Net Zero and Solar: Challenges in the Industry

This blog is part of our Net Zero series for World Green Building Week 2017 – read more here.


The concept of achieving a net zero energy building is becoming increasingly popular, although, in reality, only a very small number actually achieve this. No matter how efficient a building is, it will not reach net zero energy consumption without the help of renewables; the most popular being Solar PV, particularly for on-site generation. Solar PV has increased rapidly over the last decade but in early 2016, the UK solar industry took a significant blow due to government feed in tariffs being cut by 65%.

“Do not let this discourage you in reaching your goals; there is probably a lot more that can be done first.”

The cuts lead to a drop in solar installations of more than 80%, since the payback periods are now often deemed too long to make the projects feasible. However, do not let this discourage you in reaching your goals; there is probably a lot more that can be done first. Below highlights some of the areas that can be looked at to improve efficiency, before trying to hit zero emissions through renewables. It’s a lot easier to offset your emissions if you don’t produce many to begin with.


Taking a holistic approach to net zero buildings

Understand your energy – Compare the performance against benchmarks, such as the Real Estate Environmental Benchmark (REEB). Establish a metering and energy management plan and utilise data management software, such as SIERA, to identify the high energy users. If you can’t monitor it, you can’t manage it.

Establish a metering and energy management plan and utilise data management software, such as SIERA, to identify the high energy users. Click To Tweet

Building Fabric – Find a sensible balance between daylight, heat loss and solar gain. Is air leakage evident? Is there a need for solar reflective film?

Ventilation – Focus on minimising fan power and running hours. Can the windows be opened and a combination of natural and mechanical methods be adopted?

Heating and cooling – Systems should be designed for efficient year-round operation and not just to meet peak demand. Implement controls such as a seasonal set point strategy.

Lighting – Develop a lighting strategy using daylight, efficient fittings and controls. The appropriate amount of light should only be provided where it is needed.

Equipment – Implement power management strategies and switch equipment off at night. Where possible, use energy efficient servers, computers, monitors and appliances.

Other services – Saving water saves energy. Are the urinals on a sensor flushing system? Minimise unnecessary lift use. Has power factor correction been considered?

People – Engage with occupants on sustainability issues. Establish ‘green teams’ and provide simple user guides making it easy for them to save energy.

The above provides an example of some of the steps that can be taken to help achieve a net zero building and illustrates the holistic approach it requires. In practice, a comprehensive energy management plan should be implemented, including the conducting of detailed energy audits and execution of identified energy reduction measures.

A comprehensive energy management plan should be implemented, including the conducting of detailed energy audits Click To Tweet

Although renewables are a fundamental component in achieving net zero, they are by no means a prerequisite for setting a goal to achieve a net zero energy building. In time, subsidy-free Solar PV investment will become more attractive as cost continue to fall, so it’s important that buildings are ready to maximise the benefits when they do.


If you would like to learn more, please contact the EVORA team.

Net Zero and On-Site Renewables: Opportunities and Considerations for Net Zero Energy Buildings

This blog is part of our Net Zero series for World Green Building Week 2017 – read more here.


As part of the World Green Building Week 2017 theme #OurHeroisZero, this blog explores the opportunities and considerations for on-site renewables in the wider context of net zero energy buildings.

What are net zero energy buildings?

Net zero energy buildings can be defined in many ways, but on a simple level, it is a building connected to the grid where the energy generation matches energy consumption and balanced out to net zero. Net zero is usually assessed at the annual level, but it is becoming increasingly common to account for finer timescales in calculations to improve analyses to inform decision-making. This can be achieved by finding opportunities at all phases of the building life-cycle from construction materials at the design stage, reduction in energy consumption during operation, implementation of efficiency measures and incorporating renewable energy systems.

A building connected to the grid where the energy generation matches energy consumption and balanced out to net zeroClick To Tweet

What are the opportunities for on-site renewable technologies to help achieve net zero energy buildings?

Alongside design, construction, building management factors and small-scale retrofitting such as efficient lighting, on-site renewables have also played a key role in achieving net zero energy for building energy generation and operation. On-site renewable energy generation have helped to harness clean energy, improve efficiencies and reduce dependency on the energy grid.

On-site renewable energy generation have helped to harness clean energy, improve efficiencies and reduce dependency on the energy grid.Click To Tweet

On-site renewable energy is a popular approach as the energy generated can be used to offset the actual energy use of the building and can even be integrated as part of sustainable building envelope design. It is not possible to strive for net zero at the design phase only, as net zero energy must be realised through on-going operation and maintenance throughout the building life cycle.

