National Grid

Smart Office Case Study

National Grid Logo

Fast ROI and muli-million pound savings at National Grid

National Grid are a leading energy and gas utility company headquartered in London and operating in the UK and North America. 

Irisys worked with National Grid to give them the data they needed to optimise their building use at locations all across the UK.

Discover how the Irisys solution helped National Grid achieve an ROI of less than 12 months and make multimillion pound savings.

Project Scope

Industry sector: Corporate office buildings

Geography: UK

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

Project size: 12,000 employees

About National Grid: 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 objectives of the scheme were:

  • To improve the utilisation 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 elected 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.

Business Issue


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.

National Grid needed an objective way to measure building usage

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.



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

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.

Industry leading technology and passive detection

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.

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

Business Benefits


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.

First year savings over £8million

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.