Smart Metering and visualisation helps the Maritime and Coastguard Agency reduce energy consumption


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is a UK Executive Agency best known for the coordination of Search and Rescue at sea and implementing British and International Maritime Law. 

The Agency has over 500 properties throughout the UK, ranging from a Headquarters in Southampton, Coastguard Sector Bases, Marine Offices and Coastguard Rescue Stations.


Managing such a diverse range of property, in terms of age, location and size presents a challenge when it comes to energy consumption. The MCA, which employs around 1,500 full time staff and has a network of 3,500 coastal rescue volunteers, has significant energy expenditure.

Like many public sector organisations, the MCA has limited resources and must reduce overall costs. Also, in line with the GreeningGovernment Commitments (GGC) Agenda and the CarbonReduction Commitment (CRC), the MCA is committed to managing and reducing energy consumption across its UK wide estate, with a target to reduce its energy consumption by 25% by 2015 from a 2009/10 baseline.

This presented an interesting challenge, as Jonathan Goodman, Sustainable Development Manager at MCA explains, “Our sites and locations are spread across a wide geographical area and are often in isolated and remote areas of the country. For over three years, we had been paying our energy bills based on a large number of estimated readings; our energy bills were increasing year on year, due in part to rising energy costs but also because we weren’t paying for what we were actually using.

We lacked any kind of energy visibility or information on our carbon footprint and it soon became apparent that until we could see what we were using from an energy standpoint, we couldn’t start to make energy reductions and meet the Government’s energy targets.

Being able to accurately and regularly collect meter readings was critical to the success of reducing our energy usage as well as costs.”

Great visibility

A commissioned feasibility study recommended IMServ, the UK’s largest independent energy management provider, who has UK wide capability and is also completely independent. In addition to Automated Meter Readings IMServ offers a wide range of other beneficial services, including: HalfHourly Data Collection and Data Aggregation (HH DC/DA), Half Hourly Meter Operator Services (HH MOP) and NonHalf Hourly Data Processing ( NHH DP/DA).

The feasibility study recommended that MCA installed advanced metering at 30 high consuming sites to trial IMServ’s Smart Metering product, AMR. “IMServ’s customer-led Smart Metering proved to be the solution to helping us gain a deeper understanding of our energy use, and highlight where we could make savings,” explains Jonathan. “We felt confident that the company had the expertise and geographic coverage to meet our very specific needs, and having a tailored support service was also very reassuring to the team.”

“To date, we have rolled out smart metering to over 300 properties throughout the UK, with an additional 10% coming on board over the next 12-18 months. Future initiatives are also planned for gas and water consumption.”

With smart metering now installed in 90% of those buildings where AMR is an achievable option, the MCA is now utilising IMServ’s powerful, energy efficiency, visualisation web tool, Energy DataVision (EDV). This enables the Agency to capture and visualise its energy consumption. “It’s made the process of reducing energy inefficiencies and carbon emissions so much easier because we can see what we are using,” explains Jonathan.

Another major benefit of EDV according to Jonathan is the easy-to-use web portal. “It’s presented on a dashboard so we can spot usage trends, compare location sites, forecast future consumption requirements and highlight areas of energy inefficiency. It has a very useful reporting facility and we can produce comprehensive and meaningful energy reports which my team presents to the Board each month.”

Energy Savings

Armed with the information gained from Automated Meter Readings, the MCA now has the data to start looking at ways to address energy savings. Jonathan explains, “Metering has enabled us to benchmark our properties in terms of category and geographic location and then where problems and issues have been identified, has allowed our Property Managers to put in place preventative actions to reduce excessive energy consumption and reduce waste. We’ve also been able to make energy reductions by improving building efficiency.”

To date, the MCA has made a 5% reduction, year on year, on its energy usage and is on track to meet its 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2015. The Prime Minister recently announced that carbon emissions from government HQs and offices have been slashed by nearly 14% in just one year. It is estimated energy bills have been cut by £13 million as a result of bearing down on energy wastage in government departments.

Jonathan concluded, “We are delighted with the energy saving progress we have made to date IMServ’s comprehensive range of energy monitoring tools and visualisation platforms have been instrumental in helping us achieve these savings.”