The technologies and mechanisms available are:

  • Solar Photovoltaics (Solar PV)
  • Purchase of green energy from the grid
  • Micro heat and power generation systems
  • Wind turbines
  • Energy storage technologies (battery and heat storage solutions)

More advanced approaches are:

  • DC microgrids
  • Smart grid and digital technologies
  • Active facades, e.g. artificial leaf technologies

Solar PV and Systems Integration

Solar PV is becoming a more viable option because of decreasing costs of materials and maturity in the marketplace. The mature status of the key solar technologies makes them key players in the energy world. According to the IEA’s Technology Roadmap for Solar Photovoltaic Energy (2014), it is projected that solar power could generate 22% of the world’s electricity by 2050. Solar energy is therefore a viable contender for energy and CO2 mitigation. Solar PV is also more versatile due its multi-disciplinary approach and scalability. In comparison, micro-heat and power generation is less scalable and wind energy through turbines are usually applied as off-site renewables.

It's projected that solar could generate 22% of world’s electricity by 2050 making it a contender for CO2 mitigationClick To Tweet

Of course, climate and locational factors have roles to play in determining the level of renewable energy generating capacities as well as cost and scalability. On-site renewables are however most effective when technologies are coupled together into a system to create a smart on-site renewables DC microgrid, with the application of energy storage and digital technologies. This can prove to be effective for local energy management, as well as scaling up net-zero energy buildings from the single building to the regional scale.

Solar PV as Design

In terms of sustainable building envelope design, there is an opportunity for integration into buildings materials, such as rooftops and facades. Solar PV has been especially popular due to its versatility as in the case of building integrated PV. As well as being decorative and architectural interests, innovative designs can make construction materials more productive and cost-effective compared to traditional building materials. Another element of building design is comfort for occupants which is linked to the wider issue of health & wellbeing as a value indicator for buildings.


What are the considerations for on-site renewable technologies to help achieve net zero energy buildings?

Economics

Market incentivisation is key to paving the way for net-zero energy buildings. This boils down to more cost-effective design and construction. Falling costs of renewable energy technologies have helped to increase the use of on-site renewable energy. Increasing digital technologies can help to align tariffs to real-time pricing strategies.

Balancing Loads and interactions with the wider power grid

For building energy management, there always the need to link power generation to building loads. Opportunities can be gained from balancing supply and demand to optimise performance in terms of energy and costs. On top of this, the peak load times and peak consumption reduction prospects must also be considered, as well as interactions with the wider power grid. Digital technology is creating ways to optimise and adjust demand and supply in real-time which improves energy security from outages, systems integration, reducing operation and maintenance costs.

Scaling it up!

Net zero energy buildings should be viewed at both the local and regional scale since net-zero could be achieved at the single building level, but also with the wider energy grid which is becoming smarter with the application of the smart grid. With more digital data available, it is becoming increasingly possible to use this to inform decision-making.

Holistic approach of design, construction and operation

There is a common view that most opportunities will be achieved at the building design stage. This must however be integrated into the operation of the building and integrated across the building life cycle. This is where on-site renewables present an opportunity for energy generation. A joined-up view must be taken for net-zero energy buildings. This is because a building may be designed to be net-zero, but building operation is the challenge when it comes to energy performance despite the intention at design phase and lead to deviations between modelled vs. actual energy performance.


Concluding Remarks

The role of systems thinking can be appreciated within the contexts of energy management, technological developments, economics and policy. Advances and trends in energy storage technology in the microgrid have opened opportunities for net zero buildings and on-site renewable energy generation. For grid and microgrid management, a mismatch of supply and demand is an issue, however this is being resolved by energy storage. For net zero energy buildings to be realised, a coupling between technologies, systems, solutions as well as an eye for scale is required. This can be achieved by finding opportunities at all phases of the building life-cycle from construction materials at the design stage, reduction in energy consumption during operation and implementation of efficiency measures and incorporating renewable energy systems. It is not possible to strive for net zero at the design phase only, as net zero energy can be realised through on-going operation and maintenance.

For net zero energy buildings to be realised, a coupling between of technologies, systems, solutions as well as an eye for scale is requiredClick To Tweet

If you would like to learn more about EVORA and how we can help your organisation, please contact a member of the team.

Net Zero and carbon reduction targets: To what extent will it help us achieve them?

This blog is part of our Net Zero series for World Green Building Week 2017 – read more here.


The UK target of Net Zero Buildings (NZB) means that new buildings and major renovations should have a net zero impact on carbon emissions from 2030 onwards. This sets the tone for our buildings of the future but what does this mean for our existing buildings? Projections are that half of the existing building stock will still be around in 2050. Even at a reasonable rate of major renovations this still leaves the property industry with its work cut out.

