February | March 2023 ENERGY 24 Procuring ahead: tackling energy ine ciency with greener upgrades Volume 9 No.2 Facilities managers working with energy- intensive HVAC systems are continuing to face mounting pressures in terms of rising costs and sustainability targets. This perfect storm of factors is compelling industry to consider new ways of thinking when approaching energy usage. Specifically, stakeholders need to address challenges that have been exacerbated by inflated operational expenditure. A recent report by the world’s leading energy authority the IEA further supports this, claiming that the energy crisis has strengthened the economic arguments in favour of cost-competitive, cleaner technologies 1 . However, organisations must be wary of protecting their ability to increase production due to potential rises in demand. In fact, despite the UK’s current economic turbulence, experts are predicting long-term growth in the air conditioning and refrigeration markets. For example, according to Business Growth Reports, the global market for HVAC services is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 4.9% between 2022-2028 2 . This demonstrates the importance of a robust procurement plan that addresses immediate energy challenges, while incorporating long-term changes in output, especially given the increasing market volatility. Moreover, with the manufacturing industry often experiencing process bottlenecks, such as unplanned downtime, well-placed suppliers have a leading role to play to align businesses procurement plans with external industry realities. Targeting inefficiencies The UK’s wider economic challenges have prompted managers across industry to review capital expenditure plans and investigate areas where e ciencies can be identified. Aggreko’s recent Greener Manufacturing report highlighted that industrial facilities are too often relying on poorly sized systems – including air conditioning and temperature control equipment - which can prove ine cient. This prompts considerable di culties for organisations as while they face increasing pressure to cut costs, wasted energy usage is incessantly hitting their bottom lines. Nevertheless, this issue of ine cient production mechanisms also shines a light on avenues by which manufacturers can reduce costs and boost productivity. A recent report from Make UK, for instance, found that 54% of manufacturers say the rising energy costs are driving their decarbonisation plans 3 . This illustrates the influence escalating energy prices have had in prompting businesses to revaluate their approach to production and the widely accepted proposition that adopting greener equipment upgrades can protect an organisation’s competitive edge. Preparing for the unpredictable The route by which businesses can most e ectively enhance operational e ciencies and minimise energy expense is by integrating greener technologies into their existing production infrastructure. However, while industry clamours for cleaner solutions, Ruth Martin, UK & Ireland Manufacturing Sector Expert at Aggreko, discusses how the HVAC industry can circumnavigate the issues associated with rising energy prices while supporting the drive to reduce emissions, through flexible energy solutions.