Improving energy efficiency is the most cost effective way of reducing the UK’s carbon emissions, and lowering business energy costs.

What is meant by ‘Energy Efficiency’?

In simple terms, it means using less energy to achieve the same level of output currently utilised to produce a product, sale or service.

Some examples of output are: the production of manufactured goods, construction services, throughput of customers in hotels and restaurants, productivity within offices, numbers of patients processed in the medical sectors. It’s applicable to all sectors and situations.

Most buildings expend energy in the form of gas and electricity in some form or another. This energy is generally used to maintain staff comfort and produce goods and services. The level of consumption relates directly to the Energy Efficiency of the site.

It won’t surprise you to learn that there are significant opportunities to increase Energy Efficiency within large numbers of businesses in the United Kingdom.

What are the benefits of Energy Efficiency?

Many and manifold. The driving force behind many commercial energy efficiency projects is a reduction in running costs, although environmental concerns are becoming progressively paramount. Businesses have grasped the fact that global heating and its ensuing environmental impact is bad for businesses and can affect their reputations. Their clients, and the wider community, are holding them to account as they are increasingly subject to public scrutiny.

Companies have realised that their environmental and sustainability initiatives not only produce cost and carbon savings for the long term but deliver positive reputational outcomes. Making organisations more energy efficient and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a fundamental necessity.

Improving Energy Efficiency. Where should I start?

The first step is to establish your starting point.

Where are you right now?
How much carbon are you emitting?
What efficiencies have you already undertaken and what should you consider next?

As a first step, create a formal written Energy & Sustainability Policy, which will help you formulate your goals and objectives and provide you with a road-map for your journey. Communicating your intentions to staff members and stakeholders at this point will be essential to the enterprise.

A Written and Published Energy Policy can be used to:

Do I need an Energy Audit?

Once you have formulated your Energy and Sustainability policy, an Energy Audit is a sensible first step as it will quantify and crystallise your current position and enable you to make informed and achievable choices within your projected budget.

An Energy Audit will help you understand and appreciate your building’s performance, on-site staff activities, internal processes, and current energy usage patterns. This information can be mapped against your energy consumption data. As a picture emerges this information will provide verifiable evidence helping you to further develop your road-map. At the outset, target the easy wins such as energy wastage, then move forward with incremental steps to larger projects as your budget allows.

Information on Energy Audits

Touchstone provides a complete Energy Management and Audit service designed to monitor and reduce energy consumption for charities, businesses, and industrial sites throughout the UK. We will establish your current energy performance, identify critical issues, and deliver remedies to underlying problems.

Our solutions are guaranteed to deliver energy savings and reductions in carbon emissions. This ongoing process ensures that results are maintained and refined over time, leading to reliable, long-term performance.

An Energy Audit will verify your overall energy usage in a coherent and logical way. The information gained can provide quantifiable information to help target areas of energy wastage and identify viable solutions that will help save energy in your business. An initial ‘desktop analysis’ will produce a useful appraisal of your position and can be effective in identifying areas of concern. A subsequent site inspection will identify all questionable aspects of your buildings and processes that could influence energy performance. Planned initiatives can be supported by gathered evidence and used to quantify the benefits.

Simple Business Energy Saving Tips to improve your energy efficiency.

Turn it off!! If computers, monitors, printers, lights, and other equipment are not in use during unoccupied hours (when your staff aren’t present), you are burning money and emitting carbon unnecessarily. Train your team in the habit of shutting off all equipment and processes that are not necessary for the running of basic services (servers, freezers etc), before they leave the premises. Turning off and unplugging as many devices as possible at the end of the day is a simple way to cut back. Delegate this responsibility to a small team.

Employ an Energy Management reporting platform. The ability to access your gas, electricity and water consumption data will inform you of the sources of your energy costs, and unless you have the ability to understand when, why and where your consumption is generated you won’t be able to address the causes. State-of-the-art Energy Management platforms will help evaluate your consumption, costs and carbon emissions and identify the associated sources.

Take advantage of natural sunlight. If your building has the potential to benefit from natural sunlight via windows or skylights, make sure you use it. With electricity becoming more and more expensive, every kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity and gas you save will help your bottom line. On a sunny day, you might not need to turn on the lights at all in some areas where windows can give all the illumination you need.

Reduce Maximum Demand. Do you know that reducing your electricity Maximum Demand, (or gas – Peak Demand) is one of the best ways to save energy?

Times of high demand vary depending on business sector but often, although not always, are during typical working hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Among methods of reducing your demand during these times is to stagger work hours and create shift patterns that run energy intensive equipment during evening and early morning hours. This helps conserve energy throughout the day when it is most expensive.

Prevent ‘Wasted Energy. Wasted energy is the energy that is drawing power whilst not in use for the purpose it was designed. Examples: pumps and fans running, unused equipment on stand-by, hobs and grills left on.

Think about the outdoors. If you control what happens to the outside of your buildings and the surrounding landscaping, you have a great opportunity to create energy-savings with energy-efficient landscaping. Strategically planted trees and bushes can create shade and block winds, which is a great way to reduce your heating and cooling costs and help wildlife at the same time.

Employee Engagement

Businesses that are contemplating ways to reduce energy costs need to engage with their staff. Try and identify those that are environmentally aware, motivated, and have the capacity to create change within your organisation.

Nominate Energy Champions who will take the lead and support environmental initiatives. Reward and energise staff who find ways of saving energy and lowering energy costs. Motivate your staff and raise morale with updates on success stories.

Reduce Base-load.  What is base-load?  A simple way of explaining base-load is to imagine a ship at sea during the night. The bulk of crew and passengers are asleep and inactive, but the ship needs energy to power the ship and keep the structure safe and comfortable, and maintain vital services.

In similar terms, business premises are generally inactive throughout nights and weekends during when buildings are empty. During these unoccupied hours there should be no energy consumption other than that required to maintain essential processes, such as servers, heat and humidity levels, and chillers and freezers. The fact is that many processes and equipment continue to operate unnecessarily. Identifying and rectifying these issues result in dramatic decreases in energy consumption, costs and carbon emissions.

Efforts to implement effective Energy Efficiency are rewarding and result in reductions of greenhouse gases, improved site and staff performance, and a reduction in costs.

Top Tip:

Before deciding what energy efficiency steps to take, make sure you identify and eliminate energy wastage.

Contact Touchstone for more information


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