Energy efficiency

Did you know SMEs make up 99% of businesses, which accounts for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions? It’s a lot, right? So, by businesses making small changes starting now, we can start to make a huge difference towards the UK’s net zero 2050 target.

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The bottom line

It’s no secret we all feel like we could or should be doing more to reduce our energy consumption. Not only to help preserve our planet’s natural resources, business energy efficiency and reduced energy consumption means reduced energy costs – it’s a win-win situation.

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The green industrial revolution

In 2020 the UK government set out a plan for what they’re calling the Green Industrial Revolution, providing £12bn of funding to support sustainability and create more green jobs. This means that there has never been a better time to invest in and improve your own sustainable activities.

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The numbers tell the story of energy efficiency...

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1/3

of consumers are conscious

A third of consumers choose to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good

175

govt grants available

Government schemes are available throughout the country to help businesses be more energy efficient

20%

of emissions from SMEs

A fifth of emissions come from SMEs, which make up 99% of businesses

£12bn

to support “green industrial revolution”

£12bn of public investment proposed to support the “green industrial revolution”

What can you do?

We know it can feel a little overwhelming knowing where to start with business energy efficiency projects, but even being here and starting to think about what you can do is a step in the right direction. We’ve laid out some steps you can take to make efficiency an integral part of your business…

Before committing to making any changes, build a clear picture of how you’re performing currently. This will identify areas where there can be quick wins to improve efficiency and where it may take a little more work to make change. From an energy perspective this can include:

Heating
  • Do you have air conditioning and heaters operating in the same area?
  • Have the heaters/boilers been serviced recently?
  • Is the thermostat operating correctly and set to the right temperature?
  • Are there any drafts coming in through windows or doors?
  • Are there any obstructions in front of fans or heaters?
Lighting
  • Have you upgraded all possible bulbs to LEDs? (Providing more light, using less energy, win-win)
  • Are lights turned off when not needed, and if not, can you install movement sensors or timers to help?
Equipment
  • Are computers/monitors turned off when they’re not in use (not just left on standby)?
  • Is any electrical equipment or machinery left on overnight that doesn’t need to be
  • Are refrigerator/cooler seals clean and undamaged?
Data
  • If you currently have a SMART meter, you have access to a wealth of data that can show when your energy consumption peaks and help to identify which areas or what equipment is impacting on your efficiency.

Once you’ve got the lay of the land and understand how you’re using energy, you can identify areas that can be improved in your business energy efficiency project. Some will be easier, like changing bulbs to LEDs, turning down the thermostat, turning off electronics at the plug when they’re not in use, and making computers and screens are fully turned off rather than left on standby. Others may take more planning or investment, like improving building insulation or upgrading outdated equipment that is draining energy.

No matter how thorough your review or foolproof your business energy efficiency action plan is, it won’t work if you don’t have the buy-in of your staff. After all, they’re the ones who will be implementing the changes in day-to-day tasks and will be able to give insight into energy usage across all areas of the business.

Identifying a person, or even a whole team depending on the size of your organisation, to be accountable for energy management as well as having the authority to implement change will help ensure the process doesn’t lose momentum. That said, it needs to be clear that the responsibility doesn’t only come down to them – it will take the commitment and actions of everybody to help reduce energy consumption. Open communication to check people’s understanding of the plan and their part in it will help identify any blockers and provide simple routes for additional suggestions and feedback. This will ensure that staff feel that they contribute to the action plan and are an active and integral part of being more efficient.

Remember, this process isn’t a one-off activity that you can check off the list and never think about again. By continually reviewing your business energy efficiency activities and identifying areas to improve, you will continue to become a cleaner and greener company  – saving energy and reducing energy costs in the process.

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