Decarbonising the Francis Crick Institute – an energy management triumph

As one of the biggest biomedical research facilities in Europe, the Francis Crick Institute generates enough energy (from 810 solar panels on its roof) to run 35 houses a year. At the same time, it saves more than 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide, demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to decarbonising its facility.

Since opening the doors to its central London building in 2016, the Crick has become an iconic landmark. Boasting 76,000 square metres of floor space and 1,553 rooms – twice as many as Buckingham Palace – it houses more than 100 research groups and 2,000 staff and students. All working to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human disease.

Energy management at the Crick

Used for various applications, workspaces at the Crick – including four floors of laboratories – require unique environmental and safety conditions. To help meet these conditions, a building energy management system (BMS), with integrated computerised technology, monitors, analyses and controls equipment and services.

As a BMS specialist, Kendra came onboard in 2017 to help install and manage the Crick’s smart energy management systems. Since then, Kendra’s become a trusted partner to the Crick, with a permanent onsite presence. Over the years, Kendra engineers have expanded the Crick’s energy management capabilities and helped to significantly improve energy efficiency. For instance, in just two years, Kendra’s PROActiv Energy platform was key in identifying inefficiencies and helping reduce the Crick’s total carbon emissions by 21%.

What did the Crick want to achieve?

Kendra helped the Crick meet numerous energy management goals, such as:

  • Upgrading/modernising the BMS
  • Reducing carbon emissions by 50% in 2030 and becoming net zero carbon by 2040
  • Adopting a targeted approach to maintenance
  • Automating the reporting process for critical space conditions
  • Creating a suite of reports to track live energy usage against targets
  • Integrating smart energy systems with the Crick’s Planon CAFM system to improve reactive work order management
  • Extracting data into Power BI dashboard software to create public displays of energy usage

What is PROActiv Energy and how does it work?

PROActiv Energy integrates with your BMS to streamline performance reporting and broaden energy management capabilities. While your BMS tells you if something hasn’t been achieved, PROActiv Energy goes one step further and tells you why – offering effective solutions with little to no human intervention.

PROActiv Energy is essentially a ‘virtual engineer’. With a bird’s eye view of your estate, it can integrate with most protocols and absorb huge amounts of granular data. It then processes, interrogates and makes sense of this data, so it can:

  • Spot energy use patterns and saving opportunities
  • Advise new approaches
  • Create tasks and assign actions
  • Track progress
  • Generate actionable reports
  • Create ‘smart service’ plans that flag issues and rank them based on business impact, using various criteria (e.g. cost or maintenance urgency).

Its ability to self-learn and predict future events make it a truly intelligent piece of software. Using a combination of SkySpark technology and bespoke Kendra programming rules – along with a 24-hour, responsive support package – PROActiv Energy is a game-changer for businesses looking to cut carbon emissions.

Last year, it saved Kendra’s clients 3,635 MWh. The equivalent of 330 homes, powered 24 hours a day for five months straight.

How did Kendra meet or exceed the Crick’s expectations?

Energy management and carbon reduction

Shown to save a minimum of 20% when it comes to HVAC spend, PROActiv Energy is guaranteed to get results. Most clients save considerably more and have even racked up savings of 38% per annum. Ideal for a sustainability-focused client like the Crick.

By utilising PROActiv Energy data, the Crick reduced total carbon emissions by 21% in just two years – and this is above and beyond savings accumulated from upgrading the BMS. The Crick is now firmly on track to hit its 50% carbon reduction target by 2030.

Resolving issues identified by PROActiv Energy alone has saved the Crick around 537,000 kWh (109 tons CO₂e) in total. This total can be split out across two years. In 2022 (from June onwards), PROActiv Energy racked up savings of 105,000 kWh (20 tons CO₂e). The following year, in 2023, PROActiv Energy identified total savings of 432,000 kWh (89 tons CO₂e).

We expect energy savings to continue to steadily rise over the coming years – and to hit yet more energy efficiency milestones along the way.

Maintenance: Schneider EcoStruxure

The first step to streamlining the Crick’s energy management capabilities was a BMS revamp. Starting in 2021 Kendra began upgrading 1,500 originally specified BMS controllers (which had been made obsolete) to Schneider EcoStruxure. With IoT-connected software and fast, real-time control and monitoring, Kendra was confident EcoStruXure would fulfil the Crick’s desire for an innovative BMS system.

The EcoStruxure upgrade essentially ‘debugged’ the Crick’s systems because when Kendra upgraded the controllers, it found some weren’t operating as they should. This allowed Kendra to rectify any faults as and when they found them.

Energy Management at the Francis crick InstituteEnergy Management at the Francis crick Institute

“Kendra has been a valued partner to the Francis Crick Institute for many years. Its experience and implementation of numerous energy reduction initiatives have significantly helped us attain our ambitions.

The PROActiv Energy solution we deployed through Kendra plays a crucial role in helping us achieve our challenging carbon reduction strategy target: to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and ultimately net zero carbon by 2040.

Kendra’s expertise, insights and contributions are valuable and appreciated. PROActiv Energy has helped us drastically improve our energy efficiency and reduced our carbon emissions by an impressive 21% over a two-year period. It provides essential real time data for optimising our existing control strategies and retrieves data from over 500 utility meters, giving us detailed granularity of our energy usage and dashboards. As a result, we can verify that we’re tracking our reduction targets and provide accurate reporting to senior stakeholders.

The partnership we at the Crick have formed and developed with Kendra since 2017 continues to grow in strength year on year. I fully value the expertise of Kendra engineers and their commitment to working with the Crick to achieve our sustainability aims and objectives”.

Maintenance: PROActiv Energy

In 2022, PROActiv Energy was installed. A move that transformed the Crick’s approach to maintenance by making it targeted and precise. Through advanced analytics, the Crick got a full picture of its building’s energy performance. Faults are now spotted as they occur or predicted ahead of time and prevented altogether.

Covering 3,000 electrical or mechanical items and collecting data from 25,000 BMS points, maintenance activities are guided to where they’re needed most. Freeing up time and resources so engineers can use their time effectively.

This has led to slicker operational efficiency and noticeable improvements in the condition of the HVAC plant and equipment. PROActiv Energy identified issues above and beyond standard BMS alarming. Like reversed heating/cooling valves, badly tuned control loops and instances where the plant was operating at low efficiency. It even found that underfloor heating was running unnecessarily outside opening hours, resulting in reduced pump running hours.

Improved reporting and display analytics

Installing PROActiv Energy has resulted in a smarter, better-connected building. Utilising the Internet of Things (IOT) and widening the Crick’s data integration capabilities resulted in a much-improved power monitoring system, which previously only logged meter data on basic profiles.

As a result, the Crick’s reporting and data display capabilities have become slicker. Kendra used the greenhouse gas emission functionality within PROActiv Energy (after metering various electrical supplies and fuel for local generation) to improve the ease and accuracy of carbon emission reporting. The facility is now able to assess when to use each of its energy supplies based on effectiveness.

Today, a rich interface is read directly from 750 meters across the site. New features, such as customisable charts, roll-ups and baseline comparisons provide a smooth user experience.


The Crick earned a glowing reputation for its successful energy management efforts. Just last year, Kendra and the Crick were jointly awarded the prestigious ‘Modernisation Project Award’ at Schneider’s global EcoXpert Master Partner Event.

Kendra’s Divisional Director, Stuart Davis, was joined by the Crick’s Senior Project Manager, Christina Murphy. Here they are celebrating their big win!


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