Practical tips to improve the energy efficiency of your business
It might come as a surprise to most business owners to learn that by implementing energy efficiency measures you could realise savings of up to 30% on your annual energy costs.
In fact, a recent report highlighted that 50% of senior managers don’t know what proportion of their expenditure goes on energy.*
There are some simple steps that businesses can take to improve their energy efficiency and, in turn, cut carbon and save money.
Measure where you are now
In order to identify issues and aid your decision making, you need to have a clear position on where you are now. Start by measuring and monitoring your current energy use.
Your energy bills will give you a good starting point, however be aware that they provide a limited amount of detail. They may not, for example, account for day and night rates or the variable number of working days within a month, or seasonal temperature changes.
New initiatives such as half-hourly meters, sub metering and comparing consumption to local degree days can give you far more accurate results.
Identify the Waste
Once you can see your current energy usage patterns, you can identify potential areas of wastage.
For example, are you still using energy during weekends when your office or factory is closed? By leaving your PC monitors or security lighting running over the weekend means you are paying for energy that you’re just not using.
Around a third of companies we’ve seen have significant energy consumption on the night tariff, mostly when the business is closed for the night, with the amount of consumption varying from 16% to as high as 33%.
Check that your thermostats aren’t too high. A 1 degree heating reduction could reduce costs by 8%.
Compressed air leaks in manufacturing companies are common. A small leak could cost your business over £700 per year if not repaired.
Research alternative technologies
If you’re spending £1000s on lighting costs, are you using the best technology available?
Technology has advanced considerably in the last few decades with newer technologies offering significant savings on running costs.
LED lighting for example consumes far less electricity and the lights themselves last 25 times as long.
Create an Action Plan
Knowing what you should be doing is one thing, but it is implementing change that will get results.
Make someone in your organisation responsible for energy and draw up your energy action plan.
Some of your improvements may be behavioural changes, such as switching the lights off when you leave a room, or turning off all monitors at the end of the working day.
Perhaps you can change production schedules to run during a cheaper tariff.
Others may require greater research and analyse of the payback, for example the capital investment of replacing your current strip lighting for LED lights.
Decide on what improvements you want to commit to, who’s going to be responsible for them and when you want to implement them by.
Continuously measure and monitor the results so that you can quantify and improve on your energy targets.
The Business Energy Efficiency programme is due to close at the end of February 2020 and interested SMEs have 5 weeks to enrol to get their fully funded energy efficiency audit and report, to help identify the cost and carbon savings that can be made through becoming more energy efficient, thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
They have sufficient capacity to support 25 more businesses with visits available on a first come-first served basis.
*YouGov/Telegraph Survey 2017