Unite Set For 10% Energy Reduction though IoT project
Unite is the UK’s leading student accommodation provider. A FTSE 250 company and listed on the London Stock Exchange, it manages over 130 properties and houses 42,000 students across 24 major cities nationwide.
The company has seen continued expansion since it was founded in 1991 and now has nearly 1000 employees. At the end of 2012 Unite began work on a new development in Camden which will provide quality accommodation for 563 students, with a view to adding a further 4000 beds across London sites by 2014. Unite provides an ideal setting for young people living away from home for the first time, with a simple rent structure that includes heating and electricity bills.
Bill shock avoided with greener and more cost-effective management
Although including energy bills in the rent can make life easier for tenants, it can encourage excessive energy consumption from some students. With electricity the second largest bill for Unite it needed to take measures to ensure it was being both greener and more cost-effective.
Not only did Unite have to deal with ever-rising tariffs, but it had to battle with the increased energy consumption of students coming to the UK from warmer countries. It wanted to capitalise on an increasingly environmentally aware student body and foster a greater sense of responsibility over energy bills amongst its residents.
By finding out where and when the most energy was being expended, they could better devise strategies to reduce energy consumption. Key to this plan was a monitor that wasn’t intrusive to the business or the residents and that didn’t require releasing staff to take meter readings.
Award winning solution selected
After other suppliers failed to provide satisfactory solutions that could offer the efficiency and data levels required, Unite’s Operations Manager Neil Hinwood was put in touch with Eseye’s Channel Development Manager Malcolm Barnes.
It was clear that Shoebill, winner in the Home Energy category at the 2013 European Smart Metering Awards, was the perfect fit for Unite. Not only would it collect data more frequently than similar products on the market – every half an hour instead of once or twice a day – but unlike other monitors, it could measure consumption from two units through its twin current clamp sensors.
This would effectively halve the cost and installation time for Unite. Not only is the product itself is cost-efficient, but the data transfer is also extremely cost-effective, sending only lightweight UDP (user datagram protocol) packets to its server to turn into http posts. Of course, on top of its competitive cost-saving solutions, it would ultimately save Unite the most money by allowing them to work out how best to manage their energy.
It’s a brilliant tool that really pays for itself because it educates people on energy efficiency. What’s so often missing from other energy monitoring services is context. Users might have information on their electricity usage, but they don’t necessarily know how efficient they actually are because other devices only collect and report data, rather than analyse it. Shoebill sends your data to a server, which then allows you to compare your usage with other people.
Paul Marshall Eseye CCO