Reviewing sustainability to embed real change.


Creative Space Management appointed Acclaro to perform a remote desktop review of the Lumen building’s energy data systems, together with utility invoices and key building information. The project aimed to analyse the data which had been collected over the past year, assist the building’s management team in understanding the data, and start the dialogue with both suppliers and tenants to better understand how the building operates. From this information, it then became possible to translate the numbers into real-life solutions and recommendations.

The overall aim of the project was to conduct research, identify areas which were working proficiently, and pinpoint which areas needed improvement. Lumen wanted to explore their data and analyse it in a variety of ways to truly understand it. After a year of recording data, it was the perfect time. Making amends during the first year is relatively simple and means that in the long run, the building will be operating efficiently and in check. In addition, opening dialogue with the suppliers and tenants will help to build a relationship which can be used to improve overall sustainable performance in the future.

The challenge

The Lumen building has been operational since May 2020 and has collected data from its extensive utility submetering for over a year. The Lumen has been designed to be a leading-class building with a range of sustainability features both within its infrastructure and as part of the 24-acre Newcastle Helix estate. It has over 100 meters monitoring electricity, heating, cooling, and water consumption throughout the seven-storey building in Newcastle.

The Lumen building is managed by Creative Space Management, who have a proactive and innovative approach to seeking out sustainability across the buildings they manage. They recognise the importance of working towards net zero carbon for their occupiers and clients. Newcastle Helix has been designed to have sustainability at its heart and this has been designed from the ground up.  Infrastructure includes leading smart energy and management infrastructure across the whole site as well as multiple monitoring and advanced urban research projects that meter the use of utilities, impact and management of grey water and flood mitigation. 

The solution

The Lumen building had collated the data and enlisted the help of Acclaro Advisory, with the skills and expertise to explore and understand what the metering was showing, to provide insights into how the building runs and recommendations for continuous improvement and education.

The objectives of this project were framed as four key questions:

  1. Are utility meters providing reasonable data which aligns with the total consumption for the building?
  2. Are meters sufficiently reliable to be used for accurate recharging of tenants?
  3. What recommendations for energy, greenhouse gas and cost savings arise from the metering data?
  4. How can we use these insights to progress conversations with suppliers and occupiers?

One of the key aims of the project was to review how Creative Space Management were passing utility charges through to tenants and conclude whether this process was efficient and accurate. The project additionally aimed to help both the building management team and the tenants understand their utility costs.  For example, electricity invoices are compiled from consumption charges plus a complex range of fixed and standard charges. The project aimed to de-mystify these charges and recommendations on how better understanding the charges could help both the building managers and tenant organisations to reduce their costs.

The results

The wider benefit of conducting this in-depth review is attributing correct energy flows across the buildings, along with understanding what the meters are recording, and how everything is being calculated and collated. This project was the first step in allocating dedicated effort to understanding the meters and their capabilities since the building had been built.

The Lumen building champions a thriving collaborative environment at all turns and this project is a step in that overall journey. By developing their understanding, they are able to offer another level of service to their clients. This project was the first step in their move towards a more sustainable future. Marc Burton, the Lumen Building Manager, commented “The Lumen building now runs with reassurance that it is reporting and running efficiently, and we have been able to have valuable conversations with tenants and clients alike.”

Following this project, Creative Space Management have two key areas of potential focus. Firstly, to implement the recommendations and amendments, such as starting a dialogue with the tenants around sustainability and energy-saving measures. Secondly, to repeat this project for their other buildings to increase efficiency, reduce energy waste, and create opportunities for conversations with tenants and suppliers alike.

Accurate data reporting is key in any analysis which will be used to make strategic improvements. The project was a success and has built the foundation for the Lumen building and Creative Space Management to continue their roadmap. Sustainability is not a tick-box exercise but requires embedding real change, identifying issues, and correcting them whilst learning from them.

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