Philip Eshelby is a managing director with 20 years experience in the HVAC, BEMS & FM industries.
Currently he works as the MD for ACS, a southeast based BEMS & HVAC specialist, but is also the Founder of Smart Environments, a company dedicated to innovation within the built environment.
The centre piece of Smart Environments is an intelligent building platform, Zeus, which uses powerful AI to normalise building data, and provides standardised reporting for building operators to ensure their equipment and portfolios run as efficiently as possible.
How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?
I think it came out of necessity really. As a business, we needed to innovate on how we delivered smart technology to our clients, and get ahead of the curve to beat the status quo within the BMS industry.
I saw a great deal of benefit around data and AI led analytics, which eventually led to the creation of Smart Environments.
What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?
Main thing which excites me is the ability to make a real difference to the future of our planet. People often overlook the built environment as one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions, and so because of that reason, it is so important that people throughout the Smart Buildings Industry use their influence to lead the way with technology implementation.
Buildings in the UK are historically difficult to overhaul using legacy technology, therefore with the recent advent of IOT and cloud based solutions, the speed in which benefits can be rolled out is absolutely key to the success of smart buildings in general.
Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of?
Well that would depend on the role of the individual who reads this as Smart Building tech can benefit stakeholders at all levels, whether that be within a maintenance team, FM manager, Energy Teams to enterprise level board members.
I guess people should be aware of advancements like intelligent lighting systems that adjust brightness based on natural light and occupancy sensors, reducing energy consumption and linking in with HVAC devices. Integrated cloud based building management platforms provide a single normalised point of control over virtually any HVAC system, enhancing operational efficiencies.
Smart sensors and data analytics can also enable predictive maintenance, identifying potential issues before they become major problems.
What services does your organisation offer?
Smart Environments specialise in a vendor-agnostic building management platform which standarises the data from all building systems and manufacturers into a Single Pane of Glass. Traditionally this has been locked within technology silos.
Through our AI led software, Zeus, we are able to optimise building HVAC systems, lighting and energy and in turn deliver operational savings, and increased ROI for building owners and operators.
As a Master Systems Integrator, the Smart Environments team are experts in building automation and technology, with a deep understanding of various systems and their interconnectivity. We play a crucial role in ensuring that smart building technologies are integrated seamlessly as part of a construction project or lifecycle upgrade, and that the building's concept of operation is delivered as a cohesive and efficient ecosystem.
Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future?
Governments, international organisations, and lobbying groups have been banging the drum for a number of years now, but I don't think it's been loud enough. As individuals, we have a huge responsibility to understand how our actions and the way we run our buildings will impact our futures, yet for alot of people its along the lines of out of sight, out of mind.
When current ESOS regulations filter down to the granular level of business and impact even the smallest of organisations, then i think more people will be fully aware, however until then by only targeting large corporations on energy reporting is not enough.
What are the benefits of a smart building?
- Lower Operational Costs
- Lower Energy Costs
- Greater operational flexibility
- Transparency of operations.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
Having joined my family's business, I think my parents have set the tone for what can be achieved if you put your mind to it. That said, I believe to be successful you need to be humble enough to recognise when things don't go right, and so drawings on external influences has also benefited me greatly.
What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?
Can you help or what do you think?
What are the best/worst things about your job?
Client successes and achieving solutions where they didn't previously exist are the best feeling for me. I'd say the worst things, are the general trials and tribulations of running a business.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
The possibilities with technology now are endless, but because smart building technology covers such an array of functions, the best thing to do is pick branch of building engineering and carry out some research to see if that discipline interests you.
In the UK especially, where we have such ageing and analogue building systems, the benefits for smart tech to be deployed are huge. I would certainly encourage more young people to join the industry as it will take them far.
What living person do you admire and why?
I think in business, I'd have to say Jeff Bezos. To see what he has accomplished with Amazon is beyond incredible. To use the Henry Ford analogy of a "faster horse", Amazon has taken the humble bookshop, supercharged it and put it in the palm of virtually every person on the planet.
Where would you most like to live?
Probably either Tuscany or Provence. If the Euromillions is on the cards, a place in Greenwich Village too.
What is your favourite book?
I'm terrible and don't read much anymore. Either Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, or the first Jason Bourne book by Robert Ludlum.
How do you relax?
I love to garden, but don't get too much time to do so. Playing cricket is also a winner, but again time is precious.
What sports team do you support?
Cricket is Surrey CC & football is Fulham.
What is your desert island disk?
This is a tough one, as I don't think the perfect album exists. However Brothers in Arm's by Dire Straits would probably be the one that covers a lot of bases.
What is your ideal holiday?
Lots of sun & great food, maybe a bit of golf. Ideally would be in Italy or South of France.