Not Just Hot Air - Episode 3

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Energy Efficiency Stories


It’s that time again where we look back to episode 3 of the “Not Just Hot Air” podcast pulling out the key stories and talking points. In this episode, we will be discussing real-life scenarios of companies reducing their carbon footprint and energy costs, learning from their experiences where things may not have gone to plan as well as great success stories. Joining the discussion on this episode were Phoebe and Odessa, account managers from Pilot Group, who are the boots on the ground, with all the experiences that are great to share. Let’s dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly of energy efficiency.

Book Manufacturer

The Book Manufacturer's HVAC Reminder

One example of inefficiency comes from a manufacturer using large amounts of paper in their processes. The company used radiant tubes to heat their production area, for those that don’t know, radiant tubes are an efficient way of heating a specific space without wasting energy on unoccupied areas. However, in this case, the radiant tubes were installed directly above racking with materials that are less than ideal to have direct heat on them. It was an example where premises change in both positioning of equipment and what the area is utilised for, causing issues that could be avoided and some inefficiency.

When the Pilot Group highlighted this issue, it was believed that the gas had been capped off, however, further investigation revealed that the radiant tubes were still operational. This situation not only showcased energy inefficiency but also raised concerns over how the space was currently being utilised. It can often be when you’re in the hamster wheel of day-to-day business that things can be missed or just a different perspective/questions to challenge mean you reach new conclusions. Through no fault of team members, it can be “things have always been like this” as you assume there was a logic or decision-making process for why operations are as they are.  An outside perspective often comes with a fresh angle.

Inefficiencies at HQ and Surprise Discoveries

When dealing with larger companies, it’s common to encounter surprises and inefficiencies even at the headquarters level. One example involves an electrical component wholesaler with multiple sites across the UK. Despite having an old controller system in place, the company believed it was functioning optimally. However, upon closer inspection, Pilot Group discovered that the controller was set to operate 24 hours a day at 16°C. Again, workforces and operations can change, leaving nobody at fault but going forward it can be a kind reminder to include a review of heating systems/schedules and high energy consuming appliances in business processes.

Another surprising case involved a logistics firm with sites across the country. Although the company had control systems installed in a large number of sites, they were still experiencing inefficiencies in other locations. When Pilot Group surveyed additional sites, they discovered that the heating was still running even when all the roller shutter doors were open. In some cases it’s important to have these doors open for a decent length of time so the questions were all around how wastage can be minimised in this instance. Additionally, the target temperatures set by the company’s engineers were not being followed, which we often find is down to systems being implemented without the right level of communication or training. Through upgrades and improved control strategies, the Pilot Group achieved significant energy savings at these sites on top of the initial guarantee.

The Power of Configuration Changes

One crucial aspect the Pilot Group addresses is the configuration of heating systems. Many companies inherit existing setups without considering the potential for optimisation. By making simple configuration changes, Pilot Group has achieved remarkable results, for example, a large logistics company set its target temperature at 19°C, assuming it was necessary to maintain a comfortable environment. However, after Pilot Group suggested reducing the temperature to 16°C, the company saw no complaints from employees, we just often base our heating knowledge around what we do in our houses which are obviously very different environments. This small adjustment resulted in an 18% reduction in annual energy spend, every degree matters!

Unlocking Efficiency with Smart Solutions

Pilot Group’s control system offers various solutions to unlock energy efficiency, one significant feature is the residual heat utilisation function, which allows heaters to turn off before reaching the target temperature. By utilising the remaining heat in the system to top up the zone temperature to its target, energy consumption is further reduced. Additionally, Pilot Group implements end-time optimisation programs that gradually decrease temperatures before the end of a shift, resulting in additional energy savings. This one is more of a psychological aspect than incredibly smart technology but is just as effective, just like we mentioned earlier, each degree matters.

Wrapping Up

As these stories demonstrate, there are often hidden inefficiencies in companies’ energy management systems and it can be worth a further conversation even if you think everything is perfectly put in place. If it is, the team at Pilot Group will be the first to say you’ve nailed it but if you haven’t, you could be leaving pounds and pennies on the shop floor, quite literally. By partnering with the Pilot Group, businesses can uncover these issues and implement effective solutions. From configuration changes to smart control strategies, energy efficiency is within reach. Remember, even small adjustments, like lowering your thermostat at home, can make a significant impact on energy consumption and cost.

Stay tuned for future episodes where we continue to explore various topics related to energy and sustainability, brining in some special guests.

Interested in finding out how much you could save with an energy management system? Check out our savings calculator here.

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Contact our team of highly skilled experts today to start saving money on your business energy

Pilot Group Limited,
15 Carnarvon Street,
Manchester M3 1HJ
+44 (0)333 034 2104

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