On average in the UK it is estimated that 20% of the energy consumed is wasted by businesses. This could be as simple as leaving lights on, ventilation left running when buildings are empty, and heat loss through poor insulation.
- Staff awareness and training (Behavioural Change). Involve your employees– their combined actions and knowledge if utilised correctly can provide a quick win. As a rule of thumb, it is worth investing 1% of your total energy/water costs in awareness campaigns and training. It is quite common to achieve savings between 5-25% by people-based initiatives without the need for capital investment in equipment. Further details on involving your employees within your energy management plan can be found here.
- Reducing Consumption. This is by far, the quickest and cheapest saving you can make. Turn Things OFF. While this sounds simple, it is the thing we all find so hard to do, it doesn’t matter if it’s a light switch or a PC, turn it off at the plug. Standby is just a trickle of electricity that when you add it up over a year can be a small stream or a river.
- Conduct a walk around your site when the site is shut. Are all non-essential equipment such as lights, air conditioning, and compressed air systems switched off?
Quick win energy-saving ideas include;
- Limit energy loss: consider insulating building fabric and fitting draft excluders
- Lower workplace temperatures: government guidance recommends a minimum of 16 Celsius or 13 Celsius if employees are doing physical work while ensuring temperatures are comfortable
- Automatic sensors: think about fitting timers to lighting and workplace equipment. This can include lighting sensors that switch off room lighting when not in use or timers that switch equipment off during non-working hours
- LED Lighting: Installing LED lights is often presented as the easiest way to save money; however, if done correctly as part of a coordinated arrangement the savings can be even greater. Intelligent LEDs need to be fitted, they come with their own controls so that they turn themselves on and off, adjust themselves automatically depending on the availability of natural light and last a long time. Their failure rate is very low. Even better than replacing conventional lighting with LEDs is commissioning a lighting design done, this usually results in a lower number of fittings giving you even bigger savings. Getting the controls set up and commissioned by a qualified installer will save you even more.
- Motors and Compressors: There can be substantial savings to be had with these, changing motors for variable speed drives can save up to 30% of the consumption, get the motors checked, and stopping air leaks can have the same or a bigger impact. It is often better to get a new compressor as it will be more energy efficient.
Further details on what to include in your workplace checklist can be found here.
Help from central government can be found here and information about energy efficiency grants and schemes can be found here. Durham County Council also have the in-house expertise and support and case studies from businesses they have supported from the Business Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP).