Saint-Gobain UK, which includes some of the best-known companies in the construction sector, manufactures high performance energy-saving products and solutions.
With decarbonisation and sustainability at the top of their agenda, they have set themselves ambitious goals to achieve 25% carbon reduction and 15% energy reduction by 2025 on a 2010 baseline.
In the UK, Saint-Gobain spends around £60m pounds on energy annually, so it’s something they take seriously as a business. They established an Energy Steering Group in 2006 with representatives from senior management, finance and their engineering and operational teams to focus on energy management.
They identified Triads as an opportunity back in 2014 and generated engagement across all their main brands with a simple yet effective approach led by one of the Engineering Managers. He put a fan heater on the table and said, "If you run this for half an hour it would normally cost around 15p, if you run it in a Triad period, it'll cost you £55". With all staff taking notice of this concept, they rolled out a plan to reduce demand during Triad season and with the help of SmartestEnergy, they ran a competition to reward the site that saved the most. In 2015/16, they reduced demand by 11% and achieved significant savings on their electricity bills.
Triad management demonstrated to both senior and operational employees that it is possible to change how and when they use energy. They started exploring the opportunities in demand response and how they could turn their demand reduction into a revenue stream. As a large business consumer that takes corporate responsibility very seriously, the opportunity to support National Grid and help balance the grid was a key driver for them.
They developed a centralised Demand Side Response (DSR) strategy for all sites and identified flexibility on a site by site basis. Their team and the experts from SmartestEnergy went out to the sites to see how they were set up and the processes in place. They were then able to identify a realistic level of commitment, whilst being cautious not over-commit any of the plants. They found 11.5MW of flexibility across six sites.
Saint Gobain are continuing on their DSR journey to see what they can do with the other sites that didn’t participate first time around. They will continue to work with SmartestEnergy to see what other opportunities are available so they can continue leading the way as an active energy user.