Rising commercial utility bills ‘could be time to plan for future’

Greg Jones Lord Combustion Services
Greg Jones, Director, Lord Combustion Services

As energy prices soar, leading Black Country commercial heating and ventilation specialists Lord Combustion Services are helping clients to reduce their usage of utilities during challenging times. Service Director Greg Jones provides some practical advice on how commercial property owners and facilities managers can make smart steps during the current crisis:

With energy prices rocketing to record levels, businesses are having to move quickly to counter the jump in utility bills for their premises.

The price of energy has increased significantly since last summer, both in the UK and globally. The conflict in Ukraine has added further disruption to the market, with bill payers facing more pain as gas and electricity costs continue to rise rapidly.

As we celebrate 40 years in business, the team at Lord Combustion Services have insight into the pressures as we work with more than 1000 clients across the West Midlands.

Customers are looking closely at the energy usage from different perspectives, whether that is care homes or NHS centres which need to keep users warm and safe, or commercial site owners looking to be more efficient to protect the financial bottom line.

Our advice to all our clients is consistent: while you should be smart about consumption in the short term, the current crisis is an opportunity to plan further ahead to deliver longer term benefits.

Operate efficiently

With a track record in delivering efficient systems for clients, the Lord team was recognised for our work when we won the sustainability prize at the West Midlands Business Masters Awards in November. We are assisting clients to reduce their energy usage following our commitment to take up the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge.

We assist clients to ensure that their gas and oil burning equipment are operating as efficiently and reliably as possible.

Our specialist combustion engineers ensure that boilers and burners are set up correctly. We advise every site owner to see regular servicing and inspections as an investment as an expert check enables engineers to repair or replace components as they degrade and effect combustion efficiency.

We encourage the introduction of controls systems which use energy efficient software strategies. If you can match your building services equipment operation to align with the usage and occupancy requirements, you can ensure buildings are only heated when occupied.

Savings can be made by making sure unoccupied areas are not heated to comfort temperatures, switch on times are optimised and buildings are not overheated.

Our design and installation project teams assist by reviewing the efficiency and condition of equipment and advise on options to reduce energy usage including modulating or condensing boilers, controls and inverter drives.

As the move towards renewable heating options gains momentum, building owners should look closely at the conversion to full renewable or hybrid options including air source heat pumps and solar equipment.

One of our biggest successes to date was at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham’s renowned Test venue and the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club. We were asked to introduce a new water system for all areas of the stadium’s £32 million South Stand, including the player changing rooms to the kitchens and corporate hospitality rooms.

With a drive to increase sustainability, Edgbaston’s aim is to become the “greenest cricket club and venue in the UK” so Lord were given a brief to ensure that the hot water set-up met modern standards for efficiency and reduced the use of fossil fuels.

Lord set about replacing gas fired hot water heaters with more modern and efficient cylinders to reduce fossil fuel usage. Lord halved the number of gas fired appliances in the plant room, backed with a system design which allowed for energy efficiency strategies to be implemented.

At the other end of the scale, at Streetsbrook Infant and Early Years Academy in Solihull we delivered heating and hot water systems with improved energy efficiency and reliability. The improved heating output not only reduced fossil fuel usage, it also enabled comfort levels to be achieved via upgraded heat emitters.

Investing in more efficient systems now could mean you see the benefit beyond the current crisis into the years ahead.

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