ENERGY CHAMPION WINNER: Energy Manager of the Year – Jude Hughes


Environment and Energy Manager Jude Hughes, has over the last seven years, achieved the following headline figures at the National Institute Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC); a large and energy intensive Government Research Institute:

  • Electricity consumption reduced by 14%
  • Gas consumption reduced by 20%
  • Cost savings on utilities £963k
  • Carbon Footprint reduced by 21%

Jude was the first to fill the role at NIBSC, following focus on the carbon agenda; in particular Government organizations to lead by example. She has established, a comprehensive in-house Environmental Management System from scratch, and more recently her role has expanded to cover sustainability for the entire, newly merged, organization of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Jude has worked hard to gain respect from colleagues and staff alike as well as key stakeholders within her industry. She has pushed sustainability onto the agenda for staff at the Institute and has embedded, through culture change, a community ethos of being “green”.

Jude has implemented a wide variety of initiatives, in this time, and will literally try anything and everything to make the utility meters turn slower! Over a pint of cider one night Jude developed the idea of the “12 Days of Switch Off” a competition where staff wrote their own words to the carol featuring what lab equipment they would turn off over the Christmas period. Jude then got a choir, the CEO and all attending staff at the Institute to sing along!

She has made this difference by having the right vision; battled against budgets and resource restrictions to introduce the “unknown” to institutionalized scientific staff.


NIBSC is a global leader in the characterization, standardization and control of biological medicines. NIBSC plays a major role in assuring the quality of such medicines worldwide through the provision of biological reference materials, by testing products and carrying out research. Expert scientists also provide advice on a routine basis and also in response to emergencies for the Government.

Improving Energy Performance

Replacement and refurbishment of older inefficient plant and equipment was seen as a definite priority, when first starting to tackle energy consumption, in the predominately 1980s built site. Jude therefore implemented numerous no cost/low cost projects to replace and improve inefficient equipment, examples are given below.

AHU Zoning and Timing Project looked at control via the Building Management System to reduce running hours. It instantly reduced energy and was a no cost solution.
Budget: £0; Savings: £13,502; Energy: 168,795kWh; Carbon: 91.82 TCO2

An extensive project spanning over two years, involved a phased program for replacing T8 fluorescent lamps with LED equivalents. Project Managed by Jude this retro fit project involved over 1,000 lamps in 190 areas across the site.
Budget: £201,988; Saving: £45,721; Energy: 356,970kWh; Carbon: 191.4 TCO2

AHU Filter Project involved replacing existing filters with energy efficient versions, following a successful trial.
Budget: £10,250; Savings: £19,888; Energy: 185,195kWh; Carbon: 100.74TCO2

An innovative Solar Film Project, using a new type of film, not only gave summer savings but also had winter insulating abilities. Jude took before and after thermal images to demonstrate the results achieved visually.
Budget: £22,733; Savings: £6,530; Energy: 74,700kWh; Carbon: 40.63TCO2

A survey of steam traps and condensate returns highlighted potential savings and a remediation project followed.
Budget: £68,945; Savings: £26,322; Energy: 540,229kWh, Carbon: 204.27TCO2

Larger scaled projects followed including the replacement of three 25 year old steam boilers. The project cost £1.3 million and Jude was keen to include additional energy saving technologies in the package. With a 9 year payback, the rewards have been realized year on year; with overall savings of 20% on gas consumption.

Jude seeks new technologies and continually reviews options. She has built professional relationships with other Government organizations and worked internally with staff such as the Maintenance Team and Project Engineers. Jude works to the Prince 2 principles and instigating energy savings is part of the formalized project procedure at NIBSC.

Energy performance has been documented in an extensive Environmental Management System, which Jude developed from scratch, to formalize the approach and commitment. NIBSC have participated in the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Management Program and the Carbon Trust’s Government Carbon Management Program; receiving commendation for achievements made.

