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Milton Keynes Council pilots energy saving portal


Authority plans wider launch of CAPE platform to provide targeted data on potential benefits of switching to new technologies

Milton Keynes Council has begun a series of pilots in encouraging people to use a specialist web portal to identify potential energy savings.

Workman fixing solar panel on roofIt has begun to work with community groups in using the Community Action Platform for Energy (CAPE), developed by Indian IT services company Tech Mahindra in a collaboration with SAP. This uses mapping and satellite data to provide targeted information on energy emissions and the characteristics of buildings and neighbourhoods, indicating where there is scope for savings from different technologies.

Jeremy Draper, energy manager at Milton Keynes Council, told UKAuthority the council has run the first pilot in showing people how to use the product in understanding how they could save energy, initially focused on low energy lightbulbs, but that it has potential for several other technologies.

As an example, it could be used to provide data on the location and orientation of buildings to assess their suitability for solar panels. It places the data into the public domain so communities can see what they could gain and go to suppliers as a group, or suppliers can identify the potential in a specific neighbourhood and provide an offer to its residents.

It could also support the potential of technologies such as ground source heat pumps and wall insulation.

Location focus

“Sometimes it’s about the technology in association with the geographical area or orientation of a building, where you can focus on the location and physical properties of a building,” Dyer said.

He added that the provision of targeted data, rather than more general information about specific technologies, will hopefully provide an extra incentive for people to make changes. Also, the council sees CAPE developing as a social platform, in which people can submit enquiries and will receive replies from local project managers or appropriate people.

Mohit Mokhija, product development manager at Tech Mahindra, said the platform has been created for local authorities, suppliers and the public to better manage energy saving projects. It has been funded by Innovate UK along with partners including the company, Milton Keynes Council, Community Action:MK, MK:Smart, SmartKlub, the Open University and the Satellite Applications Catapult.

“With the help of the portal you can examine the parameters of a project,” he said. “For example, if you want to make changes in a building it can show the effects.

“It can show the intensity of heat coming from buildings, identify those that are suitable for solar generation, and provide multiple presentations of details such as the surrounding trees and slope of the roof.

“It helps to identify areas for likely savings without going to the site.”

Late June launch

The site is taking registrations of interest from potential customers and suppliers of energy saving technology, and more pilots are set to take place over the next few weeks with a wholesale launched scheduled for the end of June.

Dyer said: “The key reason we are involved in CAPE is that we recognise the huge untapped potential of citizens wanting to take control of their own energy use by understanding where it goes and what they can do to reduce consumption and save money,” he said.

“Milton Keynes has a corporate priority to reduce energy consumption by 40% by 2020 from a 2005 baseline. We’ve done well so far but there’s only so much we can do by ourselves. We need the involvement of citizens and businesses to make the best use of energy saving products.

“We see CAPE as a way of reaching out and enabling people to make decisions rather than us giving them lectures.”

Image by Pilar Blasco, public domain through flickr


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