The Irish public sector comprises approximately 400 public bodies, as well as 4,000 schools, and spends about €600 million per annum on energy. The main consumers are buildings (offices, hospitals, schools, universities, prisons), utilities (water services, public lighting) and public and other transport fleets. The introduction of the Energy Services Directive (and subsequently the Energy Efficiency Directive) led to the setting of an ambitious energy savings target for the entire sector - 33% by 2020.
In 2009, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) appointed Byrne Ó Cléirigh to assist it as it sought to consider how progress against this target could be tracked and how a system for monitoring energy performance could be used as a catalyst for change in the sector.
Since then, Byrne Ó Cléirigh has worked closely with the SEAI and the Department of Energy, Communications & Natural Resources to lead the design, development and implementation of a comprehensive system to monitor & report (M&R) energy usage and performance throughout the entire sector. Our work has included:
- Review of the requirements of relevant EU and national legislation and policy, and a review of international best practices in energy efficiency reporting, tracking energy savings and setting targets.
- Development of a comprehensive set of methodologies and scorecard-based metrics for monitoring, reporting and quantifying energy consumption, energy performance and energy savings in the public sector – on an organisation-by-organisation basis.
- High level scoping and detailed design of the end-to-end business processes required for the implementation of the methodologies.
- Piloting of the methodologies among ~20 large public bodies (total energy spend of ~€120M).
- Preparation of a specification for a web-based software system and assistance with the procurement of a software vendor.
- Liaison with the software developer appointed by SEAI and representation of SEAI's interests during the software development phase.
- Development of a comprehensive suite of awareness, guidance, training and support resources to facilitate public bodies' use of the system.
- Development and implementation of a detailed methodology for the verification of all data submitted through the system.
- Detailed analysis & profiling of public sector energy consumption data.
- Preparation of reports on public sector energy consumption for publication.
- Analysis of options for the integration of the system into other best practice energy management initiatives in the public sector.
- Project management support to the SEAI in the ongoing implementation and further development of the system.
The M&R system is now used by SEAI to track the energy performance of the entire public sector - organisation by organisation - on an annual basis. While there is activity internationally in this general field, both the ambition and approach of this project are genuinely pioneering in the international context. The system provides online access to organisations' electricity and natural gas consumption and the scorecard-based reporting system provides senior management with a powerful snapshot of the organisation's performance. The system also includes a national database of all public sector electricity and natural gas meter numbers.
The system methodologies developed by Byrne Ó Cléirigh account for energy performance gains arising from inter alia energy efficiency retrofit projects, fuel switching to renewable energy alternatives (e.g. biomass), deployment of onsite renewable electricity projects (e.g. solar PV, wind energy), use of blended biofuels in transport fuels and the deployment of CHP and district heating.
Additional information on the M&R system is available from the SEAI M&R web page.