Policies such as the MEES regulations should definitely help to improve efficiencies in existing buildings through refurbishment works and upgrades to take building spaces up to E rating or better. The MEES regulations have undoubtedly got more companies thinking about cost-effective improvements to commercial properties. However, one of my gripes with the whole EPC scheme is that the rating approach is based on theoretical design performance –  the elephant in the room of course being that actual energy consumed doesn’t feature at all.

This means that it’s entirely possible to have a good EPC score on an office and it still be energy inefficient. This is something I wrote about a few years ago with the Better Buildings Partnership and found it was not an isolated example. Furthermore, there are certain types of energy use not captured by EPCs which only potentially complicates the problem. Let’s not forget that addressing actual energy usage is fundamental to succeeding in meeting national and international carbon reduction targets.

Let’s not forget that addressing actual energy usage is fundamental to succeeding in meeting national and international carbon reduction targets.Click To Tweet

This discrepancy between design intent and actual energy usage has been written about extensively under the banner of a concept most of you will hopefully be familiar with – the ‘performance gap’. Studies suggest that this difference between how we think buildings perform and how they actually perform could be underestimated by as much as 50%.

This brings me to one of my main points. Of course, actual energy consumed is significant but so too is the source of that energy; if energy is consumed we need it to be from renewable or ideally carbon neutral sources. Therefore, yes energy efficiency needs to be addressed but so too does the decarbonisation of those supplies.


Decarbonisation targets are likely to be missed, so what does this mean?

The UK Government has targets to improve the decarbonisation of grid energy supplies but research suggests that this is likely to be missed. Also, with the Government limiting financial support for certain types of renewables, investors are hardly getting the certainty that would really help to boost the market. We’ve seen a number of renewables/solar companies going into liquidation, however, demand on the whole for onsite renewables seems to be maintaining (?)

Clearly, in addition to the grid energy mix there’s a role for decentralised green energy generation. Two trends which will be significant in terms of the overall trajectory of the energy sector are the decentralisation of energy generation and energy storage. These are predicted to both increase rapidly.

Two trends which will be significant are the decentralisation of energy generation and energy storage. Click To Tweet

So what does this all mean for strategies of property owners and investors? Clearly, there’s a business case for investment in energy efficiency because of the financial impact of operating costs. As a proportion of overall costs of occupation, this can be hugely variable depending on the organisation, but can relate to factors such as the regional location of property as an example. Nonetheless, DEFRA/DECCs energy price forecasts are that they will continue to rise faster than the rate of inflation so the costs are not going to reduce. Overtime, the cost of renewable energy should become more competitive but there’s little sense in consuming green energy profligately. This means that the property industry really needs to make decarbonisation of energy in existing property portfolios part of its strategy.

This means the property industry really needs to make decarbonisation of energy in existing property portfolios part of its strategy.Click To Tweet

As my colleague, Paul Sutcliffe,  has said Science Based Targets is an approach that is gaining more momentum and rightly so. However, what’s fundamental to achieving the carbon reductions required is an honest assessment of what can realistically be delivered, at the industry-level, through building efficiency and what will be achieved through greening energy supplies.


To speak to the EVORA team about how we can help your organisation, please contact us.

Net Zero and Science Based Targets – Connecting the Dots

This blog is part of our Net Zero series for World Green Building Week 2017 – read more here.


I was recently asked how Science Based Targets are connected to Zero Carbon Buildings – hmmm, I thought, interesting question.

Let’s start with the definitions.


Science Based Targets

In response to mounting environmental, social and political pressure, organisations have recently begun setting science-based GHG emissions reduction targets (‘science based targets’ or SBTs). In doing this, companies are committing to bringing their operational activities and resultant emissions in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increases below 2oC compared to pre-industrial temperatures. Optional third-party approval of alignment to approved methodologies is managed by www.sciencebasedtargets.org, which is supported by the WWF, CDP, UNGC and the WRI.

The SBT approach is being adopted by companies across multiple sectors as the basis for setting long-term goals for GHG emissions reductions. Importantly, in the long-term the SBT approach may be adjusted to reflect advances of climate science and economic modelling (e.g. to target a 1.5oC increase in global mean temperatures).

A SBT approach may be adjusted to reflect advances of climate science and economic modellingClick To Tweet

Net Zero Buildings

Net zero buildings are highly energy-efficient buildings which uses on or off-site renewable energy sources – to achieve net zero carbon emissions. This definition encompasses all asset classes:  homes, offices, shops, stadiums and theatres of the future.

