Did you know a 5th of UK businesses spend over £250,000 a year on energy?
Even more surprisingly, over 54% of senior managers have “no idea” who is responsible for purchasing it, according to a survey by the Telegraph .
Managers seem to be missing a trick when it comes to this significant cost…
With very little investment, organisations can make substantial savings. Where capital expenditure is required, the savings are often very large and the payback periods very short.
And as the ‘Money Saving Experts‘ for the office & workplace, here’s our top 8 energy saving tips, helping you to gain control of your commercial bills…
1. Understand your usage
Look back at your historical data to understand how much energy you are currently using. If you have multiple meters, you’ll be able to pinpoint usage to certain processes and/or machinery.
You should be able to build up a comprehensive energy map across your site and start to understand when and where you need extra energy for intensive processes and machinery.
2. Put controls in place
The surest way to reduce your bills is to take control of as many energy dependent processes as possible, in one system, with one team responsible for managing it.
From heating settings, automatic machine shut downs and sensory switches for lights, a comprehensive energy management system, will manage all processes in one interface.
You don’t have to run industrial processes to have a high usage, any organisation can rack up large energy bills from lighting, computers, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. If you can’t automate the control of any element, the only other way is to change the behaviour of your team.
Educate your team on the importance of saving energy, for the benefit of the business and the environment. Appoint energy champions and reward the right behaviours.
Upgrading old and inefficient plant & equipment is the logical next step and upgrading lighting to dimmable LED with presence detector controls can reduce lighting consumption by up to 80%.
And, whenever you’re looking to replace systems or machinery, consider the efficiency ratings, make sure the systems are correctly sized and most important that the controls are set up correctly.
5. Get the best rates
For large energy users, appointing a trusted consultant is a must. Energy prices fluctuate throughout the day, so it’s important that you have access to the best rates all of the time. Half-hourly meters allow usage to be accurately mapped to the correct rate and you can see peak periods more accurately to plan more effectively.
Fixed term contracts are offered by most energy suppliers for low energy users and can help with a more predictable cash flow. There are also several group-buying initiatives out there, which can help smaller users to access the cheaper prices available to those with more buying power.
We practise what we preach in this area, and use Steve McQueeney of Advanced Commercial Services, and we are sure you will already know someone who can help you with this. But if not, Steve’s contact details are available through his website.
6. Generate your own energy
From solar panels to wind turbines, biomass boilers, heat pumps and combined heat and power systems, there is a wide selection of technologies available, and many experienced and trusted installers available to help.
With technology becoming more widespread, costs are decreasing making renewable technology an option for many businesses, accompanied with short payback periods.
And for most technologies, you’ll receive government incentives for generating energy on site and, in the case of electricity generation, for feeding surplus back to the grid.
As an example, we installed an Air Source Heat Pump, and the government provide us with a quarterly rebate over a 7 year period, which will pay us back 90% of the overall installation cost. This is on top of providing savings of 50% against our existing heating bills.
7. Understand what incentives are available
For electricity generation, the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) delivers income for every unit of electricity generated through approved renewable technologies. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides the same benefits for the generation of heat through technology such as ground, water and air-source heat pumps and biomass boilers.
Energy intensive manufacturing processes may be eligible for a Climate Change Agreement (CCA), taken out with the Environment Agency to reduce CCL payments, and energy saving technologies can also attract Enhanced Capital Allowances.
8. Keep watching
Implementing an energy reduction plan isn’t a one-off exercise…
To ensure that you continue to use less energy, and pay less for what you do use, you need to continue to monitor your usage, continually looking for anomalies and spikes and to introduce new technology as it becomes available.
…and once you see the savings, you’ll find it hard to stop.