Introducing energy efficiency measures to your business should be a priority, but this is not always the case.
The simplest reason for being more energy-efficient in your business is saving money.
Even the simplest of measures to improve energy efficiency can have a substantial impact on the costs of a business.
UK businesses could collectively save over £400 million a year just by taking steps to improve the efficiency of hot water boilers, according to the Carbon Trust.
And in the UK, the business case for saving energy is clear even before any remedial action is taken, because we pay tax on every unit of energy we use, in the form of VAT and the Climate Change Levy (CCL).
The benefits are more than purely financial, though. There is also the requirement to follow mandatory legislation and the reputational benefits a business can earn from being seen to be a green company.
According to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit of major global corporations 83% of companies noted significant cost savings from their energy efficiency programmes, while 54% noted improvements to their brand reputation as a result.
Regardless of the size of your business, there are benefits to be had from being energy-efficient.
Businesses often seem to underestimate the value that their investors give to energy efficiency and sustainability and these factors are increasingly being reviewed when customers are involved in the purchasing process.
Kick start your energy saving:
- Have a walk round and survey your premises to spot immediate money and energy-saving opportunities.
- Compare your energy consumption with other companies in your industry. Organisations like the Carbon Trust can help with benchmarking tools and tips on many other energy efficiency measures.
- Expert help. Again, the Carbon Trust can help. It offers free telephone consultancy and on-site visits for businesses that use a lot of energy.
- Take regular meter readings to get an accurate picture of how much energy your business is using and where the biggest savings could be made. Or save yourself the effort, and install smart meters.
- Speak to your energy supplier. Most energy suppliers now offer free energy efficiency advice to their business customers, so it’s worth getting in touch.
- Think about a smart meter. Install a meter in your premises that not only measures your energy consumption but reports it and helps you manage it hour by hour and day by day
- Appoint your own energy-saving champion giving them the time and resources to do the job.
The simplest ways of saving energy, suggests the Carbon Trust, will often be the most cost-effective, easy to implement and with a good rate of return.
- Control your heating – Turning your winter heating down by just one degree can cut your heating bill by up to 8% (In the same way, adjust your air-con by one degree in the summer). And make sure your thermostats are accurate by positioning them away from draughts and direct sunlight.
- Avoid wasting heat – Close doors and windows when heating or air conditioning is on. Fitting draught excluders and making sure your premises are well insulated is also cost-effective, with short payback times.
- Minimise artificial lighting – Clean your windows and skylights and you won’t need so much artificial light. And if you’re only working in one part of a room, confine the lights to that area. Label light switches and encourage your staff to only use what they need. Think about timers, daylight sensors and movement sensors and daylight sensors to turn the lights on and off automatically.
- Switch off office equipment – A single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day can cost over £50 a year, according to the Carbon Trust. That soon mounts up even in a small business. Switching it off out of hours or enabling standby features can reduce this to £15 a year. You can also fit timers to make sure printers; copiers and water chillers are turned off overnight and at weekends and public holidays.
- Compress your air costs – The Carbon Trust estimates that reducing compressed air pressure by 10% can generate a 5% saving in energy – but make changes gradually, checking that your operations aren’t affected by this pressure drop. Also, test for and fix leaks regularly. Even a small leak within your compressed air systems could cost more than £700 a year in wasted energy.
- Don’t forget about motors – Separate motors are hidden deep within machinery, and can be left running when the overall operation isn’t. Save energy by identifying and turning off motors during breaks or job changes. In the same light, motors driving pumps and fans can often be controlled with variable-speed drives.
- Shut the cold room door – On average, it will cost £5 every hour a freezer door is open – and even more in lost produce! For refrigerated cabinets, it makes sense to fit PVC curtains or night blinds.
- Maintain your equipment – Make sure all your equipment is working to its optimum ability. This includes cleaning lights and windows, keeping ventilation and other air filters clean, checking door seals and repairing holes and leaks.
- Consider outsourcing your facilities management. By doing this you can engage the services of a professional company whose services – and the installation of modern energy efficient equipment- can reduce your energy costs substantially.
The team at NWR Hygiene Group have vast experience in site surveying and can offer your business a FREE site survey that can determine the level of savings small changes to your processes and essential services can bring. Call our Consett or Teesside Offices for more details of ways you can cut costs in your business; call (Consett) 01207 505275 or (Teesside) 01642 777 800 for more information.