WorldGBC support the ‘Advancing Net Zero’ project – its aims are to ensure that:

  • All new buildings and major renovations should be net zero starting in 2030, meaning no buildings should be built below net zero standards beyond 2030. All buildings should be net zero by 2050
  • 75,000 professionals are trained on net zero building design and operation by 2030, and 300,000 by 2050.

Laudable – and I can see the 2030 target working with a combination of innovation, creativity and targeted regulation (a carrot and stick approach).  However, the aspiration to ensure that all buildings are net zero by 2050 if a big one.  We are less than 33 years away from this deadline and buildings are designed with much longer life-spans.  The speed of conversion and renovation must therefore increase significantly.  In the UK, Minimum Energy Efficiency (MEES) legislation will ban the leasing of buildings with F and G ratings from 2018.  However, net zero buildings have EPCs of A+ not D.  So, in short, at least in the UK, there is a long way to go.


The Connection?

I believe in SBTs – they require that organisational carbon targets are set in line with the global context and can be all encompassing, covering operational, supply chain and even embodied carbon emissions. However, it should be noted that at least for commercial property, the SBT approach doesn’t actually require that all properties become zero carbon by 2050; rather, a minimal level of carbon emissions performance must be achieved (e.g. ~13kgCOe/m2 by 2050).

As such, a science based target is actually – relatively speaking – less stretching than a net zero building.

Furthermore, science based targets are set at the fund, portfolio or even company level, whereas the net zero buildings agenda is targeting all buildings. SBTS are therefore more flexible.  SBTs can be met based on the average performance of a portfolio, with some inefficient and other efficient assets, which on balance are in line with a 2oC world.

In my opinion though, net zero buildings are a very worthy aspiration and will support any organisation in its aim to achieve performance in line with internationally agreed emissions targets. Certainly for new builds, I think we should be targeting net zero carbon. For existing assets, the challenge is substantial; however, one that we as an industry should be grabbing with both hands.

Net zero buildings are a very worthy aspiration and will support any organisation in its aim to achieve performance in line with internationally agreed emissions targets.

We need a joined-up approach, supported and incentivised by Government, as refurbishing all existing assets is a massive job and should be considered as a national infrastructure project.  However, delivery will ultimately need to be managed by both Government and Business working in partnership.

For existing assets, the challenge is substantial; however, one that we as an industry should be grabbing with both hands.Click To Tweet

We need:

  • A strong approach from Government– balancing regulation with incentivisation
  • Visionaries – organisations prepared to lead, to continue to progress the sustainability agenda
  • Communication and voice – organisations like the WorldGBC,  UK-GBC and the Better Buildings Partnership to promote and
  • Adoption

Now, as they say, ‘that’s a big ask’.

However, so much [read everything] is at stake

Come on Property Industry – let’s take the lead!

110 Seconds To Understand How SIERA Sustainability Software Can Help You

Watch Our New Video Now!

Watch our new animated explainer video for SIERA, which gives you a high-level overview of everything our innovative sustainability software solution can do for you.

Depending on where you are and how convenient it is to watch a video, you can:

1.     Watch the video with the sound on – recommended

2.     Watch the video with the sound off – the captions will allow you to follow along

3.     Read the video script, which is pasted below for your convenience

We hope you enjoy the video and that you will want to learn more by attending one of our webinar demonstrations or getting in touch to book a one-to-one demo.

Thanks for watching!


SIERA Sustainability Software – the right choice for your business


Video Script

Every year, environmental management becomes more complex and reporting requirements become more stringent.

Which is why the sustainability experts at EVORA came up with SIERA – a unique and innovative software solution.

Not only does SIERA make all your sustainability reporting easy – it also enables you to quickly identify energy savings in your buildings.

Not only does SIERA make all your sustainability reporting easy – it also enables you to quickly identify energy savings in your buildingsClick To Tweet

Never before has collecting and validating your environmental data been so easy. Whether it’s automating data collection, or dragging and dropping your data from Excel files, SIERA makes a complex process simple.

The intelligent modelling capability covers a range of regulatory and voluntary reporting requirements, quickly and intuitively.

In fact, SIERA saves our clients up to 70% of their time spent on GRESB reporting.

SIERA also gives you an overview of your property and portfolio performance, helping you mitigate regulatory risk and prioritise improvement opportunities.

SIERA’s ground-breaking Energy Monitoring and Targeting module automatically alerts you to energy efficiency opportunities.

Savings are easy to identify and can be achieved without any capital expenditure.

