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Introducing carbon emission monitoring measures to meet the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) could put a strain on investment in technology that lowers energy bills, believes Steve Ruddell of ABB.

The CRC is a cap and trade scheme introduced by the government and aimed at reducing the carbon emissions by one third by 2050.

The scheme requires 5,000 organisations that consume over 6GWh/year and who operate half hourly metering to join, and participants will be required to purchase carbon allowances based on the information packs they receive from the Environment Agency.

Initially, organisations need to ensure they accurately monitor their energy use emissions and capture the information into a database designed to perform all monitoring and targeting functions.

While some organisations have chosen to outsource their carbon emission monitoring to property partnerships or facility management companies, many are reporting that collecting the energy data is resource intensive, particularly where manual readings have been required.

Installation of many automated meter reading (AMR) systems has been a lengthy process.

Ruddell said: ‘Although revenue neutral to the Exchequer, CRC will have cash flow implications for qualifying organisations.

‘An energy saving of up to five per cent will be needed to cover the average cost of administration within an organisation.

‘Clearly it is essential that the correct monitoring and targeting measures are in place, but we are urging all organisations to promptly move beyond this stage.’ He added: ‘The real energy saving and carbon reduction benefits come from implementing technologies that lower the actual energy consumed and therefore the carbon dioxide emitted.

This is where the ongoing focus needs to be.

‘For example, one of the biggest contributors to energy consumption in buildings is the numerous fans and pumps used in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

‘ABB has created a six-step CRC plan that includes details on its free energy appraisal, aimed at identifying which fans and pumps could benefit from variable speed drive control.

‘Variable speed drives are used to regulate the speed of the electric motor driving the fan or pump.

Saving up to 60 per cent of the electricity bill is possible with pay back as short as six months,’ he said.

At the end of each year, company performance, mainly based on absolute carbon reductions since the start of the scheme, will be summarised in league tables outlining the best and worse performers in terms of carbon emissions and reduction.

The auction revenues generated through the initial sale of credits will be recycled back to participants, with companies receiving payments back from government in relation to their first year emissions, plus or minus a bonus or penalty dependent on their position in the league table.

ABB has identified several applications within buildings that can immediately benefit from variable speed drives, including liquid cooler fans, condenser water pumps, chiller compressors, chilled water pumps, supply fans and return fans.

ABB Automation Tech – Drives and Motors

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