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Pilkington Group Limited

NSG Group CYBER Display


Pilkington Group Limited is a large glass and glazing manufacturer that is part of the NSG Group. Pilkington are based at the NSG Group European Technical Centre, Lathom, Lancashire, UK. The site is mixed use, incorporating the main research and development facility in Europe and also the location of central functions. The number of employees on site is about 500, following the addition of a new office block (accommodating 100 people) in December 2008. Particularly relevant to energy and water consumption, the site includes a number of mini‐production facilities – laminating, coating, melting of glass, etc. ‐ which are very energy intensive.

The motivation behind Pilkington’s involvement

The benefits of involvement in the Display pilot project were identified as follows:

  • To be one of the first in commercial sector to display the performance of its building
    • Pilkington to lead the glass industry (‘responsible leader’)
  • Contribution to Corporate Social Responsibility activities
    • Energy efficiency and sustainability prominent in annual CSR report
    • New Group Sustainability Policy issued
  • Potential for encouraging employees (and visitors) to identify improvements
    • e.g. energy and water conservation
  • Possible PR opportunities
    • But only if a good rating achieved!
  • Opportunity for influencing the Display pilot project
    However, a number of initial concerns were raised, including:
  • No PR opportunities if the building achieves poor rating
    • ‘G’ rating anticipated (from previous discussions with energy consultants)
  • Other sustainability issues to address
    • New Group policy, Life cycle assessment for products, recycling, etc.
  • Uncertain how much time and resource would be required in collecting data and inputting
  • Little opportunity for ‘promotion’ through brands
    • Energy intensive mini‐production facilities dominate
  • Commercial team did not see immediate benefits

Even taking into account the above, the deciding factor in participating in the project was a company ‘cash day’ that took place in autumn 2008. This event involved all employees spending most or all of an assigned day focusing on initiatives and actions to raise and save cash. As improvements in energy efficiency were recognised as a key element in saving cash, a decision was made to sign up to the project.

Display activities – survey

An internal communication was prepared introducing the project to designated Energy Champions and encouraging colleagues in their work areas to participate in an online survey. This survey was set up by De Montfort University, one of the CYBER Display project partners, to gauge levels of information and opinion in building users before and after taking part in the project. The communication was sent out by email to energy champions in June 2009.

For the purposes of the survey, it was intended to divide the site up into the following four areas: large scale, medium scale, small scale and new office. This would help to identify any differences in current practice and views in the various work areas.

Energy Champions discussed the project at regular meetings agreeing actions on implementing energy efficiency measures on site.

Display activities calculation program

The first poster was based on annual data for year to March 2009. This was supplemented by monthly figures on energy notice board (pictures right) on site and direct email to each employee.

Testing of the software affected decisions on how we managed the project. The original plan was to divide the site into four distinct areas (as described above) and introduce a certificate for each one with on‐going targets to achieve.

However, most of the buildings are old (early 1960s buildings) with no sub‐metering. It would only be possible to give a poor estimate of the split for electricity, gas and water usage for each area, but this could be +/‐ 20% away from the actual usage. Concerns were expressed that advertising such inaccurate figures could potentially undermine the credibility of the project. Estimates of the investment needed to introduce automated sub‐metering come in at around £25k; a reduced, but more manually‐intensive, solution is estimated to be about £10‐15k. In the current economic climate, these investment plans have been put on hold (but will be revisited in the next financial year).

Taking the above into account, it was decided to proceed with the display
certificate on the basis of the total energy and water consumption for the
site. The first certificate would be based on data for the financial year
2008/09 (pictured right). This would be supplemented by monthly usage figures provided on the various notice boards on site. These monthly reports were also emailed to all employees to maximise coverage. The first report focused on potential energy savings from lighting, the second will highlight heating.

The software itself was found to be well‐structured and easy‐to‐use, the available on‐line help being particularly beneficial. However, it is felt to be heavily‐weighted to the public sector (e.g. a section on swimming pools!). There was no category covering manufacturing facilities and mixed use
buildings are not adequately addressed. This would need to be modified if the project is to be rolled out to the wider commercial sector.

It was recognised that it would be difficult to change the rating of this site, as the consumption associated with the on‐site manufacturing facilities swamps the effects from other areas (one of the reasons for wanting to divide the site up into four different sections). Having said that, our initial
view was that the certificate will help raise the awareness of energy efficiency on site in general terms.

The poster was originally intended to be available for display at various locations on site. However, the energy team felt that it this would not be appropriate, as the rating for the whole site could not be influenced. If the poster could be split to cover individual sections of the site and benchmarking introduced, then there would be clear benefits in displaying the posters.

Encouraging employees to participate in the survey was more difficult than anticipated ‐ even with a very user‐friendly format and the influence of designated energy champions. There is still a general view that individuals cannot make a significant difference through changes in behaviour. This is a perception that needs to change. The personal views of number of individuals appeared to indicate that they were still to be convinced about the potential effects of climate change (perhaps reflecting the wider population?).

Other related issues

The company recently released a new sustainability policy, setting out its commitments in this area.


  • The Display online tool was well‐structured and easy‐to‐use (including by non‐energy experts)
    • The available on‐line help was very beneficial
    • It was too heavily‐weighted to public sector (e.g. a section on swimming pools!)
    • There was no category covering manufacturing facilities, which tend to energyintensive (benchmarking would help with this)
    • Mixed use buildings are not adequately addressed (this is an important element for encouraging commercial users)
  • Investment may be required for sub‐metering for mixed use buildings
    • This may be difficult in current economic climate
    • Important to closely link energy efficiency to cost savings
  • Initial concerns about duplication of work between CYBER and Display Energy Certificates
    • Potential for different results and ratings
    • Confusion among building users
    • This needs to be clearly explained to future project participants
  • Participation in the project and the use of the tool is useful for internal communications and initiatives (especially if there are concerns about making a poor rating public).

To know more



European Technical Centre - Pilkington Group Limited
Address Hall Lane Lathom Nr Ormskirk Lancashire L40 5UF
Phone +44 (0)1695 50000
Website Pilkington

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