Whitbread use weather monitoring to reduce energy use

Keeping warm at Premier Inn Gatwick

Keeping warm at Premier Inn Gatwick

So it’s winter and we’re all starting to wrap up warm, but with fluctuating daily temperatures how often do you find the thick coat you needed one day leaves you sweating the next, or the socks that were fine yesterday keep your toes too chilly today?

We’re very dependent on the weather. In a hotel the heating you needed on a particularly cold day, can have your guests rushing for air on a milder one, and similarly in summer the air con required on a sweltering day can see you shivering the next.

In the UK the greatest use of energy in buildings is for ‘space conditioning’, predominantly for heating. The biggest driver of this energy use is external temperature, as the internal thermostat attempts to regulate the heating system by matching the heat from radiators to compensate for heat loss through the building walls, roof and windows, and via air changes.

Many businesses – particularly hotels - are aware of the need to cut energy costs and emissions and are therefore proficient at energy monitoring as the first step in energy management. However, many do not apply weather data to their energy performance.

Whitbread plc is among the first to use weather analysis to assist their energy monitoring and usage.

To help manage energy use, thorough account should be taken of the external temperature.  Having up to date and relevant weather data can give energy managers the chance to normalise energy use against the weather and dig deeper into energy usage, patterns, trends and even more relevantly, identify waste – particularly where spikes in use are not linked to external temperature changes.

Currently working with Whitbread plc on their Premier Inn brand across a portfolio of around 650 hotels, Pilio ltd. is delivering weather adjusted consumption data to create better targets and benchmarks based on their own estate, whilst creating more intuitive and automated reporting systems from existing interval energy data.

Using weather data allows energy managers to compare one year, month, or week to another. When comparing weekly data, jumps in energy use can be caused by changes in external temperature, or changes to the heating system and its use. Occupants changing heating settings, valves sticking and changes in building use, for example, can only be properly analysed when the weather has been properly accounted for.

In businesses with large property portfolios such as the leisure and retail sector or local authorities, energy and facilities managers can look at their energy use as the bigger picture across the entire estate. Pilio offers unique benchmarking around CIBSE building classifications and its own member data.

Delivering a solution to assist Whitbread with their target of 25% carbon reduction for 2017, Pilio’s software and consultancy provides the evidence base for progress and goals, as well as helping formulate a strategy. As well as providing the software for analysis, Pilio is offering Whitbread analysis of the significance of weather on energy demand across the estate, assessing the effectiveness of energy efficiency interventions, and tracking the progress of their carbon reduction target.

Dave Dunbar, energy manager at Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants says, “With a complex blend of hotels throughout all parts of the UK it was becoming more important to benchmark each site in an accurate and consistent way. By utilising Pilio's advanced weather analytics we are able to compare hotels wherever they are in the UK, on a level playing field, enabling a far more accurate targeting mechanism individually tailored for each site."

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