Journey into Renewables

Jude instigated a Specific Opportunities Assessment to investigate larger scale energy saving projects. Solar PV was identified as the most beneficial for the site to further reduce energy consumption.

However NIBSC Solar PV Project hit the UK Solar Industry at a very turbulent time; as several Government consultations commenced that were likely to have far reaching effects on the industry.

This included Government consultation to reduce the Feed In Tariff (FIT) by 87%, which would have a significant impact on solar projects payback as well as the overall UK solar industry.

As a result of these uncertainties in the Solar Industry, Jude reacted by adapting the initial project proposals in two main ways. Firstly, seeking an increased budget to maximize the investment as it could be a one off opportunity. Secondly seeing the roof space as an asset Jude sought to double the panel specification to increase the potential output.

The Solar PV Project included installation of 1,490 solar panels across seven south facing roofs. The site will consume all of the electricity produced equating to approximately 10% of its consumption. Estimates over the 20 year lifecycle will bring savings of £2.7 million; including FITs, off-setting grid electricity and carbon tax abatement.

This first significant move into renewable energy has been welcomed by staff at the site and has not only generated a lot of electricity but generated a lot of interest too!

Communication and Awareness

An awareness day held at the Institute demonstrates successful behavior change and a very effective (and very fun) awareness campaign. From the onset Jude wanted to launch the concept of sustainability in a big way to staff at the Institute to get them thinking about it within the workplace.

Jude came up with the idea of having a “Village Green Day” based on the theme of a village fete, with lots going on; be informative but also fun. She got the green champions, working group members and useful members of staff to help man the stalls on the day. Meanwhile a lot of planning prevailed; the budget was purposely limited and most items were made for free or borrowed.

Two key items were selected to draw staff in on the day. This included an eco-driving simulator to encourage staff to drive as economically as they could. She also persuaded a member of staff to dress up as the “Stig” to compete against! With the winners ranked on a Top Gear style leader’s board.

An “energy bike”, where you peddle the energy required to power equipment was used to demonstrate consumption. Jude asked staff to bring along small lab equipment to plug in and see what cycle power it took to run them.

A NIBSC mug was introduced for staff to help reduce canteen paper cup waste. A giant footprint pledge wall was constructed; for staff to think specifically about their work energy consumption. Other activities included a green cake competition where Jude got a “Mrs. Overalls” style character to serve tea and cakes.

Jude decided to finish off a very successful awareness program with a site wide Switch Off. Staffs were asked to put their pledges into action, as well as being a good means of measuring the impact of the awareness. Results achieved were extremely encouraging; the target of 10% was achieved with a great result of 10.13% reduction in electricity consumption! The above formula was so successful that it was replicated across other sites in the organization.

Securing Buy-In and Investment

Jude has received good feedback from the Institutes’ Director on this aspect of her role. The decision to recruit a dedicated energy manager at a time when budgets were very tight and staff numbers were reducing was not an easy one, but the Senior Management Team (SMT) have not regretted it for a moment. Jude was immediately able to get both senior management and staff buy-in to a raft of low and minimal cost improvements into day to day working; that led to significant reductions in energy use, waste and the Carbon Footprint.

Subsequently, Jude has developed and presented business cases for a series of capital projects aimed at reducing NIBSC costs and carbon utilisation still further, these have also been highly successful, leading to a reduction of £963k so far on site utility bills and making significant reductions to the Institute’s operating costs at a time of austerity.

The credibility and confidence built up on the basis of the early successes was key to getting the SMT to commit to some significant investments and this was maintained through regular updates and close project monitoring.

A prime example of this has been the Solar PV Project that Jude implemented, and from which NIBSC can expect to generate £2.7 million savings over the lifetime of the project. An additional less tangible benefit of the whole project has been the considerable staff goodwill that NIBSC energy projects have generated which has enhanced the Institute’s reputation for corporate responsibility and helped with recruitment.