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Article Date: 15th July 2013

Schneider Electric - Britain should Follow France’s Lead, says Stuart Thorogood, UK President of Schneider Electric

Energy Management - Electrical Distribution - Energy Control - Energy Automation

Schneider Stuart Thorogood

The recent news that the French government has taken stringent steps to save energy and cut pollution across France should set an example for the rest of the world to follow. The new French law makes it obligatory for all businesses, stores and public buildings to turn all shop window and façade lights off between the hours of 1am and 7am, with fines of up to €750 per night for those companies who do not comply¹.

This incentive marks a radical departure from the norm and a real achievable step towards reducing the country’s annual energy consumption by an amount equivalent to 750,000 households – as well as cutting France’s national energy bill by €200 million a year and greenhouse gas emissions by 250,000 tonnes.

This is a simple step that marks a giant leap into the future of energy management – a step which we in Britain should also take towards reducing our own energy consumption. While the UK government is tied-up with implementing energy management schemes which realistically take months to come into effect, this is the instant solution we need, which allows businesses of all sizes to get involved. The latest digital plug and play BMS technology which now exists in the UK² easily facilitates the scheduled switch off of lights and equipment for every enterprise whether small or large, making the incentive even more achievable.

Utilising modern, digital-based technology enables building users to control each of a building’s five domains – of power, building management, data, process and machines and security – from a single, central point. What’s more, it also provides real-time data on how much energy is saved through each change a user makes to the way in which the building is controlled, meaning the results from an incentive such as this would be measurable on a micro, as well as macroeconomic scale.

If the government were to enforce the same law in the UK, it would encourage more building users to adopt such technologies to avoid the financial repercussions associated with failure to comply. This can only have a positive impact on the future of energy reduction, as modern intelligent building management systems and building analytics are designed to highlight all key areas where a business could be saving money and energy, by providing actionable data to the right people at the right time.

Britain’s companies should already be adopting this technology to ensure their buildings are truly smart and future-proofed. Invoking a law such as this in the UK would have an instant, positive and measurable impact on Britain’s energy reduction strategy, paving the way for future energy reduction schemes. It’s time that the UK Government acted and followed in our neighbour’s footsteps.

¹The Times

²Schneider Electric is a global energy management specialist and has recently launched SmartStruxure™ solution and SmartStruxure™ Lite solution building management systems to help business of all sizes, from every sector, tackle their energy management challenges. Powered by Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare™ software, these systems, ideal for both retrofit and new-build projects, are designed to integrate third-party and legacy equipment across each of a building’s domains, to provide one true version of the right information to the right people, at the right time.

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