SIERA gives you an overview of property and portfolio performance, helping you mitigate regulatory risk and prioritise improvement opportunitiesClick To Tweet

Whether you’re seeking a hands-on solution, or a fully managed service with EVORA’s expert consultants – SIERA is the right choice for your business.

SIERA is already managing over 4,000 properties and is being rapidly adopted by large organisations across the globe.

Isn’t it time you used SIERA too?


 To learn more about SIERA and discover how it can save you time, stress, and money, please get in touch today to arrange a demonstration.

 


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.

How to host an effective energy management strategy workshop

Get stuck into the discussion

“The projector doesn’t work!!!”  My colleague Paul Sutcliffe and I had just arrived at Liverpool ONE to deliver an energy management strategy workshop and we were setting up.  Concern, led to frustration – mostly on my part (I had spent a significant amount of time working on the materials).  Then attendees started arriving.

Our brief for the day was to hold an energy workshop with staff at Liverpool ONE – each attendee represented different departments. This was to act as a starting point for roll out of an energy strategy.

We had to make a call.  Delay things whilst we sorted technology out or get stuck into discussions around an interesting subject with a group of truly engaged people.  We chose the latter –  and what a choice!

Slides were put up on laptop screens, as background information, and attendees would periodically refer to slide packs for information throughout the sessions (so my preparation time was not wasted).

One of the first questions posed to the workshop attendees was a simple “Why Bother?”. A challenging and somewhat risky ice breaker, but responses flowed with many reasons suggested – It was apparent, from the start, that this was a topic close to team member’s hearts!


Identify barriers and opportunities

The lack of a formal presentation at the front of the room acted to open up the workshop.  We ran a series of facilitated discussions that picked through issues and opportunities, strengths and weaknesses.  This led to some great results. As a group we:

  • Identified and documented real opportunities to improve energy management across the whole leisure and retail estate (including technological, operational and behavioural aspects) – issues that will now be progressed
  • Agreed on the need for granular level energy data across the estate
  • Highlighted the barriers faced which need to be overcome in order to succeed
  • Agreed that a structured management system approach was necessary

Liverpool ONE has already made significant progress when it comes to environmental and energy management (the centre is ISO 14001 certified and has already installed a large solar photo voltaic array). However, commitment and engagement to take energy management forward was clear.


Know your subject and prepare well!

The workshop was enjoyable, engaging, successful and benefitted everyone – the attendees and consultants.  The information collected will be used to formulate and further develop Liverpool ONE’s energy strategy.

However, we must always keep learning as consultants.  At EVORA we have been working on our presentations for a long time now always work to avoid ‘death by PowerPoint’ but the Liverpool ONE session really brought this home.  Some take-aways from me as a consultant:

  • Know your subject
  • Prepare well
  • Use slides to augment discussion – ask yourself ‘do they add value?’

And, don’t trust technology!


To speak to one of the team about supporting your energy management strategy, contact us.

ESOS Phase 2 Practical Hints and Tips

This post follows on from the article that my colleague, Neil Dady wrote, ‘ESOS Phase 2 – It’s time to start planning‘ which provides a clear overview of requirements and further detail is available online. I’m not going to go over old ground but instead, I set out a few ESOS Phase 2 practical hints and tips.


Don’t forget the purpose – identify energy saving opportunities

ESOS was developed to help businesses identify energy saving opportunities.  Legislation often gets a bad press, however, the principles here are laudable.  A strategy that identifies savings, then importantly, acts to implement them (something missing in the legislation and a step that is up to the participants) can only be a good thing.  Reducing energy consumption has many benefits:

  • Lowered costs
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Improved corporate responsibility
  • The ability to wrap up into tenant engagement programmes
A strategy that identifies savings, then importantly, acts to implement them (something missing in the legislation and a step that is up to the participants) can only be a good thing.Click To Tweet

ISO 50001 – a structured approach to understanding and improving energy performance

If you want to get ISO 50001 up and running, start now.

The international standard for energy management, provides a structured approach to understanding and improving energy performance, however, implementation cannot be rushed through. As Neil highlights in his recent blog, organisations that wish to use ISO 50001 as the compliance route should start work now.

As many will know, organisations with ISO 50001 do not have to complete audits, however, it is a mistake to think that this simplifies matters.  ISO 50001 is not an easy way forward.  It requires completion of a baseline assessment and the establishment of objectives for improvement.  As a result, organisations that operate ISO 50001 management system will have also completed audits in some format.

As many will know, organisations with ISO 50001 do not have to complete audits, however, it is a mistake to think that this simplifies matters.

