23 March 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Forming energy divisions within FM businesses. Herpreet Kaur Grewal speaks to individuals from two companies that have done just that.
Two well-known facilities management firms recently set up energy divisions.
The primarily construction-focused BAM launched a new trading company, BAM Energy Ltd, within its FM division. And Robertson, also chiefly dealing with construction and infrastructure, established an energy services department as a part of its FM offering.
The moves indicate the need for FM suppliers to be increasingly aware of energy-efficiency measures. A recent report by government-appointed body Innovate UK adds weight to this. Its study examined six years of data from its £8 million Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) Programme. Only one of 50 buildings studied produced the amount of carbon specified by its design. Although two-thirds of buildings studied used renewable energy, many experienced problems that had a negative effect on energy use and carbon emissions.
The report concluded that meeting the government’s 80 per cent carbon reduction target by 2050 will be “an unattainable goal, unless there is a revolution in how the country constructs and operates buildings”.
Maybe FM could be the key. Graeme Cameron, director of Robertson Facilities Management’s energy division, joined the company from Serco, where he led its energy and sustainability business unit, delivering services to companies including Coca-Cola, Deloitte, and State Street Bank.
He told FM World that the report’s conclusions formed part of the motivation for setting up the division. “It is an interesting dilemma, especially for an organisation like Robertson, which has a construction as well as a FM business…[the problem of the gap between design and actual energy efficient building operation] can be overcome by having robust facilities management provision... then that gap is certainly minimised if not completely eliminated.”
Cameron intends to include reporting services and the provision of investment to install energy-efficiency technologies within Robertson. Underpinning this will be the delivery of cost and carbon reduction objectives.
He says: “This company has been delivering valued energy services for a number of years and by enhancing our offering we will be even better placed to support our customers achieve their energy goals.”
BAM has also set up an energy division in its FM division. BAM Energy is part of the BAM Construct UK group and “promotes energy efficiency and local energy generation from renewable sources”. This includes the design, installation, operation, management, maintenance and financing of energy-reducing equipment such as LED lighting or renewable energy generation systems such as photovoltaics, CHP or biomass.
Reid Cunningham, interim managing director at BAM Energy, says: “We find that clients are often unaware of green energy options or daunted by the upfront capital investment… we can help them find the best energy option and facilitate its implementation.”
Many new construction projects aspire to be energy efficient and have low emissions and operating costs, says Cunningham.
“Often the affordable capital cost means that these aspirations are ‘value engineered’ out of the designs. BAM Energy hopes to be able to reintroduce the most effective energy solutions into new facilities and transfer the cost of these to the operating/revenue budget. Where BAM FM maintains existing facilities BAM Energy will present proposals to design, finance, install and operate energy efficient plant for the long-term benefit of the owner/occupants.”
“And drawing on experience from managing buildings in the education, healthcare, business and industry sectors, BAM FM helps clients to identify ways to save energy in their existing estates. Measures such as replacing existing lighting with LEDs, using sensors to control lighting or using smart meters to control heating systems, can be costly to install – but we take that cost out of the equation and the client repays the capital investment through the savings they make.”