Government departments publish real time energy use for headquarters buildings

Following the PM’s announcement on 14 May 2010, 18 department HQ buildings now have real time energy displays, most of which have the capability to report data in intervals of less than one hour, and a delay of no more than one day.

We have seen a range of systems put in place by departments. DECC and Home Office were amongst the first departments to get systems up and running – the sites look very different but the output is similar. Behind the scenes, the equipment needed varies according to what is already installed in buildings; some systems use existing building management systems, others needed bespoke equipment which allows communication between energy meters and IT networks.

Now that these systems are in place, the challenge is to ensure that these systems are used to reduce energy use.

Already we are starting to see positive results as the detailed real time energy data helps departments identify where they are using the most energy and when. With this information they can then work out how to reduce energy use, for example making sure heating and cooling systems are turned on and off at the right times. This is already leading to energy savings.

When you consider that the energy costs for some buildings are very significant then it is evident that even small percentage savings will have a significant cash impact. The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, who installed real time energy systems back in October 2009 estimates that savings using real time energy systems might be as high as 20%.

For us, the interesting point of this policy is the impact of transparency. Publishing this data online has really focussed minds; In the words of Chris Huhne “There can be no hiding place for energy waste in central government”.


  1. Comment by martinbudden posted on

    This is great. Could you also get these sites to include a link to their Display Energy Certificate (DEC) and the associated Advisory Report (AR).

    Also all the DECs and ARs are available at "operated by Landmark Information Group on behalf of the Government", however these are password protected PDFs. What's more a CAPTCHA is required to access each DEC. The Display Energy Certificates have been funded by the taxpayer and we should easy access to them. Can you get the Landmark Information Group to make this information directly accessible?


    • Replies to martinbudden>

      Comment by Anonymous posted on

      It seems to me that there is not nearly enough publicly published data regarding EPC certificates. The landmark database gives numbers of EPC lodged each month but little else. What I would really like to see is some information about the level of compliance, pariticulary within the commercial sector, where I suspect many buildings are rented or sold without an EPC in place. Hopefully this laudable level of transparency within government will go some way to helping incresse compliance in the future.

      • Replies to Anonymous>

        Comment by Anonymous posted on

        Hopefully, the proposed changes from the 1st July will address the issues will compliance. TSOs currently have the power to require the ’relevant person’ (i.e. the seller or landlord) to produce copies of the EPC for inspection and to take copies if necessary. The power to require the production of documents will be extended to include persons acting on behalf of the seller or landlord – e.g. estate agents and letting agents. This means, for example, that TSOs will be authorized to require estate agents to produce evidence showing that an EPC has been commissioned where they are marketing a building without one.


  2. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    With government buildings being monitered for thier energy usage or saving is a real step in the right direction.
    Being able to see that the government is leading by example is a surefire way to getting industry and other businesses to follow suite.
    Garry Booton

  3. Comment by jamal_celsiuseconomics posted on

    Hi. I applaud the initiative for greater transparency, though there the inevitable teething problems are cropping up.

    I have been checking some of the data ahead of analysing them. Found some errors (informed the relevant teams). Please can some sense-checking of the data be done before publishing them.

    For example, According to the spreadsheet for Defra, on the 05/08/10, an incredible 2,245,413.28 kWh of electricity used between 23.30 and 00.00. This can't be right. To give some perspective, this is equivalent to the peak use of half a million households in the UK!

    If it is right, it must have been some party!

  4. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    As has been previously stated, in my opinion it is also the commercial sector which needs clamping down on. There needs to be more procedures put in place to ensure that landlords of commercial units are playing by the book and being compliant with current legislation. 

    October the 1st should bring some new regulations and rules surrounding the EPC, and it will be interesting to see how these are taken within the industry.


    Sam @ Greenhouse Energy

  5. Comment by Anonymous posted on

    It is great to see transparency in energy use within government departments. Leading the fight form the front and it is also very interesting to that this information is publicly available. Commercial property has a masive impact on GB's carbon footprint and be regulated more with incentives put in place for the more efficient bulding premises. Hopefully the Green Deal will be a success and will benefit commercial property owners.

  6. Comment by Home Standards posted on

    I would like to see the life of an energy performance certificate be bought down from 10 years to 3 years.


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