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Interview: Bouygues MD on saving energy

24 June 2013

With energy efficiency making up such a crucial part of many FMs' jobs, it's no surprise service providers and others in the sector are focusing on the issue like never before. David Carr MD of Bouygues, spoke to PFM about how his company helps FMs save energy, and details his recent work with the National Health Service (NHS).

What in your opinion are the main challenges regarding energy management for FMs?
In previous years, energy within the FM sector was seen as a relatively tactical and low impact activity, with very little opportunity for FM businesses to engage and add value to their Stakeholders at a senior level. Nowadays energy is a key issue which poses significant challenges for many organisations, thereby providing FM professionals the opportunity to engage at a higher level and deliver a more strategic level of support, providing real benefits to the bottom line and support in the sustainable elements of brand management.

With the unit rate cost of energy expected to double by 2020, increasing legislation and risks around security of supply, every business would benefit from an energy strategy. To tackle the capital investment elements of such strategies requires organisations to take on significant technical and financial risk, often requiring a re-modelling of traditional commercial approaches to FM.

What are Bouygues' solutions to these challenges?
Bouygues Energies & Services has been working with many customers to address these issues and has recognised the need for a high level of technical skills across the business. With a strong French engineering culture and a traditionally strong backbone of innovation across the wider group, we are able to provide a variety of unique approaches and models to address our customers' FM and energy challenges.

With the difficulties posed by the shortage of UK engineering talent, the group is working hard to ensure continued access to the best skilled workforce through significant investment in the recruitment and development of engineering expertise. This has included a strong commitment and investment in training and developing our staff throughout the group; promoting high levels of technical competence, very good staff retention and numerous centres of excellence.

If you had to give FMs one energy saving tip, what would it be?
The most important piece of advice for FMs looking at saving energy would be to ensure it isn't ignored. It needs bravery and a lot of hard work to get it onto the strategic agenda, so perseverance is key.

Could you detail a case study in which you've saved energy?
We've been working with our customers within the NHS to help them to address their rising energy, carbon, environmental and financial challenges. By utilising our standard seven-year energy performance contract and integrating it into our FM delivery, we've been able to guarantee energy reductions in excess of 15%, thereby providing significant financial and environmental benefits and supporting our customers in the delivery of their NHS carbon reduction targets.

Could you detail the recent changes in Bouygues with respect to the name change?
The recent change of name has been an important development for the business and has recognised Bouygues strong focus on FM and Energy Services, while building on the group's background, technical strength and passion for innovation. This also provides an excellent opportunity for the Bouygues Group to continue to raise the profile of its energy services as part of its diverse portfolio.

Could you elaborate on your professional background?
Having originally trained as a chartered accountant in a professional environment, I've spent the last 17 years working in the FM, construction and utilities industries. Over the years I've come to recognise the importance of a well-trained technically strong team. As an organisation, we're proud so many of our workforce have trained and developed their technical competence with us. That means long-term solutions are a fundamental part of the way we do business.

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