Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland recently saved £165,000 following a campaign in which a number of its factories ‘powered down’ at peak energy periods.
Working with our energy supplier, SmartestEnergy, the campaign focussed on more than 20 of our factories in the UK and Ireland and aimed to minimise our explosure to ‘Triad’ charges which are levied on large business users based on their electricity use over the three half-hours of highest demand on the grid each winter.
Saint-Gobain Glass' Engineering Manager Michael Dickinson calculated that the charges mean running costs at its sites can rocket by as much as 500 times during one of the Triad periods which are announced by National Grid at the end of each winter.
“Although it represents a sizeable proportion of business energy bills, the Triad system is something of a mystery to most people so we wanted to raise awareness across our sites, explain how it works and look at some of the ways we could look to reduce our costs,” explained Michael.
By switching some machinery off or rescheduling factory operations for a short period of time from around 4pm to 6pm – the peak time for Triads – demand across the sites during the three Triad periods showed an 11% fall and led to a total saving of £165,000.
At one site alone - Holwell Works at Melton Mowbray – a saving was achieved equivalent of more than a whole month’s energy costs there. The site’s success saw it recently presented with the first Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland Energy Management Award.
“As well as reducing our costs and helping maintain our competitiveness, it also ties in well with our aims as a company to minimise environmental impact and contribute to the economic and social well-being of the communities we operate in,” said Michael.
“Reducing our peak demand plays a part in helping balance the grid, ensuring the UK’s energy supplies are maintained and reducing the need for more generation capacity to be built.”
Although the timing of the Triad periods isn’t known in advance, Saint-Gobain subscribes to SmartestEnergy’s Triad alerting service which assesses a range of factors including historic trends and temperature to determine when they are likely.
We are planning on working alongside SmartestEnergy again to launch a new joint awareness campaign ahead of this winter.