Those in real estate should also note that ISO 50001 does not count towards GRESB points, whereas ISO 14001 certification does.  Although this is something we are lobbying GRESB on, I can understand the reasoning.  GRESB is a sustainability benchmarking scheme, ISO 14001 requires consideration of all significant environmental issues, whereas ISO 50001 is focused on energy only.


Audits for compliance – beware of changing portfolios

Obligated organisations must assess energy consumption over 12 months, which must include the qualification date of 31 December 2018.  90% of energy identified must then be assessed.  As a result, auditing assets now, solely to comply with ESOS, would be a waste of time if the assets were then sold before the qualification date.


Audit anyway – the savings start to add up

Despite the above point, audits will still identify improvement opportunities that reduce energy consumption.  Subject to wider asset management plans (redevelopment, sale etc), I would recommend that audits are completed on all assets with an energy spend of over £200,000 per year – irrespective of ESOS obligations. Our audit team typically find quick win savings of 5% and often more (5% on a £200,000 spend per year equates to £10,000 – with a typical payback of less than a year).  Apply these principles to a portfolio of 10 assets and the savings start to add up significantly.

Our audit team typically find quick win savings of 5% and often more (5% on a £200,000 spend per year equates to £10,000 – with a typical payback of less than a year).Click To Tweet

EVORA employs a team of Energy Auditors and ESOS Lead Assessors.  For further information, do not hesitate to call or email.

BIM:SAM – A Revolutionary Way To Optimise And Future-Proof Your Buildings In A Digital Age

Strategic asset management within the BIM environment; bringing all the information you need into one building model

EVORA EDGE‘s remit is to support clients to implement sustainability at both fund and asset levels. We do this by helping to design, deliver and manage technical engineering solutions to the built environment. To support our delivery of these technical services, EVORA EDGE has developed an innovative management approach, which we call BIM:SAM – Building Information Modelling for Strategic Asset Management.

BIM:SAM is nothing mysterious or untested. It’s our way of delivering a connected, intelligent approach to designing, maintaining, monitoring and reporting asset performance within the Commercial Real Estate sector.

BIM:SAM is our approach to managing the many challenges that exist within commercial real estate, and is our way of future-proofing properties in a digital age.Click To Tweet

BIM:SAM – a ‘one stop shop’ for managing real estate challenges.

  • Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.
  • Strategic Asset Management (SAM) involves the balancing of costs, opportunities and risks against the desired performance of assets.

EVORA has created a methodology for combining BIM technologies with SAM processes into a ‘one stop shop’ solution that informs the building management process, resulting in a useful transferable asset – the building information model.

The schematic below demonstrates how, acting as a technical manager, we use BIM:SAM to manage commercial real estate and developments.

BIM:SAM Fig 1

As you can see, the BIM can be created for a number of solutions, such as a high-level MEES risk assessment, a Health and Wellbeing study, or as part of a building services design project.

Whatever the requirement, the same BIM can be used as a ‘digital passport’ for your building, recording data and information of the building and its services – one model, multiple functionalities.

The launch of BIM:SAM now provides a ‘one stop shop' approach to delivering M&E technical consultancyClick To Tweet

Merging real intelligence and innovation with strategic asset management.

The typical M&E/FM service model below illustrates how the M&E consultant’s role can be restricted to periodic checking and/or specific project involvement:

BIM SAM Fig 1

Conversely, our BIM:SAM model below illustrates how EVORA EDGE, as a Technical Manager, continuously interacts with the Property Manager by using a dynamic building information model.

This BIM can be integrated with our SIERA software to create a powerful monitoring and targeting (M&T) toolset. BIM:SAM merges real intelligence and innovation with strategic asset management.

BIM SAM Fig 3

At the heart of BIM:SAM is the relationship between our Technical Manager and the Property Manager. We develop and provide the building information model that informs the decision-making process.

Within our model and our SIERA platform, we collate the information required such as energy usage, CO2 emissions (embodied carbon and operational), asset condition reporting, maintenance scheduling and life expectancy reporting.

By using a dynamic BIM model, alongside monitoring and targeting through our SIERA software, we can bring real intelligence and innovation within the strategic asset management approachClick To Tweet

Outputs that are easily integrated and simple to understand.

EVORA EDGE is experienced in using BIM processes to manage MEES risks, engineering and energy efficiency, resource efficiency and capital cost planning.

Our systems follow the recommendations in the RICS New Rules of Measurement (NRM) Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building works. This ensures that any outputs can be easily understood and integrated into capital cost planning and asset management by non-engineering professionals.


BIM:SAM in action.

