New findings on critical plant and equipment data usage within the UK’s hi-tech manufacturing industries have revealed slower-than-expected progress toward achieving sustainability and net zero carbon reduction goals.

According to The Energy Blind Spots, a new report from building analytics specialist CIM that surveyed facilities managers at life sciences and micro-electronics manufacturers, only 35% of facilities managers believe HVAC costs are a priority for the C-Suite. Yet with HVAC often constituting up to 45% of energy consumption at these sites, analysing consumption should represent a significant opportunity to hit decarbonisation targets and reduce costs.

Despite this, only 30% of those surveyed admitted to continuously monitoring COemissions, though 63% of respondents’ sites being certified to the ISO 50001 standard for energy management. Furthermore, 62% of facilities managers surveyed believed they are deficient in day-to-day collection and analysis of building data and 40% were still undertaking maintenance on a reactive rather than proactive footing.

Paul Walsh, General Manager at CIM, comments: ““We wanted to look into pressing issues in hi-tech manufacturing at what is a critical time for the industry, and our findings have been eye-opening, to say the least. This research clearly demonstrates that further action is required to alleviate pressure on facilities management teams, and further support is needed from senior stakeholders to drive efforts to improve plant sustainability and energy efficiency as we move towards net zero.

“Additionally, with 87% of survey respondents identifying CAPEX constraints as a major barrier to improving energy performance, steps must be taken to make OPEX savings that could help alleviate these concerns. Specifically, facilities managers are under pressure to reduce energy usage and increase sustainability at a time of shrinking budgets, while also struggling to collect, analyse and respond to plant data available to them. Yet by not making best use of their building data, they are prevented from making the OPEX savings that could help alleviate sustainability and CAPEX concerns.”

The report’s findings also highlighted that facilities managers are experiencing an average of 12.5 BMS alarms per day, with 50% suggesting they received as many as 30 in the same time period. More worryingly, a quarter of those interviewed said that 40% of alarms were not actioned, demonstrating strong evidence of ‘alarm fatigue’.

Paul continues: “The fact that a sizable sample of the facilities managers we surveyed said BMS alarms are effectively being ignored shows how teams are caught in a cycle of day-to-day firefighting. The sheer volume of alarms demonstrates how a smarter approach to data is needed to provide an effective plant maintenance approach, prevent ‘alarm fatigue’ and ensure energy use is optimised in accordance with current industry pressures. 

“Yet it cannot be denied that plants and buildings generate huge amounts of data, and this report highlights the difficulties of using this data to prioritise day-to-day pressures, including managing alarms and addressing high energy consumption. There is therefore clearly a need for innovative platforms that can ingest data and raise actionable insights to reduce emissions and OPEX costs. 

He concludes: “CIM’s PEAK Platform, for instance, uses a combination of customer success engineers with automated Fault Detection algorithms. This innovative data collection technology ensures high priorities are actioned immediately and operational decisions are better informed.”

To download the full report, click here.