IMI : How saving energy starts with seeing energy | MarketScreener

2022-06-25 01:49:29 By : Ms. Ailsa Zhang

A digitally connected valve from IMI Hydronic can help cut a business's carbon footprint

"Forty per cent of our energy is consumed in buildings, of which 50 per cent is used by heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems. These are crazy figures," says IMI Hydronic product engineer Victor Hittinger. "It means that 20 per cent of the world's energy is consumed by heating and cooling in buildings."

With the pressure growing on all businesses to reduce both costs and carbon emissions, you first need to find out how much energy you're using and where it's going before you can start to make savings.

"Measuring is knowing," says Victor, explaining how IMI Hydronic's new HyInsight system monitors energy use, makes it visible to customers and acts like the 'brain' of a building.

Central to HyInsight is the TA-Smart valve, a two-way control valve which continuously measures the energy flowing through a heat exchanger, a boiler and accurately adjusts the flow to meet the control system demand.

With energy data streamed every 15 seconds to the Cloud using 4G, TA-Smart cracks the problem of system opacity, as it's known.

The valve is part of a wider ecosystem of temperature, humidity and CO2 sensors constantly feeding information to the user to help them set complex heating cycles, even in environments in which needs are unpredictable or often changing, at the same time as optimise their energy use.

To help customers with their own installations, IMI Hydronic installed a proof-of-concept HyInsight system at its own factory in Erwitte, Germany at the end of 2021.

Although it wasn't the primary goal, a spin-off benefit has been a significant 45 per cent energy reduction at the factory, and an increase (from 43 per cent to 67 per cent) in the amount of time people based there spend working in a comfortable environment.

Exploiting technology in new ways

For Jean-Christophe Carette, head of technology at IMI Hydronic, the energy-saving eco-system is an example of the creativity and excitement involved in harnessing tech advances in new ways. "We are a valve company, we have foundries, we do metal machining: that's still the core of the company," he says. "But with things like TA-Smart, that you can configure with your smartphone, we're moving beyond something that's 'just a valve' and we're delivering a value to the customer with something way beyond the regular products that we're known for. That is what makes it super interesting for us."

At IMI, innovation is always a continually evolving process, with a focus on solving customer problems that feeds back into product development. "By interacting with our customers, we get ideas for new functionalities, we implement them and we deliver these for the customer in an agile way," says Jean-Christophe. "It's very exciting," Victor agrees. "Your customer says: 'This is problematic' and you know that, with a feature on the app, you can sort it."

Reducing energy consumption across the Group

As well as selling to external customers, IMI Hydronic will be installing HyInsight at more facilities within the Group. "We've offered a hydronic audit and energy assessment," says Victor. "Seven factories have reached out: two in the UK, one in Switzerland, three in Germany and one in Poland. We'll pick three from those," he explains.

This will take IMI a step closer to reducing energy consumption across the Group and help make progress towards emissions targets.

"By 2030, IMI aims to halve its CO2 intensity (CO2 emissions divided by number of hours worked). The business aims to reach net zero by 2040," says John Jones, Head of Group Sustainability at IMI.

Cutting emissions is just part of the Group's ESG ambitions. "It's also about reducing waste, optimising water usage and - less tangible but equally as important - improving diversity and inclusion, health and safety and global wellbeing," says John.

To help reach its goals, IMI is embedding sustainability in its operations: all divisions now have a dedicated ESG lead or working group and all sites have a nominated ESG champion.

"The culture at IMI is such that it's been made clear how important this is for us as a business but also from a human point of view. This is not just a nice thing to do, this is a must-do," John says.

Being transparent about ESG reporting is vital. IMI has a target to be net zero for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2040. "We're assessing what our Scope 3 emissions are and how we're going to address them, because they make up of the vast majority of our total emissions, which is fairly normal for a business like ours," says John. "They include everything that's in our supply chain, logistics and distribution and it also includes the emissions that are then generated further down the track."

Tackling the climate crisis isn't something that any business can do alone. HyInsight is an innovative solution that allows IMI's customers and IMI itself to reduce their carbon footprint and operate more sustainably.

"TA-Smart personifies our purpose of Breakthrough Engineering for a Better World. It's sustainability in action, making use of state-of-the-art technology to reduce our emissions and create a better world for all," says John. "It embodies everything about our purpose."

IMI plc published this content on 20 June 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 20 June 2022 15:13:00 UTC.