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Scottish building optimisation company arbnco has partnered with Centrica to develop a prototype that automatically optimises a business’ total energy consumption as well as the energy performance of individual premises.

The platform uses this data to generate a bespoke list of physical and behavioural energy efficiency recommendations together with costs, trusted suppliers and finance options. arbnco will deploy a prototype of its SME energy efficiency digital platform in three locations across the UK - central Scotland, the West Midlands and Bridgend in Wales.

arbnco won a £641,000 contract from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of an innovation competition which aims to help the UK’s 5.9m SMEs become more energy efficient.

Led by arbnco, the project brings together expertise from multinational energy and services company Centrica, Energy Systems Catapult, Aston Business School, Durham County Council and sustainable finance company, Cyan Finance.

The platform will utilise a range of data sources such as energy consumption and building energy performance, retrieved automatically or supplied by the SME, to generate a bespoke list of physical and behavioural energy efficiency recommendations together with costs, trusted suppliers and finance options. 

 Andrew Stewart, Research and Development Manager at arbnco, explained how the platform has been developed with the end user in mind:

“The first phase of the project focussed on the technical feasibility of the platform as well as, understanding of the obstacles that SMEs face when it comes to energy efficiency. A review of potential business models was conducted by Energy Systems Catapult during the first phase. Bringing Centrica on board for phase two will provide greater insight and access to SMEs as we look to roll the platform out nationwide.

“By providing SMEs with critical insight into their energy use and tailored retrofit recommendations, based on an assessment of the energy performance of their building and patterns in their energy consumption, we can help thousands of businesses become more energy efficient.”

Liam Burlinson, Head of Business Energy Efficiency at British Gas Business, commented:

“SMEs have a critical role to play as the UK strives to meet its net zero targets, but they often don’t know where to start when it comes to improving energy efficiency. Centrica is committed to helping customers become more sustainable and we think arbnco’s platform can help tackle some of the fundamental barriers that exist for SMEs today - such as lack of time, money or internal expertise to make targeted, cost effective changes.”             

Phase two of the project commenced in February 2020 and runs for 14 months. Following completion in April 2021, the platform will be rolled out nationally.

The BASEE initiative was launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy  as part of the Clean Growth Strategy, which aims to improve business productivity by enabling businesses to improve their energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030, delivering up to £6bn cost savings for businesses and Carbon savings of up to 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.


Susie Haywood
Article by Susie Haywood
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