How National Grid Optimized Space to Save £8million

National Grid are an international electricity and gas company based in the UK and northeastern US. They play a vital role in connecting millions of people safely, reliably and efficiently to the energy they use.

They are responsible for delivering energy to support our world long into the future. Working with a variety of stakeholders to promote the development and implementation of sustainable, innovative and affordable energy solutions.

In 2013, Irisys entered a pioneering collaboration with National Grid as part of their Smart Work Space initiative (SWS). The main scheme objectives were:

  • To improve the utilization of buildings within the National Grid estate
  • To drive operational efficiencies
  • To improve staff engagement and productivity through a more collaborative working environment.

Irisys, with a world leading position in the people counting industry and over 500,000 devices deployed worldwide, was selected to work with National Grid to create a solution that would meet these requirements, equipping the management team with the information they needed to meet these challenging objectives.

National Grid Logo

Project scope

Industry sector: Corporate office buildings

Geography: UK

Service solution: People counting occupancy sensors, True Occupancy analytics platform

Project size: 12,000 employees

The Irisys system is expected to help National Grid maintain a saving of £8 million in the first year, and over £48 million in the first 5 years, with an ROI of less than 12 months.

"The Irisys solution compared to other similar solutions was more attractive due to the low cost, ease and scalability of its deployment. It was also completely passive and there were no privacy issues which was key to ensuring buy in from our colleagues."

Jo Salmon - Innovation Manager, Corporate Property, National Grid

Business issue

National Grid needed an objective way to measure building usage

National grid operate a large estate of offices, depots, stores and training centres, representing a large investment on the part of the company. Ensuring that the available space is used efficiently and provides the best possible working environment for National Grid’s 12,000 employees is a major concern.

Additionally, as part of their efforts to operate an environmentally sustainable business, National Grid needed a system that would be able to give an objective measure of their building usage and capacity to support their property and agile smart workspace strategy into the future.

Solution

Industry leading technology and passive detection

Despite Irisys systems being best known for delivering industry leading technology and operational improvements in the retail sector, the inherent strengths of the thermal kinetics technology it is based on had clear advantages that met the stringent requirements set by National Grid, who needed a system that was:

  • Passive
  • Unobtrusive
  • Cloud hosted
  • Guaranteed to ensure employee privacy
  • Easy to scale across their large estate of UK based offices
  • Low cost and impact of deployment
  • Capable of delivering a quick ROI
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Cloud hosted platform and reporting

Being cloud hosted with multi-platform data reporting meant that the reports and data generated could be accessed from a variety of devices, from laptops to tablets, supporting National Grid’s commitment to using the latest technology, and delivering improved internal ROI for their investment.

Being a passive detection system based on Infrared technology, the solution was highly energy efficient and reliable, consuming less than 2W of power per unit, and with a fast rollout time thanks to the years of experience Irisys already has installing similar networks for retailers. This also brings the benefit of generating data completely anonymously, with the infrared people counting system.

Bespoke building occupancy reports

A significant aspect of the project was the bespoke reports designed in collaboration between Irisys and National Grid that would deliver building occupancy in a way that was easy to interpret and action.

The reports give users access to a wide variety of information about the building, including:

  • A colour-coded summary report of individual zone occupancy for a day
  • Graphs showing weekly trends in zone occupancy for more detailed analysis
  • Rolling monthly average and maximum occupancy level
  • Annual reports showing overall trends in building utilisation

"It’s great for helping internal customers understand how their space is being used and provides important feedback to building managers on building usage."

Simon Carter - Head of Corporate Property, National Grid

Business benefits

First year savings over £8million

The building utilisation solution is currently being deployed across the majority of the National Grid estate, and has already brought several key benefits to the company’s property team.

In the first year of operation, National Grid has improved its space utilisation at its Warwick head -quarters, relocating 1200 staff and closing several other sites, making a significant reduction in overhead costs. Having this objective and accurate data is supporting a more effective use of the available space, and will identify other areas of spare capacity in the future.

In conjunction with the wider SWS initiative, the Irisys system is expected to help National Grid maintain a saving of £8 million in the first year, and over £48 million in the first 5 years, with an ROI of less than 12 months.

"The new Irisys system has helped the Corporate Property team in National Grid maintain the excellent performance of the smart workspace solution."

Simon Carter - Head of Corporate Property, National Grid

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