Council leads to the way to meeting carbon neutral targets with full control over gas consumption
How did a council take control of their gas data using Stark's end-to-end gas solution?
Oxfordshire County Council has had a proactive energy team since the 1990s. Their work has saved their council money which has then been reinvested into further energy efficiency projects. The team have benefited from Stark’s high-quality electricity data and analytics services for several years, monitoring and targeting consumption across a breadth of sites; from schools to fire stations.
Prior to using Stark’s Gas MAM services, Oxfordshire County Council faced many challenges with visibility over their gas consumption which made it difficult to identify waste. Alongside PV, EV and carbon offsetting projects, it has been crucial for the team to resolve the gas data problems to help the council meet its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030.
In addition to meeting carbon targets for 2030, Deborah Wheatley, the team’s Senior Energy Monitoring & Targeting Consultant, had been looking to gain time for thorough monitoring and targeting, thereby helping the council reach their target of cutting energy spend by 3% YoY.
Historically, Oxfordshire County Council has struggled to manage gas and heating waste, with little visibility into what’s going on at each site. There had been a range of avoidable challenges for Deborah to overcome including:
- Gaps in gas data from incompatible loggers due to frequent Supplier and MOP changes.
- Mismatched data between meter reads and her online analytics platform.
- Lack of time for thorough energy analysis due to the time spent on admin and resolving issues with Suppliers.
- Managing meter readings across all sites during the first quarter, a crucial time to monitor the gas during the heating season.
- Continual change in her portfolio of sites needed a solution that would incur high costs and administrative time in terminating and changing agreements.
For these reasons, Deborah was keen to work with fewer providers, thus moving more services to one partner. Gaining approval for investment and funding into energy services can be quite challenging so she was keen to extend services to Stark, an existing trusted partner for data collection.
Upon understanding Oxfordshire County Council’s gas data challenges, Stark proposed to become their Gas MAM, predicting that this offering could save Deborah almost half of her current AMR costs. Deborah was very happy with Stark’s proposition. “With fewer networking events these days it’s difficult to know what works best. So we were really grateful for Stark to come to us with a proactive solution.”
Once happy with the proposal, it was quick and easy for Deborah to get approval from procurement as they could see that Stark was already a trusted supplier.
Being Supplier independent, Stark has been able to offer Deborah gas metering solutions with a lifespan of over ten years and minimal disruption, resulting in a continuity of high-quality data and a significant reduction in time spent liaising with Suppliers. With Stark’s Gas MAM services, Oxfordshire County Council has also saved costs on termination fees.
Deborah was already a daily user of Stark ID for monitoring electricity consumption and was very pleased to be able to properly interrogate the gas usage on Stark ID, identifying waste and actioning change at site level. She has been able to input numerous parameters for accurate analysis including floor area, population and occupancy.
With new insight into her portfolio’s gas consumption, Deborah is on track to meet the council’s target of reducing energy by 3% on the previous year, with a utility cost equivalent to 2014/15.
Deborah is now able to analyse her consumption daily with continuous Day+1 data on Stark ID. She starts by using seven day CSV data, then interrogates each day in more detail and compares consumption to previous years. “It’s so easy to spot where there is an issue and then start investigating things at site.”
Prior to Stark’s Gas MAM services, fire stations had proved to be difficult to manage with high consumption 24 hours a day. However, Deborah is now able to share information easily with the managers at site and work collaboratively to reduce excess consumption while fire teams are out on emergency calls.
Beyond the benefits of high-quality gas data, Deborah has been very happy with the service she has received from Stark – “I get the impression that Stark is like a mini family and works well together, and that’s rare to find these days.” Deborah says “I have confidence that in the way that Stark handle challenges and get things sorted quickly.”
Oxfordshire County Council is leading the way on energy management within the public sector and is an inspiration in its ambition to meet carbon neutrality by 2030.
To help them achieve their goal, they are looking to expand their services even further with Stark, including the installation of several sub-meters.
“It has been particularly difficult to monitor consumption and energy waste at sites which share premises with other businesses. Some sites have shared usage so we need to start installing sub-meters quickly as it affects our carbon reporting.”
Deborah also hopes to increase engagement and ownership at site level, by setting up more Stark ID users at each site. She is particularly interested in working more with schools. Stark ID offers reports that are easy to interpret, allowing students to engage with how energy is used and visualise the impact of their energy-saving actions.