Guildford Borough CouncilGuildford Borough Council case study

We used our BIM:SAM approach to undertake an exciting project for Guildford Borough Council, supporting it with its CO2 reduction strategy.

Download our Guildford Borough Council case study here.

EPAM

We have been appointed by our client EPIC Property Asset Management Ltd (EPAM) to conduct a BIM:SAM project at 120 Old Broad Street – a 49,000sqft multi-let office building. We look forward to sharing the results of this work soon, and at X Energy 2017 in October, at which we are the Building Optimisation Partner.


The benefits of our BIM:SAM approach:

  • Managed by technical M&E specialists
  • Centralised data collation, consistent processes and simplified reporting structures
  • BIM ‘Digital Passport’
  • Data quality and performance modelling
  • Conditioned-based monitoring and intelligent PPMP
  • Performance Management – energy and productivity
  • Future-proofing of assets
  • Health and Wellbeing planning
  • Improved fund performance

BIM:SAM Brochure cover image
To learn more about BIM:SAM and how it can revolutionise your approach to asset management, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or download our BIM:SAM brochure for all the information in a handy PDF.

 

EVORA To Be Main Sponsor of The Crowd’s X Energy 2017

We are delighted to announce that we have teamed up with our friends at The Crowd and will be one of the Main Sponsors at X Energy 2017 in October.


EVORA has come a long way in its six years.

It’s amazing to think that Chris, Paul and Ed left DTZ to start Sustainable Commercial Solutions together in 2011, spotting an opportunity to deliver a better level of sustainability consultancy expertise to the commercial real estate sector. And then came SIERA, our sustainability management software, which was specifically designed for the commercial real estate investment market.

Fast forward six years and the EVORA team is now 21 strong, we’re revolutionising the way technical engineering and M&E consultancy services are delivered thanks to EVORA EDGE, and SIERA now manages data for the likes of Schroder Real Estate, USS, Europa Capital, and Rockspring to name a few. Not to mention all the GRESB work we do as a Premier Partner, and the multiple events we’ve hosted, including the 2016 40% Symposium in Berlin, and the Healthy Buildings Conference with BRE and Arup in London.

To be one of the Main Sponsors of an event like X Energy 2017 is another big step for us.

EVORA will be a Main Sponsor at The Crowd's X Energy 2017 in October. 50+ already registered. More details here...Click To Tweet

With 160+ senior energy, sustainability, property, and facilities professionals in the room, we will be hosting two roundtable sessions that play to our deep expertise in sustainability, energy, and data management (exact topics TBC), as well as having a series of one-to-one meetings with key decision makers who will be looking for support with their sustainability goals.

Here’s some information about the event, direct from the X Energy landing page:

This impactful half day event will explore the intersection of energy and tech, inspiring and connecting the leading minds from a mix of energy intensive sectors.

We’ll explore how disruptive technologies, new energy management strategies and financing models are exponentially changing energy programmes in large organisations, and share knowledge and latest thinking amongst the community. The programme on the day is a mix of inspiring keynotes, high level panels, peer roundtable discussions and structured networking.

With over 50 attendees already registered five months in advance, X Energy 2017 is already lining up to be a fantastic event.

We will be publishing a series of event-related content between now and October, so stay tuned to our blog and social media channels, and make sure you’re signed up to receive our newsletters.

Follow us on Twitter @evoraglobal, The Crowd @thecrowd, and search for the hashtag #XEnergy for event-related Tweets.


Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations: How they will impact flexible workspace from April 2018

Scroll down for our MEES Management 10-Point Strategy


What I’m about to write will come as a great shock to many operators in the serviced and managed office industries: you may not be able to sign up clients for more than 6 months as of April next year. This is less than a year away!


Why is the flexible workspace market at risk?

As of April 1 2018 landlords are no longer able to lease out commercial office space in buildings with an F or G EPC rating unless a time-limited exemption applies, which must be registered on an Exemptions Register.

Many serviced and managed office providers thought that they were exempt from this rule as they are not the primary landlord, however this regulation applies to any tenancy agreement over 6 months and this can include sub-leases and agreements sometimes referred to by serviced operators as licenses (we’d recommend that you speak to your solicitors to determine if your “license” really is a license or a lease/tenancy). This creates something of a challenge for the serviced workspace sector. But they are not the only ones who are not aware of the legislation: in a recent survey by Property Week magazine, 32% of all respondents did not know what MEES was and how it would impact their business.

In a recent PropertyWeek survey, 32% of respondents still didn't know what MEES was and how it would impact their business.Click To Tweet

MEES represents a significant risk to companies looking to sub-let space, because they may be treated as a landlord and as a result must undergo the same process of due diligence as the superior landlord.


