8 Top Tips to Drive Efficiency Through Energy and Carbon Reduction
After a long and bleak winter, we're now entering the warmer months and a reduction in energy usage and therefore your energy billing......... or are we?
Traditionally, energy prices peak during the winter months and then tend to calm down over the warmer summer months. However, whilst we’d usually expect to see a slight easing on pricing and consumption reduction in the warmer months, it may not have much impact on your billing.
With continued unpredictability surrounding Brexit and the political situation in the US (which has an impact on the price of oil), energy traders are predicting that the wholesale energy market is likely to be erratic for the next two years. Volatility in the energy market will make it more and more difficult to pin point when the best time to buy energy is and how to achieve the cheapest rates.
There's another factor too; the ever increasing cost of the non-commodity elements of your electricity bill, suggests an overall increase in the price of your energy supply in the not too distant future. In fact, non-energy costs are likely to make up 55% of the total electricity bill, rising to around 65% by 2020.
Therefore, business owners and decision makers within energy procurement need to start adopting energy efficiency measures as it'll be a great way to influence the price that you pay for your energy supply;
1. Automatic Meter Readers (AMRs)
The majority of meters simply deliver monthly reads to your supplier. But there are meters out there that can supply you with the data that you need to make a difference. Automatic Meter Readers record and profile your use, set targets on baseload reduction and eliminate areas of needless consumption/ spend.
2. Business Lighting
The fitting of low energy rated or LED lights is a proven way to reduce your electricity consumption within a business. Swapping units, like-for-like, will make a difference but the real benefit will be achieved if lighting systems are properly designed to provide the most suitable solutions for the business premises.
3. Take advantage of technology....... and use it properly
Utilise sensors and their timing features effectively to reduce the energy in the least occupied areas of the premises. But the implementation of technological advances, to help reduce your energy consumption, is only the first step. Actually taking the time to programme and audit their use is needed to achieve your energy and carbon reduction targets. Also, when buying new equipment check its energy consumption. Often buying something cheap can be a false economy in the long term when running costs are taken into account.
4. Maintain Equipment
Maintain equipment to reduce the possibility of load disturbance and power quality that could otherwise cause inefficiencies. Regular maintenance and service of all energy consuming equipment and heating systems will ensure they run as efficiently as possible.
5. Avoid Standby Mode
Whether you're a professional services provider or a large manufacturing company, any non-business critical device or equipment should be switched off and shut down properly outside working hours. Turn off any equipment that will not be used for long periods of time and make sure all non-necessary equipment is turned off overnight and at weekends i.e. printers, computers and machinery.
6. Heating and Cooling
Set base and max heating and cooling temperatures in different areas of the premises. Find the optimum settings for your business environment and this will eliminate energy waste. Don't heat empty rooms. Workshops where there's physical work carried out can be set to either lower temperatures or no heat, as can warehouses, storerooms or corridors. Don’t have windows or doors open while the heating is on. If staff are too warm turn the thermostat down. Reduce the thermostat temperature by 1⁰C. As a general rule, costs are increased by 8% - 10% for every ⁰C.
It's all been a bit high tech so far hasn't it? But there are 2 very low tech solutions too;
7. Let the Daylight in
Utilise natural daylight wherever possible. Keep skylights and windows clean and free from debris. This can actively reduce the business' need for lighting during a sunny day and reduce your energy usage.
8. Engage with your Employees
Employees can have a profound effect on a business' energy consumption if empowered to do so. Have a policy of switching lights off in empty rooms or invest in motion sensor lighting for corridors and washrooms etc. This alone can save you up to 15% on your energy bill. Set targets for a department or shift and promote energy leaders within the business. Successful engagement with staff is a low cost solution and the first step in reducing energy consumption. So we’re not sure why we’ve put it at number 8 of 8.
There is an ever increasing need for businesses to understand energy consumption and billing and we recommend that business owners invest time to fully understand and budget for any bill increases relating to Government policy.
With the non-commodity and Government levy components of the overall electricity price set to rise over the next few years, it is becoming increasingly important that businesses take active steps to reduce energy consumption.
"With continued unpredictability surrounding Brexit and the political situation in the US (which has an impact on the price of oil), energy traders are predicting that the wholesale energy market is likely to be erratic for the next two years. Volatility in the energy market will make it more and more difficult to pin point when the best time to buy energy is and how to achieve the cheapest rates."