Too many organisations focus on the unit cost of energy rather than their consumption of it. It is considered a cost, rather than a service.

But careful energy control will show a significant impact on an organisations bottom line; its carbon footprint; by becoming more appealing and greener; by being perceived as fore runners; and as a major contributor to its Corporate Social Responsibility.

If energy is viewed as a service in the same way as IT or facilities management, for example, the sooner the advantages of maximising the use of that service will be appreciated, rather than simply buying it cheaper.

A ridiculous amount of energy is wasted every year – heating empty rooms!

Using energy only when it is required, monitoring its use and effective procurement simply adds up to good business sense. The student accommodation sector could be saving millions of pounds simply by using more efficient methods of energy control.

Using smarter technology cuts waste and enables the monitoring and management of living environments more than ever before. But, while developers and builders aim to yield maximum profits by installing the minimum requirement of control, it is up to Energy Managers to demand that buildings use the minimum amount of energy necessary.

Building Energy Management Systems (BeMS) make the control of equipment and their efficient use easier. For airports, hospitals and other complex buildings BeMS are a necessity. However, where there isn’t such complexity or the need to control heavy mechanical equipment, a BeMS with a specific task is more appropriate and less costly. Think of the two types in terms of a sledgehammer and a nutcracker – a similar outcome, while avoiding unnecessary effort and cost.

Student accommodation is a good example of this. There are 2.3 million students in higher education throughout the UK with over 650,000 living in purpose-built rooms. Providers of accommodation have to carefully balance efficiencies with comfort.

The student lifestyle does not generally comply with routine norms. I am not wishing to perpetuate stereotypes, but nocturnal comings and goings, sleeping in until lectures beckon and extended periods away from campus for home-cooking and free washing – all contribute to the need for flexible monitoring and managing of energy supply to their living spaces.

Heating control that switches on at 7am for 2 hours and then again at 6pm for four hours takes no notice of whether the energy input is used effectively. Likewise, a continuous flow of hot-water, ever-ready for student-demand will prove expensive.

Prefect Irus is designed specifically for the unique conditions of student accommodation. Irus can ‘see’ when a room is occupied (PIR) and keep it at a comfortable level (Setback) – Students can raise the temperature to suit their comfort (Boost), but predetermined temperatures cannot be exceeded and won’t prevail if not required. Irus reduces heat input when the occupant leaves, windows are opened (Window-Open) or the room is empty for longer periods (Frost). Irus observes Triad warnings and will even turn water heating and room heaters off when electricity tariffs are at their highest. In short – Irus eliminates unnecessary use of energy.

Using the buildings existing electrical wiring (Mains Borne Signalling) negates the need for trunking and laying of data cables and all the inherent disruption, interference to a building’s infrastructure and mess, making it quick and cost effective to install.

Lower capital cost than traditional BeMS combined with the savings, makes ROI very attractive too!

Using less energy and more effectively, must be the answer to reducing energy costs.