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New property technology reduces energy use sharply for VELUX Group

42 energy consumption measurement stations are replacing manual readings for power consumption at VELUX Group’s head office in Hørsholm. Coor has planned and implemented a new property system that generates annual energy savings of 8% for the VELUX Group, with 20% gained for ventilation systems alone.

The fourth quarter of the year is high season for CSR reports and green accounts. This means that many businesses analyze their energy consumption and review the potential for increasing the efficiency of their energy consumption in transport and buildings.

There are multiple reasons for the increased use of this kind of analysis. While regulatory requirements for reporting on energy consumption and CO2 emissions have become more stringent, many businesses also seek to harness the environmental gains and cost savings that arise from energy optimization. Suppliers that consider the climate, the environment and sustainability are in high demand, and green advice has become a competitive advantage.

Target of 50% energy reduction

One company that keeps a close eye on the latest technological developments, and is continuously on the lookout for optimization potential, is Danish VELUX Group. The company is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of low energy windows and doors.

“We develop solutions that contribute to reducing energy consumption in buildings. This means that it’s only natural to be at the forefront of energy optimization in our own buildings, “commented Eric Martin, Head of Global Facilities at VELUX Group. VELUX Group has presented an ambitious 2020 plan, which aims to reduce the company’s energy consumption by 50% compared to 2007. As part of the plan, 42 energy consumption measurement stations have been installed at the company’s offices in Hørsholm.

“It’s not only our employees who should let green thinking guide their behavior, by closing windows and turning off the power for example. As a business, we also invest in systems and technological solutions that contribute to achieving the ambitious targets we’ve set,” Eric Martin explains.

Changed behavior and new technology

In 2014, VELUX Group entered into a collaboration with Coor, which covers some 20 million square meters of public and privately owned commercial properties throughout the Nordics. After examining the VELUX Group’s property holding, Coor made a number of recommendations aimed at optimizing the Group’s head office in Hørsholm.

“An element of the property’ energy consumption can be reduced by encouraging the people that spend time in the building to change their behavior. This obviously needs to be addressed, as it generates no-cost gains for the company and the environment alike. Another important measure that’s both effective and currently relatively inexpensive, is derived from intelligent technology and property systems, which present entirely new opportunities on the market,” commented Head of Division Thomas Fog at Coor Property, who handles real estate operations and energy optimization for Coor’s customers.

Classic challenges in older properties

The challenges and conditions the VELUX Group faces don’t essentially differ from many other older properties where Coor is responsible for optimizing operations. Consumption data is collated in one or two main measurement stations provided by the power company. This provides management and advisors with historical and differentiated data, which can then be evaluated for optimization.

“The challenge is that measurement stations present overall energy consumption, including ventilation, IT server halls, lighting and restaurants. This means that we’re not able to review usage levels for individual units. This presents some challenges for larger companies, which are now required to document the financial costs associated with their environmental impact. And if levies aren’t presented accurately, businesses may be saddled with fines running into millions. This means that it’s important to keep track of reporting,” commented Sigurd Nielsen, Operations Manager at Coor, with responsibility for the VELUX contract on Zealand.

Modern technology replaces hand-written schedules

The monthly manual power consumption readings from key measurement stations provide an insight into energy use, but are not sufficient to implement qualified savings measures and achieve the energy efficiency targets set.
“Accordingly, we’ve established an energy monitoring system that includes 42 targets at VELUX Group’s head office in Hørsholm. This provides each area with input data, which makes it possible to monitor energy consumption minute by minute and, if required, react quickly to undesirable events and divergences. Employees can also continuously monitor energy consumption through an online dashboard, which contributes to moving towards greener operations by encouraging them to think more carefully about their daily habits,” commented Sigurd Nielsen.

ROI in less than 12 months

Before the introduction of this energy system, VELUX Group’s annual power consumption totaled 1,150,000 kWh. At a price of DKR 1.65 per kWh, this corresponded to annual expenditure of DKR 1.9 m.

“Overall, we’ve generated savings of some 70,000 kWh at limited or no direct costs in under a year,” Sigurd Nielsen emphasizes.

In addition to contributing to energy optimization, the system automatically converts kWh to kronor and CO2. This provides management with the information required for ongoing and green accounting. This means that the system not only acts to optimize energy consumption, but is also a management tool that contributes to enhancing the operations’ climate, sustainability and environmental initiatives on the basis of a business case.