Improving outcomes and influencing behaviour using data

November 10, 2017   By Haydn Scarborough, Business Development Director, Engie

Data is a powerful tool. Technology and digitalisation are playing a growing role in the delivery of improved service efficiency by linking data from a variety of sources. For councils, harnessing meaningful data and turning it into actionable outcomes can help deliver more efficient, vibrant and sustainable communities.

Leeds City Council is a forward thinking council that is reaping the benefits of meaningful data; reducing cost, carbon and consumption and creating savings that can be reinvested back into its communities. In 2014, the council wanted to achieve better value for money in its energy purchasing across its large and diverse estate. It also sought to update its energy procurement methods so that it could benefit from lower prices in the fluctuating wholesale markets. As well as reducing the cost of energy purchased, the council aimed to reduce the volume of electricity consumed across its premises to help achieve its carbon-reduction targets. The council entered into a collaborative partnership with ENGIE which enabled it to save around 10% on its overall gas and electricity costs in the first year.

Beyond this cost efficiency, intelligent energy-management software is helping the council to keep track of usage across its portfolio and to act quickly to tackle energy wastage or inefficiency. C3NTINEL analyses and compares data across 3,000 meter points to benchmarks and similar sites, and produces spreadsheets, charts and reports on energy use across the entire portfolio. This data is proactively monitored by ENGIE’s bureau team, and mapped against expected usage based on floor area, building type and historic trends. The council also accesses the data daily on a secure online platform. The software has learning algorithms that enables it to create expected usage profiles for each property, taking into account factors like the weather, ambient temperature and other variables. If the system identifies anomalies or any usage that falls outside accepted tolerances, it raises an alert with the council. This enables the council to quickly notify the site concerned and investigate the issue. There could be many reasons for the anomaly, from meter or equipment faults, to changes in behaviour or working patterns at the site, or new equipment being installed. With hundreds of sites to monitor, these anomalies in energy usage would never previously have been spotted.

For example, a school was identified as having a very consistent data profile over two years and experienced a sudden spike in consumption. It was discovered that a new cleaning contractor had started the day of this spike. Instead of turning the lights on and off in each room as they cleaned, all lights were turned on across the building at the beginning and switched off at the end of the shift. The insight from C3NTINEL allowed the council to address the issue immediately.

“Our relationship with ENGIE is quite different to traditional supplier-customer relationships. It’s much more of a collaboration, a partnership. We’re open to new ideas, we trust each other, and we work together to develop initiatives that will achieve our energy-related goals.” Peter Leighton-Jones, Senior Project Officer, Leeds City Council.

If you would like to discuss how ENGIE is using data to help councils create more efficient, vibrant and sustainable communities, please get in touch at haydn.scarborough@engie.com or on +44 (0)7976 428 663.

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