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We caught up with Sam Mudie, Energy Officer at the University of Reading, to find out how Park Eat & Bar eliminated 872 kWh of energy in just two months.
Introducing the University of Reading
At the University, we’re committed to tackling climate change and reducing our impact on the environment, with a goal to achieve net zero by 2030. We’re always on the lookout for new technology to help us achieve this target.
As Energy Officer, I’m responsible for delivering the University’s carbon management plan, looking at what initiatives we should invest in, like small power reduction and heat decarbonisation.
Improving energy use data
I’ve spent the last 10 years monitoring energy consumption using traditional clamp meters on distribution boards, sometimes with 4G modems to allow some remote access to the data. Despite being a good way of collecting data, these have their fair share of issues:
- Data gets corrupted, is inaccessible or simply won’t download.
- Issues with data aren’t flagged so you’re unaware of problems until you download data at the end of the study – then you’ve lost your window for monitoring.
- You physically have to go collect the data and turn devices on and off, which during the pandemic was impossible and is still difficult now due to hybrid working.
Taking these into account, we started to look for a solution that would allow us to measure carbon emissions at a device level, give us remote access and report our savings. It was also important that we could have full control over plugged in devices, easily turning them on and off at set times.
And that’s when we found measurable.energy.
Getting set up
To test the viability of the system, we were keen to install measurable.energy’s plug sockets in Park Eat, our campus-based bar and café. We initially completed an in-house site audit, picking the locations of our sockets, including our bottle fridges and communal charging areas. Once our electrician installed these and they were connected to the Wi-Fi, we started collecting data right away!
Using the dashboard
Being able to control the sockets remotely and access data at any time via the dashboard is just incredible! The team also love the ability to compare data from different time periods – perfect for highlighting our savings.
The ability to set permissions depending on what access people need has been a game changer. Like any new technology, there were concerns about security and people accidentally turning off sockets, but the team were reassured with all the safeguards in place.
We’ve even downloaded our data and shown it on our TV screens to shout about our carbon reductions and explain that the lights on the sockets show carbon intensity. We’re hoping this will drive behavioural change, to get people thinking about when to plug in their devices.
In just two months, we’ve eliminated 872 kWh of small power waste – equivalent to charging 58,075 mobile phones.
We’ve also prevented 148kg of carbon emissions, which is the same as two tree seedlings taking in carbon over 10 years.
*Calculated using savings from rulesets, monitoring and verification.
Expanding use of the system
After seeing the impressive savings we’ve made, we’re looking to roll out the measurable.energy system across the University. Our next step will be to tackle devices with a continuous load that never get turned off or are hard to access, like projectors and water chillers. We’re even considering integrating the technology with our room booking software, to turn off sockets when meetings and teaching aren’t taking place.
My advice to businesses
Focus on small power! It gets overlooked way too often and adds up to be a huge problem. Unlike more expensive sustainability solutions, small power can give a quick return on investment, especially when you target key areas.
Always think about what you have the capacity to deliver and control and consider your long-term goals. Most importantly, do the right thing for the planet!
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