Insights 25th May 2023 building technology

Workman’s IBOS drives energy savings across 4m sq. ft

As featured by the Better Buildings Partnership in their recent case study, here’s the lowdown on IBOS achievements so far… 

Workman has partnered with clients to roll out its Intelligent Building Operating System (IBOS) across more than 4 million sq. ft of commercial space. Results prove the power of smart tech to immediately improve building performance.

This is particularly pertinent in the context of spiralling energy prices, the climate emergency and hybrid working patterns that have made traditional operating practices deeply inefficient. Clients adopting the technology include Blackrock, Columbia Threadneedle and Federated Hermes.

“When we began our IBOS journey, it was a way of getting ahead of the curve on ESG. In today’s market, smart tech to optimise buildings is a must-have for clients and occupiers. In the short term, the focus has shifted to energy price mitigation but the goal remains the same – reduced energy consumption and lower emissions. Current gains in efficiency have real potential to lead to long-term changes in how firms think about and consume energy,” says James Hallworth, Partner, Head of Building Technology.

Key Facts

  • 270,000kwh (15%) annual energy savings at a 140,000 sq. ft Bristol site.
  • £269,000 annual cost savings at a 90,000 sq. ft Uxbridge office scheme.
  • 150 tonnes annual carbon savings at a 90,000 sq. ft Central London office.


Recognising the importance of energy efficiency, indoor air quality and carbon reduction, Workman collaborated with Bubll Automation. They worked together on developing a digital platform. This was to automate and optimise building performance. Following 18 months of development and testing in diverse buildings, Workman launched its Intelligent Building Operating System (IBOS) in May 2021. There is growing demand for technological solutions, as property owners and occupiers face rising energy costs and challenging climate goals.


Installing the system

IBOS typically takes around two days to install. Data is accessible within two weeks and energy savings of at least 15% usually identified within the first three months. Installed in 50+ UK buildings, the system is commercially viable in spaces from 3,600 to 200,000 sq. ft. This includes vacant and occupied units. It operates independently of existing BMS and is compatible with various infrastructure levels for centralised portfolio data management. Expert support provides monthly reports to optimise building performance, including system sequence and rule adjustments, ensuring ongoing savings.

Driving energy savings

Across properties where IBOS has been installed so far, average reductions in energy consumption of 20-40% have been recorded within the first 12 months.

The most significant savings in the first year usually came from identifying buildings ‘going rogue.’ Occupants were not using them. In a 90,000 sq. ft London office, the system identified an out-of-hours energy spike and implemented optimisation rules to reduce energy use by 27%, saving approximately £200,000 per year and cutting carbon emissions by 150 tonnes.

Similarly, optimising out-of-hours energy demand in an Uxbridge office was key to cutting energy consumption by 28%, saving an estimated £460,000 per year.

Without access to 24/7 monitoring and analytics, it is easy to miss these savings opportunities.

Enhancing wellbeing

The system provides occupiers with an app to control temperatures and lighting, promoting wellbeing, and offers air quality information. Workman is installing air quality sensors as part of the IBOS rollout. These link directly into IBOS, allowing building teams to create rules based on air quality, rather than pumping out a standardised ratio of fresh air per sq. ft. This is not only positive for wellbeing, but also for energy efficiency as when fewer people are using a space, best-practice air quality can be maintained without equipment working to the maximum.


  • Return on investment is usually achieved within two to six months of the initial report, as optimisation rules are applied. This payback period is speeding up as energy costs rise.
  • 15% typical savings on energy costs, reaching up to 60% in some buildings.
  • Annual cost savings have proven to be as much as £270,000. Energy bills were reduced as quickly as possible for clients and occupiers – while mitigating against soaring energy costs.


  • Across those properties where IBOS is installed so far, average reductions in energy consumption of 20-40% have been recorded within the first 12 months – improving operational efficiency.
  • 166 tonnes of annual carbon savings were recorded at one site – empowering clients and occupiers to meet net zero carbon targets.
  • Wellbeing benefits for occupants, enhancing air quality, thermal comfort, and lighting, efficiently.
  • Contributing to GRESB submissions for clients and occupiers.
  • Supporting leasing, with agents using the occupier app as a tool to sell workspace.
  • Facilitating collaboration between property owners and occupiers in managing workplaces.

How to overcome misperceptions?

Many clients have a misperception that smart systems are expensive and therefore only viable for trophy assets. Workman shared data with clients on energy, cost and carbon from trials to prove that the IBOS system is affordable for whole portfolios – in buildings of different sizes, asset values and occupancy levels, including vacant and fully occupied buildings. As more buildings have come online, this data has become stronger and it is even easier for clients to see the benefits.

Some maintenance companies were concerned that the system was going to show them up. In reality, it gives them the data to optimise commercial buildings, which are often highly complex, with multiple, legacy platforms for heating, cooling, lighting, access, and safety.

More targeted maintenance and the ability to discover issues without maintenance workers necessarily having to visit site can improve profit margins and allow Facilities Management (FM) businesses to put their teams where they can make a real difference. Workman has spent time growing relationships with a range of FM partners, successfully collaborating in different buildings and across a variety of BMS platforms, in addition to IBOS.

To find out more about how our Building Technology team can help, or to arrange a demo of our IBOS product contact James Hallworth.

For more information on IBOS, please download our brochure here or watch our video here.