What about the rest of the market?

Outside of the serviced office sector, occupiers of all types of non-domestic property may struggle to sublet sub-standard space without undertaking improvement work, the benefit of which may ultimately revert to the superior landlord. And while assignments are not captured until 2023, sub-standard properties may become stigmatised by their poor EPC rating making this type of transaction difficult. Indeed, there are already occupiers, such as Government and large corporates that will not lease sub-standard space. As an example, EVORA was recently engaged to develop an EPC improvement strategy by a fund landlord that needed to obtain a C EPC rating to secure a Government department. This requirement for a C rated property goes far beyond the requirements of MEES, highlighting the growing importance of EPCs as a benchmark for predicted energy efficiency.

Landlords with E (or even in some cases D) rated properties may still be at risk because the EPC calculation is dynamic. The calculation methodology is linked to Part L of Building Regulations which deals with the conservation of fuel and power in new properties. Part L, like most of Building Regulations, is updated on a periodic basis and the minimum energy efficiency targets in Part L have to-date been strengthened with each successive iteration. This has impacted the EPC rating, and in particular the changes adopted in 2010 affected EPC ratings from 1 April 2011 onwards (the date on which EPC software was updated). In plain English, what this means is that an E rated property before 1 April 2011 if reassessed today is likely to be an F or G rated asset if nothing in the building has changed. This means that planned preventative maintenance and improvements will need to factor in these regulations.

Landlords beware: even your D or E rated properties may still be at risk from MEES regulations...Click To Tweet

Failure to comply with the regulations will result in fines of between £5,000 and £150,000. The enforcement authority may also impose a publication penalty. This means that the enforcement authority will publish some details of the landlord’s breach on a publicly accessible part of an Exemptions Register.


What actions can you take?

Here is The EVORA 10-point Strategy for Managing MEES (an image version is available at the bottom of this post):

  1. For landlords with multiple assets, such as funds or workspace providers, review how you store your data. This should be digitalised and in a central and accessible location
  2. Identify where there are gaps in the data (missing EPCs etc.) and identify those assets that are at risk by virtue of their (EPC) rating, capital or rental value and/or a lease or transactional event
  3. Consider the use of software such as EVORA’s highly versatile, market-leading platform, SIERA
  4. Use or involve CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) accredited assessors, or assessors that work for a recognised and reputable engineering practice – preferably with additional professional qualifications (such as those recognised by the Engineering Council)
  5. Have your professional EPC assessor review the existing certificate for accuracy and relevance
  6. If it is necessary to prepare a new EPC, ask for an indicative (draft) certificate. The assessor may be able to deliver an improved rating by using better quality data and/or by having better knowledge of building services. However, if the asset remains at risk from MEES, then commission a strategy to improve the building to include capital costs, energy savings and, where appropriate, life cycle costs
  7. Review point 6 in the context of the lease(s) and the fund or asset management strategy
  8. Consider ways to recuperate capital costs through energy savings or asset management driven opportunities
  9. Ensure you retain future access to the energy model used to prepare the EPC and utilise it for energy and asset management purposes, including MEES management. After all, you paid for it!
  10. Finally, to ensure that you’re getting the best result from your EPC-driven improvements, review how operational performance can be monitored to determine if the predicted energy savings align with the operational realities. Again, SIERA can assist with this, thanks to its intuitive and easy-to-use monitoring and targeting capabilities
Here is The EVORA 10-point Strategy for Managing MEES Regulations...Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

This all sounds very onerous, but in fact MEES should be regarded as an opportunity.

For occupiers

MEES is obviously an opportunity to save money through reduced energy bills and resultant CO2 emissions, and energy efficient buildings are more likely to help deliver a productive working environment.

There are also opportunities for occupiers to use MEES to mitigate rental increases after 1 April 2018 as a result of rent reviews and lease renewals. And it may be the case that occupiers can use MEES to reduce or remove any liability towards dilapidations.

For landlords

MEES is a great opportunity to engage with tenants, but if that were not incentive enough – MEES will become increasingly synonymous with building value and building resilience. Improve your EPC rating and you reduce your risk, and this could influence yields and even, in time, headline rents.

Energy savings could provide an opportunity to look at alternative methods of financing, using the value (£) of the energy saved to redeem finance. This could provide a cost-effective method of improving your estate.

Finally, for those looking to buy or sell sub-standard properties, MEES introduces an opportunity to discuss the price!


As CIBSE accredited assessors, we are perfectly positioned to support you with EPCs and MEES compliance. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


EVORA MEES 10-Point Strategy