According to the Carbon Trust large businesses in the UK are expending more than £1.6bn too much on their energy bills every year. Yet implementing simple energy efficiency measures can cut a business’ bill by around 15 per cent. Many companies are still wary of making changes and that is understandable – but the benefits of making what are usually simple changes can make good business sense in the long run.
- Analyse: Take the time to walk round your business premises in order to find where energy is wasted and how this can be changed. Are the lights turned on a lot because there is a lack of light? Is the heating turned on too much because there is a draught? Finding problems can result in actionable steps
- Competitors: Just like you would analyse the activities of other businesses in your sector to see what they are doing and how you can improve upon this, the same method should be used to see what energy efficiency changes they are applying
- Monitor energy usage: Take advantage of smart meters to analyse business energy usage and find where cuts can be made for the good of cost and energy savings.
Next step: stop the leaks
This can be as simple as making sure any draughts are stopped or turning down the heating by just one degree, which can actually cut a business’ heating bill by around 8 per cent. Office equipment such as computers, monitors and printers should be turned off at the end of the day, while fitting timers to printers and copiers can ensure office equipment is not left on and wasting energy overnight of during the weekend.
If your business is going to cut back on energy consumption and feel the benefits of cost savings then you need to make sure your entire outfit is involved. This is not something one person can do as it requires that employees take on the responsibility too. You may want to go so far as to choose an energy champion to carry forth the message of energy efficiency for your company. These can do the job of a regular walk round the premises and talking with employees about where they think a company is losing energy and the changes that can be implemented. An energy champion can be given the task of:
- Identifying and reporting energy waste
- Ensuring the efficiency of office equipment
- Proposing, implementing and monitoring steps for improved energy efficiency
- Communicating with employees and gathering feedback.
But, understand your business is unique
Not every business works in the same way, whether or not it operates within the same sector, as the employees and business practices are always going to differ. Not only will the structure differ, but its customers are also going to be unique. There is no one way a business should make changes for improved energy consumption. This is why something as simple as a walk round is important. Here’s some info for greener changes based on the environment your business operates within:
- Office: Ensure office equipment is turned off at night and during weekends and holidays, take advantage of timers and monitor energy use
- Warehouse: Choose smarter lighting systems to save on costs and energy, and consider implementing rubber seals around docking bays
- Retail: Automatic doors can help to prevent heat from escaping and save on money and energy, while display lighting can be modernised for improved savings
- Manufacturing: Work schedules can be adjusted to make full use of manufacturing equipment, and efficiency motors can deliver a big return on investment.
Take advantage of Government incentives
Due to the Government trying to reduce the public deficit there has been a cut back on grants and funding for businesses to improve energy efficiency. However, there are still some incentives in place to help a business improve energy efficiency and cut costs:
- Green Deal: This allows companies to make energy saving improvements, such as the installation of insulation and double-glazing, without having to pay for it all upfront. An assessment is required to begin this process
- Energy Efficiency Financing Scheme: This scheme ran by the Carbon Trust and Siemens Financial Services allows companies to invest in energy efficient technology, while benefiting from affordable payments.
Steps to success
I am going to leave you with some simple steps to help improve business energy efficiency. Hopefully they’ll go some way to helping your company make a ‘greener’ change:
- Find out how much energy your business uses by comparing data from meters and identify where there is waste
- Put a plan in place to improve efficiency based on the information you now have at hand
- Talk to employees and start helping them to make positive changes
- Continue to monitor business energy use.