Friday 30 September 2016

Carbon psychology ‘could drive energy savings of £860m’

Carbon psychology ‘could drive energy savings of £860m’


Carbon psychologists can work with energy managers to bring behavioural change within businesses and potentially save as much as £860 million across industry.

That’s according to Phil Griffiths, Lead low carbon Psychologist at npower Business Solutions (nBS), who believes psychologists can develop training packages to upskill energy managers on techniques in changing behaviour.

He told ELN: “Most energy managers we speak to are solely targeting technology. It’s usually a bolt-on job as well, energy management, whereby a person has been succonded to it and we know that modern day energy management requires to activate the three key elements which are people, processes and technology.

“We’ve got expertise in technology, we’ve got engineers for technology but where are our engineers for behaviour and the correct field to use for that is psychology. We are experts at behaviour change so we can bring that to the energy management triad.”

New research from nBS and Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr) reveal the largest potential savings could be achieved in the wholesale and retail (19.9%), administrative and support (11.4%) and manufacturing (10.8%) sectors.

It adds larger businesses, comprising just 1% of UK industry, could alone achieve 50% of the savings.

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Mr Griffiths believes the biggest barrier to behavioural change is lack of knowledge.

He suggests three things businesses must be aware of: “Understand that energy management comprises of people, processes and technology – just don’t focus on technology, to be data driven so that’s in terms of smart metering and sub metering and to be able to conduct a behavioural audit so you can use the data to the best of your advantage.”

Mr Griffiths helped Tata Steel implement behavioural change at its Trostre plant in South Wales as part of its energy efficiency programme, which has led to savings worth £500,000 overall in the last four years.

Darryl Lewis, Energy Manager at Tata Steel believes the role of an energy manager should be to create lots of other energy managers at different sites.

He told ELN the carbon psychology approach has helped the company convert key production stakeholders to that mindset.

Mr Lewis added: “What [psychologists] can offer you is the ability to understand and quantify the benefits that can be delivered through the mindset and behaviour change.

“It’s perceived to be a low cost opportunity with which to reduce your energy bills. It’s not always quantifiable but being a low cost option, it should be one of the key elements of an energy management matrix, aiming to reduce overall site consumption or business costs associated with energy.”

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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