Aims of the project:

Bruntwood’s purpose is to create thriving cities, investing for the long term to ensure the cities they are part of are successful.

They want to create the spaces and places for people to thrive, believing that our cities should be full of healthy, happy people who have plenty of clean, green space to enjoy — spaces that aren’t heavily polluted — and to enable people to lead more sustainable lives.

Challenges we faced:

  • Energy consumption on the rise – Although energy reduction within our buildings is one of our key objectives, our customers control their own energy usage within their individual spaces, so we need to work closely with them to help them reduce their consumption.
  • Electrification of Heat and Transport – With electric vehicles becoming more common and uptake set to increase, we as a business need to ready ourselves to meet higher demand for EV charging at our buildings. Similarly, with ever changing polarised climates, many of our customers now also have the expectation of controllable heating and cooling in their spaces, which has led to the installation of air-conditioning in almost all of our buildings.
  • Growth in renewables – Renewables such as wind and solar provide intermittent power and consequently they cannot currently guarantee to meet the demand for electricity throughout the the country. Consequently balancing the electricity grid is becoming significantly more complex to manage and the security of supply – ensuring we have power at all times – is becoming critical for businesses. We need to think smarter about balancing the need for renewable energy and the demand for energy within our buildings. We have several examples of this in our ‘test bed’ buildings and are now looking to roll these out and deploy across our portfolio.
  • Need for flexibility – The electricity markets need to become more flexible and allow more localised markets to emerge to allow buildings to be ‘prosumers’:both consumers and producers of energy, and to trade locally when surplus power is available.
  • An ageing electrical grid – The electricity Grid in Manchester is almost at breaking point and availability of power for new connections is becoming more and more expensive. If we can reduce our reliance on the grid and produce energy to be consumed in buildings locally, the need for expensive upgrades will not be required meaning reduced costs for all.

What we’re doing:

  • Introduction of smart technologies – We are making our buildings smarter through new and emerging IoT technology, this is giving us an insight into how the building is running and operating , helping us to make real time interventions when problems occur and giving us more control over how we manage our buildings.
  • Educating and informing – We have recently become members of the UK Green Building Council (we’re also members of the Better Buildings Partnership) and we’re starting to use these partnerships to help us educate our customers about reducing energy usage, saving carbon and reducing cost.
  • Reducing consumption – We have started an energy challenge with our own colleagues and customers sharing building usage information with the teams and asking them to come up with innovative and achievable ways to help reduce energy within the buildings. We have seen that where people are involved in the process to reduce energy they help to drive down usage even further and enjoy seeing the real difference they have made.
  • Solar and Battery installations – We have started a mass deployment of solar panels on buildings in Manchester city centre, and are looking to add batteries to a number of buildings in our portfolio. These will allow us to capture and store solar energy which we will then use in our buildings rather than drawing energy from the local grid. This will help reduce our reliance on traditional energy systems and support our ambition to become zero carbon.

The Bright Building:

  • At the Bright Building we have introduced a Tesla powerpack which enables us to take the building ‘off-grid’ at certain periods of the day.
  • We’ve also employed a smart technologist to help understand how the building uses energy and how we can utilise the space to make it as energy efficient as possible.
  • We’ll soon be installing Solar PV to help bring the Bright Building fully ‘off-grid’ in 2019.
  • We are developing a system which will bring all our controllable assets into one platform. Using IoT technologies we have connected to the battery and will shortly be connecting to the building management system (BMS) in order to optimise energy usage throughout the building and reduce wasted energy.

Project details:

Organisation: Bruntwood is a leading regional property  company, with over 100 properties across Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham.

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