Bristol City Council: surviving the current energy climate


With additional ‘green’ legislation looming, the need to know more about how, when and where energy is being used in buildings, and how usage can be reduced to save money and cut CO2, has moved up the agenda. With the help of IMServ, Bristol City Council are leading the way in energy management – not only to control and reduce consumption and costs to benefit the public and help budgets go further, but to actively address environmental issues.

Leading the Way

Fortunately for the UK’s seventh largest city, Bristol City Council has a well established Energy Management Unit, which has grown and developed over the past twenty years in parallel with the ever changing energy market. This has provided the council with valuable know-how and the ability to adapt to change.

The Customer Says


This story however is not the case for many other councils and public sector organisations, as Paul Isbell, Energy Manager for Bristol City Council comments, “Historically the requirement for an energy department or designated energy manager within the public sector was eliminated with the importance of the subject matter declining and the heightening of other priorities. Times have changed and an emphasis on energy, how and when we use it and the impacts that it has on the environment is now an imperative subject which is largely being enforced through government legislations such as the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which has brought the requirement for building energy performance certificates.

Such legislations and the spotlight on energy efficiency, plus carbon trading has brought to many public sector organisations, especially councils, a particular ‘fear factor’ and reluctance associated with practical issues that might suggest change is difficult. Paul Isbell comments, “Understanding energy need not be difficult or intimidating”. He adds that, “a decision, whether it be wrong, is better than no decision at all”.

New Insights

As you would expect, Bristol’s portfolio of sites is vast, ranging from offices, leisure centres, schools and libraries. As a leader in the energy management arena, the Energy Management Unit acts as a purchasing consortium, procuring oil, gas and electricity for a portfolio of over 1000 buildings and a number of other local authority clients, taking on the responsibility of monitoring and paying utility bills. So having access to accurate energy data is critical.

The IMServ Solution

The council has found that modern technologies and tools can smooth the process. For example, by gaining an insight into energy consumption through IMServ’s easy to use online tool, Energy DataVision. The tool puts data into context and adds value to it, enabling energy managers and buyers, procurement managers, facilities managers and other key personnel to meet and exceed their professional targets.

Adding up the Costs

Bristol City Council has found that there are various financial benefits to be gained too. Complete visibility on energy usage eliminates any surprise billing issues and with 98-99% accuracy of actual energy usage EDV is a powerful predicative tool that can be used for budgeting and forecasts. As Paul comments, “having a tool where you have the ability to just go and have a look is invaluable.”