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24 Mar

Who is the Energy Champion in Your Business

by Sarah Wilkinson
 
Making one of your employees an energy champion can be a very effective way of controlling energy costs and the Carbon Trust has published a number of tips for how to make the best of such a role. They include: Reporting energy waste they notice, such as equipment left on unnecessarily. Ensuring equipment and machinery are well-maintained and working efficiently. Contributing and gathering ideas for improving the way things are done. Testing and implementing new processes. Communicating good practice and being an ambassador for change.   It’s also vital that your energy champion has the visible support of top management and all the necessary resources they need to be effective. According to the Carbon Trust approach, the energy champion should: Be the eyes and ears for energy wastage. Be responsible for reading meters and checking fuel bills. Develop a weekly or monthly checklist of duties. Consider forming an action team to report on progress and encourage further action. A good way of identifying waste initially is to stage an energy walkabout.  Because your energy usage patterns will vary throughout the day, the walkabout times should be varied to match, for example, when the cleaners are in, at lunch, and at night or over weekends. From these walks, your energy champion can identify where energy is being wasted and the possible reasons.  Is it a lack understanding, are procedures being overlooked, is repair or necessary to reduce energy costs, or there is a need for capital investment, for example?
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24 Mar

Robots Could be Staffing Hotels by 2020

by Sarah Wilkinson
 
Almost two thirds of travellers in Asia, Europe, North America and South America would be comfortable with robots being used in the travel industry, a new study has found. Travelzoo conducted the research as part of its Future of Travel project, a study of consumer acceptance of robots in the travel and tourism sector.  It found that nearly 80% of the 6,000+ travellers surveyed expect robots to play a big part in their lives by 2020. The main advantages respondents saw in robots were related to general efficiency, data retention and recall.  More than three-quarters thought robots would be better than humans at handling data (81%) and dealing with different languages (79%), and 76% believed robots would have better memories.  81% of respondents selected their untiring energy as an advantage. “Right now is a very exciting moment in the history of the travel industry – groundbreaking technology is revolutionising what is possible from the perspective of customer service, entertainment and personalisation,” Richard Singer, Travelzoo’s European President, said. “Robots and artificial intelligence are making their debut on the tourism stage, and our research into global acceptance of robots working in the travel industry is largely positive.” However, he added:  “While the advent of technology such as robot butlers and bartenders is hugely exciting, it’s also very clear from our research that consumers see the combination of robots and humans working in tandem in customer-facing roles as the ideal solution. “Consumers still want humans in the picture, as otherwise there is a genuine fear that cultural nuances, humour and irony will be missed and the holiday experience could become too impersonal.  If we don’t respect the desire for the human touch, we risk ‘robophobia’ setting in, when in fact technology can significantly improve the holiday experience when used appropriately.”
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23 Mar

Men Are From Mars or Men Are on Mars?

by Sarah Wilkinson
 
A Russian rocket blasted into space this month to investigate whether any methane gas is present on Mars, as part of the joint ExoMars project created by the European and Russian space agencies. Methane is a gas created by living microbes, and if it were to be detected it would be a revelation in the space industry as it could prove that life exists or existed on the red planet, some 225 million kilometres away from the Earth (which is itself something of a shock, given that in 2003 Mars was a mere 56 million kms away). We already know there is life-giving water on Mars.  Just like the Earth it has ice caps, although the water they contain is more elusive.  The American space agency NASA made a huge discovery in 2006 when it found there was water flowing through the planet in even the hottest months of the year, and that the ‘lines’ that appear on our satellite images of Mars are streaks of flowing salt water. That’s when the questions ‘did life exist on Mars, and can we find out?’ really started to arise. The ExoMars project involves sending up a Trace Gas Orbiter to sniff the Martian atmosphere for methane, and if the results are positive then this would establish that methane has been generated via geology or a biological process. As part of the same mission, a stationary lander called Schiaparelli will test the technology for a subsequent mission – ExoMars 2018 – which will see a UK-built rover collect soil samples filled with water particles and drill below the planet’s surface to look for other signs of life.  That’s when the search for Martian life will start in earnest. These two projects combined will cost an eye-watering £900 million but isn’t it worth it for the chance to make one of the biggest discoveries of all time?  What a time to be alive! Planetary scientist Dr Peter Grindrod, from Birkbeck, University of London, who is funded by the UK Space Agency, certainly thinks so.  “It’s incredibly exciting,” he enthused.  “This is a series of missions that’s trying to address one of the fundamental questions in science: is there life anywhere else besides the Earth?  Finding that life exists elsewhere in the solar system would be a huge discovery, so the evidence has to be strong.  As they say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Wouldn’t it be amazing to find out if there really is Life On Mars, or if there has been in the past.  It’s astonishing to think there could be more than just us Earthlings in our solar system!
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23 Mar

What Is P272?

by Jordan Garnett
 
What is P272? P27what? You aren’t alone in the dark about P272.  P272 is regarded as one of the biggest shakeups to the business electricity market since deregulation. Sounds more like a character out of star wars,  but here are some facts on P272,  which we have put together hopefully jargon free. If you unsure on how P272 affects your business please do not hesitate to contact us for free on 0800 781 7626, we will be delighted to help you further. You may also like to view our infographic and visit our support page dedicated to the P272 OFGEM legislation. The Facts – What Is P272 P272 is a new regulation which has been implemented by OFGEM. It affects the way suppliers settle electricity consumption for businesses with a specified energy use. Resulting in sites being changed to half hourly. Remember, remember the 5th November… “Guy Fawkes?”. No, no… this is when the P272 migration began! The deadline for all sites to be settled to Half-Hourly is 1st April 2017. Don’t be fooled by the date, it really is 1st April! Also, don’t be put off by the 2017 threat – it’ll be here before you know it! The settlement is being put in place in order for suppliers to balance the amount of energy being purchased from the Generators. The aim for P272 is to make the readings more accurate via the half hourly consumption. This will provide distributors with more understanding on electricity use. This results in networks ensuring they are sufficiently developed and maintained. Ultimately, P272 helps you and your business manage and also use the energy smartly. It gives you the opportunity to see where and when you are consuming energy. Also, a more accurate settlement which could lead to better tariff rates… something nobody would say no to, agreed? Now you (hopefully) have a little more understanding of P272 here is how to prepare: Learn if your portfolio is affected. Speak to your supplier, they will be more than happy to explore your options with you. Select your Half-Hourly Meter and Data Collector. If your business has a maximum demand electricity supply categorised by profile classes: 05 06 07 08 And you have an Automated Meter Reading meter of which is capable of HH data collection and remote programming. Just to let you know… 160,000 sites are affected so it is definitely worth double, maybe even triple checking! “How do I check?!” I hear you say? Simple… you just check the S number at the top of your electricity bill to find out your sites profile class.   Believe it or not, P272 can be very beneficial for you and here’s why: You receive accurate billing It offers you the ability to avoid peak times of electricity use It gives you an insight on your energy usage It allows you to make room for an opportunity of improvement and efficiency REMEMBER… This is an OFGEM regulation affecting ALL maximum demand meters and ALL electricity suppliers equally. If you’re being advised P272 does not affect your business, please let us double check this for you.  
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