BT goes big on advanced energy tech to cut consumption, bills

Smart meters and other advanced technologies are helping one of Britain’s top 10 energy-users to make a significant dent in its power consumption and bills.

Communications service giant BT says it’s set to shave £13 million a year off its energy bills, as well as cut its carbon footprint by 5 percent, thanks to a combination of metering, energy management and networking technologies being rolled out across thousands of its offices, telephone exchanges and data centers. The resulting energy reduction is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by 23,000 UK homes.

Being deployed to more than 110 buildings a month, the system will eventually encompass more than 22,000 smart energy meters and 1,500-plus building energy management systems. Coupled with an advanced control network over broadband, the system will let BT monitor and control energy consumption and make sure its heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are working efficiently.

The program is part of BT’s goal to cut its carbon intensity by 80 percent by 2020, compared to 1997 levels. It’s an ambitious target, considering the company’s UK networks, data centers and offices currently use 2,342 gigawatt-hours of energy — that’s equivalent to 0.7 percent of all the electricity used in Britain.

BT is already one of the UK’s largest consumers of low-carbon energy. In addition to its energy management program, it plans to build enough wind turbines to generate 25 percent of its British energy needs from renewables by 2016.

The energy management system now being rolled out will provide real-time data on energy consumption and environmental conditions across key buildings and telephone exchange sites. A central software-based system will then be able to analyze that data to identify places where efficiency could be further improved, cooling and heating could be optimized, and waste could be reduced.

“Thousands of smart meters placed at BT offices, telephone exchanges and data centres will help us monitor energy usage levels and identify areas where we can deliver savings and make buildings more efficient,” said Richard Tarboton, director of energy and carbon for BT.

The company plans to begin deploying similar energy management systems globally next year. It currently serves customers in more than 170 countries.


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