occupied by more than one Department?

How is electricity usage apportioned between different occupants in one building?

What about the common areas within buildings with multiple occupants?

Have energy weightings been used to allow for different types of space?

How can I find out what energy is being used and assess whether usage is in line with target?

What arrangements will be made for new buildings or those subject to changes of use?

When will the rewards / penalties scheme take affect?

What is the current price of electricity?

What can I do to save energy?

How was the level of avoidable electricity wastage determined for each department?

To enable the level of avoidable waste to be more accurately determined, information has been gathered on energy consumption in a broad range of University buildings and space types using baseline assessments.  This involved teams of Estates staff entering buildings during periods of controlled inactivity, and identifying and switching off any unnecessary equipment.  Electrical load measurements were taken at the start and end of the assessment period to enable the amount of wasted electricity to be determined.

To date, baseline assessments have shown that, with intensive effort, electrical consumption in some buildings during non-operational hours can be reduced by as much as 60%.

What about buildings which are occupied by more than one Department?

For buildings which are shared by several Departments, the usage of that building is shared between all the occupants on a pro-rata basis according to the floor area and the energy intensity of the space occupied.

How is electricity usage apportioned between different occupants in one building?

The floor area occupied by each Department is known as these figures are reviewed every year by Estates in conjunction with Schools and Directorates. The usage is then shared on a pro-rata basis and weighted to reflect energy intensity.

What about the common areas within buildings with multiple occupants?

The usage relating to these areas will be included within the total for the building and will therefore be shared between the occupants on a pro-rata basis.

Have energy weightings been used to allow for different types of space?

Yes. The University has approximately 19,000 spaces, with each space falling into one of 179 space type descriptions as classified in the Estates Property Database (EPD).  In turn, each space type description has been categorised according to energy intensity.  This is a metric used to quantify the comparative level of energy consumption as a result of the nature of the operation occurring in each space. This has enabled unique targets to be established for Schools and Directorates based on the composition of the occupied space.

How can I find out what energy is being used and assess whether usage is in line with target?

To enable the provision of robust end user information, over 300 electricity sub-meters have been installed since January 2010.  This will increase as fiscal meters are replaced by half hour meters, thus enabling a consistent approach to be applied in the provision of profiled data to Schools and Directorates.

All meters are linked to a web application designed to gather information from various systems to provide a Carbon Management Report giving information on energy consumption for each School and Directorate.  This enables budget holders in each operational unit to routinely monitor their energy consumption, with a view to identification and reduction of waste.

The first phased release of information occurred in February 2011 with the final phase released in April 2011.  Around 30 representatives from Schools and Directorates have been trained in the use of the application and any suggestions made in relation to the format or presentation of the information have been incorporated.

The application is updated by Estates staff on a weekly basis and can be accessed and interrogated by budget holders via Sharepoint at any time.

What arrangements will be made for new buildings or those subject to changes of use?

Baselines and targets will be adjusted to take account of the expected usage from new buildings. These adjustments will be made by Estates based on past experience of the energy performance of similar buildings.

Adjustments may also be made where there is a significant change of use, such as a refurbishment project in which lecture rooms are converted to laboratories, for example.  However, such adjustments will be considered on a case by case basis and should not altogether remove the incentive for using electricity efficiently from the Department.

When will the rewards / penalties scheme take affect?

This part of the scheme is currently under development and will be applied from 2012-13 following approval by the University Operating Board and the Carbon Management Plan Steering Group.

What is the current price of electricity?

In 20010/11 the average price paid for electricity worked out to be 12.5p/kWh.

What can I do to save energy?
The first thing to do is to find out who your Department’s ‘Environmental Champion’ is.  A list of Environmental Champions is available here or contact carbonmanagement@qub.ac.uk.  Environmental Champions have received training and advice on reducing energy.

General good housekeeping advice is available here.  In addition, the following suggestions may also be helpful in certain situations:

  • Review the settings on any locally controlled heating or cooling. In cooling mode the temperature set point should be at the highest acceptable level (recommend 25 °C), while heating should be set to the lowest and in any case no higher than 19°C.  Time controls should be set to minimise the running hours.
  • When purchasing replacement lamps, look for and specify only the most energy efficient alternatives. 
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (the typical ‘energy saving light bulb’) are now available for most applications as replacements for traditional tungsten GLS light bulbs. Dimmable versions are now also available. 
  • LEDs are now available as replacement for tungsten halogens 
  • When purchasing any other equipment or appliances, try to look at the energy use and select the most energy efficient option. This is quite easy with many white goods such as fridges and freezers which will have an energy label. Photocopiers should have a short warm up time so that the sleep mode can be utilised without causing annoyance. 
  • Encourage the correct operation of fume cupboards, lowering the sash when not in active use 
  • Review the use of refrigerators for storing scientific samples. A small number of full fridges will use less energy than a large number of almost empty fridges 
  • Check that autoclaves are working correctly 
  • Look out for leaks of compressed air 
  • Talk to your IT Officer to see what energy saving features can be enabled on your PCs, such as automatically going into sleep or hibernate modes.
  • Consider involving the cleaners in your building. If they are often the last people in certain areas of a building,  then they can help ensure that lights are turned off. 
  • Fit time controls to the vending machines (though it is sensible to check with the manufacturer before doing this) 
  • Consider having automatic lighting controls fitted in areas where lights tend to be left on when they are unoccupied. Estates can help advise on this.