The Green Deal Program manages accredited “green” technology installers to upgrade homes and buildings to save energy and reduce emissions.
Green Deal needed an easy and secure solution for installers to fill out accreditation forms.
With the passage of the Energy Act of 2011, the United Kingdom created the unique Green Deal Program to encourage owners of residential and non-residential properties in England to upgrade their buildings to the latest in “green” technologies to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.
The beauty of the program, embodied in the PAS2030 technical document written by the British Standards Institute, is that it creates a new finance framework to facilitate the installation of fixed energy efficiency measures to existing properties without any upfront payments by the property owner.
One of the most critical elements of making PAS2030 successful is the law’s requirement that all Green Deal Program installers must be accredited for the types of equipment they install, whether it’s insulation, lighting, solar, or other systems. This guarantees that every retrofit meets the stringent quality control requirements of the program.
Green Deal installers were required to complete a form in Microsoft® Word and upload it to the Green Deal Program managing website, creating a less-then-ideal process for the program and the installers.
Graham Jack, Managing Director of Green Deal Program website, sought a solution to make the forms process easier to use and also guarantee the security of the all-important accreditation documents.
David Owens, Managing Director of Wimbleton Cross, a technical support service, assessed the situation and decided that the use of PDF forms would be the logical solution.
Owens and Jack concluded that PDF forms would enable them to create templates that met each of the 30 different accreditation documents needed, along with as many as 20 document subsets related to each of those 30 documents.
The PDF files could then be form-filled online in real time, eliminating the need to download or upload files. Additionally, the installers could update their PDF forms anytime to meet changing information needs, or add to their systems accreditations. Once PDF forms are submitted, they can be merged together so that each company certifications are neatly contained in one file set.
“This approach was all quite theoretical until we discovered the server-based PDF tools that would let us manage the process this way,” says Owens. “After assessing several different providers, we chose ActivePDF because they are cost effective, provide the performance features we needed, and their products are so easy to use.”
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“The system stands up well to the high-volume demand,” says Owens. “We currently have more than 500 concurrent users on the system at any one time and no one has experienced a problem yet. When you multiply those 500 users by 30 PDF documents and as many as 20 versions of each for all of the specialties involved, ActivePDF handles the volume easily.
“We did rigorous testing before launch and we couldn’t break it,” adds Owens. “We couldn’t ask for more. We know that ActivePDF products can produce, manipulate and manage more than a million PDFs a day.”
After testing, the Green Deal Program team quickly assessed the benefits of using Toolkit over other options. “There were many software products out there that thought they could do this, but they couldn’t,” concludes Owens. “The only alternatives were solutions built on the Adobe® platform already, but they didn’t do everything we needed, and they were cost prohibitive, costing £25,000 just for their server. ActivePDF cost a fraction of that, and if we approach potential limits for the volume of users we serve, we’ll just add another server and keep going.”
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