Why adopting a green-data first approach is essential when managing public estates

21 September 2022
Night time image of Belfast.
Speak to an expert about your challenge

In the drive towards net zero, too many supposedly green measures are unsupported by hard evidence, argues Amey’s Chief Engineer, Dave O'Shaughnessy.

Addressing climate change and supporting the drive towards net zero has never been more important and facilities management companies have a critical role to play.  We must move quickly to make changes in the way we do things if we are to protect our planet and create a sustainable way of life for future generations.

While prompt action is clearly important, we must also make sure the measures we take are supported by evidence. 

It is all too easy to put plans in place in the hope that they will deliver energy savings and to make strident claims for the initiatives we choose.  But too many green measures promise more than they deliver and if we scratch the surface many claims do not stand up to scrutiny.

Initiatives that are not supported by evidence are ultimately simply green washing, no matter how well intentioned or hopeful.  That is why at Amey we believe that in the move towards net zero, robust data has never been more important.  Without it, we simply cannot know the effectiveness of the measures we take.

Strong data is an essential component of effective asset management.

It gives an accurate picture of performance and allows us to adapt our management quickly as circumstances change, tailoring use and approach to maximise performance and so efficiency. 

Setting trusted energy utilisation data against robust analytics data is critical if we are to scrutinise green measures properly, ensuring we have the right assets in place now and that we are managing those assets to achieve best possible performance.  The right data sets are also essential for planning ahead effectively, pinpointing the optimum time to replace assets and allowing clients to make the best choices when it comes to capital investment.

That’s why at Amey our focus is on a new data management system that develops our offer to our clients.  This allows us to move away from legacy systems and the associated array of different measures and standards. Instead, it allows us to review performance against uniform standards, using consistent data sets.     

Benchmarking assets accurately results in performance levels fit for today and for the future. 

It allows for efficiencies, energy savings and for safety improvements.  To give a simple example, Amey’s trial of remote sensors on taps will allow for accurate usage data and associate energy savings but will also help protect against legionnaires disease where temperature control is critical.

In building management systems, robust data allows us to spot consumption outside of expected ranges and, critically, to act to adapt our approach and reduce consumption.  Similarly, in maintenance planning heat maps of sites support clients to crack down on waste and target resources effectively.

At Amey, we see this strategic, data-driven approach as key. That is why we invest in research to inform our approach and why we have built pioneering partnerships with academia to help us deliver the most forward-looking and robust solutions for our facilities management clients.  It is also what drives our skills strategy, ensuring we put the right skills in place to deliver for our clients and for the planet.

It is easy to make claims about sustainability, but green action must be supported by evidence.

A data-driven approach allows clients to invest in the most effective way.  It allows them to break down how and when they invest to maximum benefit. It allows for a long term, future-proofed approach and delivers dividends for the bottom line.  But most importantly of all, it supports a more sustainable future for us all.


Speak to an expert about your challenge.