https://insideDIO.blog.gov.uk/2017/12/11/fish-ing-for-ways-to-reduce-mod-energy-consumption/

FISH-ing for ways to reduce MOD energy consumption

Most of us probably don’t realise the real running costs of the various tools, equipment and technology support systems we use at work. The lighting, heating/cooling appliances, and other tools used by MOD staff in the office environment alone cost approximately 11p per kilowatt hour, the bills for which add up to millions of pounds each year. If you then consider the wide range of equipment we use beyond the office walls, you can begin to imagine the scale of the problem – or the potential for improvement!

Our day-to-day work involves unavoidable electricity use. However, most of us can reduce our usage to save energy and money. [Crown Copyright/MOD2013]
Our day-to-day work involves unavoidable electricity use. However, most of us can reduce our usage to save energy and money. [Crown Copyright/MOD2013]
We are Karen Craddock and Jennifer Doran; we work for the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl), an Executive Agency of the MOD.  Dstl is the UK’s leading government agency in applying science and technology to the defence and security of the UK.  As part of a wider research programme looking at Operational Resilience, we were tasked by the Sustainable MOD Energy Steering Group to investigate behavioural models and tools which could positively influence (i.e. reduce or optimise) our consumption of energy.

Sanctuary Award winner

This work is a collaborative effort; Dstl staff have worked with three external suppliers (BAE Systems, Bright HF and Trimetis) through five phases of activity - Phase 5 continues as we write. As a cohort, we are delighted that this project was recognised in this year’s Sanctuary Awards as the Utilities Project Award Winner.

Team Effort - receiving the 2017 MOD Sanctuary Award, Utilities Category - from L to R: Angela Ellison, DIO; Karen Craddock, Dstl; Andrew Leggatt, Trimetis; Jennifer Doran, Dstl; Tyrone Anderson, BAES.
Team Effort - receiving the 2017 MOD Sanctuary Award, Utilities Category - from L to R: Angela Ellison, DIO; Karen Craddock, Dstl; Andrew Leggatt, Trimetis; Jennifer Doran, Dstl; Tyrone Anderson, BAES.

The work started with the basics: a literature review to identify energy behaviour change best practice and to establish the root causes of MOD energy expenditure. We then designed and distributed a survey to get an understanding of current individual and organisational levels of awareness of energy targets and initiatives. Based on these findings, we developed a step by step approach for encouraging behaviour change called Future Interventions Start Here which was given the catchy title of ‘FISH’.

How FISH works

The next phase of work involved running three case studies to validate the suitability of the FISH approach. The aim was to encourage a group of staff to make small and simple changes to reduce their energy consumption. The focus was on switching off equipment (IT and non-IT) and lighting, over a four-month period.  This case study was run at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

Key Support – personnel at Catterick (outside the trial building) who were central to making the case study a success – from L to R: Kevin Hutchinson, ITC; Tracy Kay, DIO; Stephen Mead, ITC; Maj Jamie Webb-Fryer ITC.
Key Support – personnel at Catterick (outside the trial building) who were central to making the case study a success – from L to R: Kevin Hutchinson, ITC; Tracy Kay, DIO; Stephen Mead, ITC; Maj Jamie Webb-Fryer ITC.

The team worked with the Area Utility Manager and the Building Custodian on site to understand the energy issues unique to this building and the staff working there. Using this knowledge, we tailored a set of interventions and monitored their implementation for four months. The interventions included:

  • Regular feedback on energy usage from the Building Custodian to the Department Heads, who then filtered the information down to staff.
  • Dispelling myths – such as the fact that staff do not need to leave their computers on overnight to receive updates.
  • Visual prompts – such as stickers, checklists, posters, and reminders.

Before, during and after this trial period we measured change with staff attitude and behaviour surveys, meter readings and observational audits. We are pleased to report that the trial went swimmingly! Our results showed average electrical savings of 19 per cent over the four month period, equalling financial savings for the MOD.

Watching the clocks - Stephen Mead, ITC checking meter readings.
Watching the clocks - Stephen Mead, ITC checking meter readings.

More importantly, we found that asking staff to make these simple changes to daily working habits resulted in both increased awareness of energy issues and changes to their behaviour which meant that they used less energy than before the case study began.

Next Steps

Our research concluded that the FISH approach is scientifically robust and easy for managers and staff to understand. The team are now working to roll out this energy saving work across the MOD. We are also developing a training course for MOD staff to share these tips for changing behaviour on a wider scale. We are looking forward to sharing our work with sites across the MOD to get staff hooked on saving energy!

2 comments

  1. Comment by Keith D posted on

    Whatever happened to the idea of spend to save? As most MOD personnel work during 'normal' working hours mostly during the daytime solar energy has to be the way forward to save on the massive electricity bills. If money could be sourced from the Government to fund solar panel installation across the Defence Estate the MOD could potentially save a fortune in the long run by reducing electricity bills with a potential to make money if there was surplus power produced that could be returned to the National Grid. I know it has been looked at, but no action appears to have been taken to further the idea. This may be a more practical way of saving money as we rely more and more on more energy hungry devices to do our work.

    Reply

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