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Arcus Global is test venue for Allia's office energy use pilot


By Mike Scialom


The reception area at the Allia Future Business Centre on Kings Hedges Road, Cambridge
The reception area at the Allia Future Business Centre on Kings Hedges Road, Cambridge

GreenSoul EU project will help make savings

SME Awards Marriot Hotel Huntingdon. CWL Systems Business of the Year Greater than 50 Winner - Arcus Global
SME Awards Marriot Hotel Huntingdon. CWL Systems Business of the Year Greater than 50 Winner - Arcus Global

Allia’s Future Business Centre is the test base for a newly launched EU pilot aimed at identifying eco-awareness and energy efficiency in the workplace.

The programme is being partnered with GreenSoul, a European research project which estimates that energy savings of more than 20 per cent can be achieved through a process of education and monitoring networked devices. Energy efficiency tests are taking place in Bilbao, Spain; Thessaloniki in Greece and Weiz, Austria as well as the UK - a total of six sites, with buildings of various ages and type for analysis.

Arcus Global, a tenant at Allia’s Future Business Centre, has agreed to take part in the UK pilot and will be implementing smart devices in its office to observe the energy usage of its 100 staff.

“We’ve installed circuit-level sub-meters in the pilot area so we can monitor energy use, including luminescence sensors to measure light,” says project manager David Broach.

Special monitoring systems will collect and record data on energy usage – from device level, for an individual (smart plugs will be installed on workstations) as well as at the entire building. GreenSoul’s novel platform will interpret this energy usage and then use individual devices to communicate back to each user with recommendations and advice. A variety of techniques will be used to communicate, from social apps to interactive mechanisms linked to networked devices.

The outcome of the 12-month study will help to bring the energy awareness that most people now have of their domestic use into the office environment.

“People are focused on sustainability in their homes and surroundings, but do not seem as concerned when it comes to their work environment,” said Mr Broach. “This project will explore the potential for energy saving strategies within the workplace, utilising a combination of smart technologies and persuasive techniques, across a range of geographies, climates and building types, to maximise energy savings and efficiencies.”

Tim Lancaster, AWS practice manager at Arcus Global, said: “Arcus Global was created to bring the benefits of cloud technologies including energy efficiency to the public sector. Our systems and services run on AWS infrastructure which uses 88 per cent less energy than a traditional data centre. That’s a big saving but our staff are keen to do more, and this pilot will enable them to reduce their energy usage while testing what initiatives will work best in other offices.”

Also involved in the project is Cambridge Cleantech, which is based at the Future Business Centre. Cambridge Cleantech has assisted Allia for two years in introducing the GreenSoul pilot to Cambridge.

Sam Goodall, international projects manager at Cambridge Cleantech, said: “We are delighted that the pilot has finally got under way after two years of hard work to get to this point. We believe the project will provide some really effective ways of encouraging people to consider and reduce their energy use.”

The variety of techniques involved in making workers aware of their individual and collective energy usage “involves a gamification element”, added Mr Broach. The installed technology includes an interactive coaster which “gives messages to users about their energy usage, including rings which flash a different colour to convey a message – green for OK energy use, red if the user needs to take action to reduce energy use.”

Allia is committed to sustainability and, in addition to its involvement in the Cambridge Cleantech cluster, aligns its work generally with the UN sustainable development goals, ensuring that all projects it supports focus on positive outcomes. The organisation’s buildings are BREEAM accredited (the Cambridge Future Business Centre is rated excellent) and have energy efficiency and sustainability built into every feature, including solar panels and rainwater harvesting system.



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