https://insideDIO.blog.gov.uk/2014/06/30/power-to-the-people-developing-the-utilities-manager-network/

Power to the People: Developing the Utilities Manager Network

I’m Tracy Buckby - DIO’s Utilities Principal Energy Manager. One of my responsibilities is to drive the process to reduce energy consumption across the MOD. This protects the environment and benefits the Armed Forces by potentially freeing up funds to be spent on other Defence priorities.

Dr Tracy Buckby, DIO's Utilities Principal Energy Manager. (Crown Copyright)
Dr Tracy Buckby, DIO's Utilities Principal Energy Manager. (Crown Copyright)

Our Energy Management division consists of 33 Area Utility Managers (AUMs) who cover the UK & Overseas estate. They work with site teams to identify opportunities for technological interventions and targeted behavioural change campaigns.

Their aim is to reduce energy use and help the MOD to meet its Greening Government Commitment targets to reduce carbon emissions 25% from 2009/10 levels by 2015.

Presentations

Our energy management team recently gathered together for a two-day workshop to learn from each other about running behavioural change campaigns and looking for technological opportunity on sites. We also took the opportunity to celebrate some early successes of the newly-formed team. We set the team’s focus on reducing energy across the MOD estate.

AUMs will work to reduce energy use across the military estate. (Helen Pickering, Crown Copyright/MOD2014)
AUMs will work to reduce energy use across the military estate. (Helen Pickering, Crown Copyright/MOD2014)

During the workshop, people showcased work that they have helped support across the estate despite being in post for only a few months. This included hearing about successes of projects in Germany where AUMs Barry Doig and Maggie Briggs supported the switch from halogen to LED bulbs. This resulted in an estimated 90% reduction in energy costs, with a return on investment of one year.

Karen Harrison, AUM for Chetwynd Barracks, in Nottingham, ran a behavioural campaign with an Army colleague as part of the Army Energy Month. This resulted in a 10% reduction in the site’s average monthly electricity bill, saving some £2500.

Thought-provoking

We also heard a thought-provoking presentation by Larissa Lockwood, of the Carbon Trust, on how to deliver an effective behavioural change campaign. As a fundamental element of the AUM role, expertise shared from this presentation will no doubt prove instrumental in ensuring future campaigns are delivered more effectively.

In addition, the event also featured a presentation explaining how AUMs can identify technological improvements to save money and reduce carbon emissions, without facilities necessarily being used less often.

There are demands for energy within MOD, of which IT is only one. [Crown Copyright]
There are demands for energy within MOD, of which IT is only one. [Crown Copyright]
Our new starters found the knowledge imparted from more experienced colleagues invaluable. It helped ensure they had the right tools to make the most of their interactions on site. The workshop emphasised the importance of networking with everyone, from building custodians to MOD Police, as an integral part of discovering the issues and opportunities around us.

Forum Focus

The event saw a new concept introduced - the Utilities Action Forum (UAF). This aims to create an opportunity to share best practice and formulate ideas on how each site could reduce consumption across their available utilities, and ultimately put agreed suggestions into action.

We see the UAF being held every two months, bringing together a core site team. As the forum develops, volunteers will be able to attend so that personnel feel involved in reducing carbon and energy use at their site. The Forum has been introduced to the team to roll out over the next few months across the highest energy-consuming sites.

Looking To The Future

The challenge isn’t over; we can always develop beyond our present capability. However, we have laid the foundations to promote continued development and strong departmental communication which can only benefit us as we strive towards maximising our potential and delivering a more comprehensive service to users.

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