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MEP - There is another way for industry this new year.

Dominic Evans (Co-founder and Director) considers a fresh approach to MEP design, maintenance and refurbishment for commercial clients. "This should be the light bulb

moment for industry that will benefit the planet in the long run too."

Installing systems for heating, cooling, lighting etc. into a new building comes with much responsibility. If the systems we install use, say, 30% more energy than an alternative, it continues to do so for a long time; maybe 20 years or more of using more energy and costing more to run. It is why engineers work hard to match the correct technology for the intended use.

I spend more time then ever looking at existing schemes with a view to retro-fitting solutions and I never fail to be disappointed by what I find. Oversized, over specified, poorly installed and badly selected, out-dated products are the norm. As carbon footprint reduction becomes an increasingly important element of CSR, it seems ridiculous that these issues still prevail, impacting long-term on profit and planet.

The typical sequence of events seems to be; client calls a contractor to a faulty boiler (or other item of plant). The item is condemned, and costs submitted to replace it. The client takes a sharp intake of breath and decides to gather alternative quotes. Client instructs the item to be replaced, and does so focusing only on installation cost.

There is another way. I suggest the inclusion of an additional step; an independent opinion on the right plant for the current usage. If the plant has failed then it’s probably old, and as technology evolves, the design of the equipment that can do the same job does as well. You might be able to replace with something smaller, cheaper, more efficient, or all the above, and still end up with performance you are happy with. The point is…you won’t know unless you address the status quo.

It’s not just about cost. I have had a smart thermostat in my house for a couple of years now. I talked to the company that sold it to me before I bought it. We discussed cost savings and he confidently explained that could be achieved, if I wanted it to. Actually, the heating costs me a little bit more than the previous version as it uses its “brain” to look at the outside temperature, and it will turn the heating on earlier to ensure my house reaches the comfort of 19 oC by the time I wake up. To me (and my family), that is money well spent!

There is very little nowadays in respect of investment in home or commercial premises which cannot be tailored as a bespoke solution. The first question anyone designing an extension or kitchen is asked is ‘how do you want to live in it?’. The same is applicable for heating solutions. Taking expert advice to design options which have long-term considerations in efficiency and cost, whilst responding to the needs of the client on a day-to-day basis, represents a ‘win’ for customer and climate. What are you waiting for?

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