With fears over an energy crisis making headline news and more people returning to the office, there has never been a more pressing time for businesses to implement an energy efficiency strategy.
Today energy is climbing up the corporate agenda, triggered by rising costs as well as sweeping environmental and social trends, including climate change and ambitious net-zero carbon targets
Business owners have no control over the price of gas or electricity, as these are dictated by market forces and geopolitical issues, but what they can do is manage consumption more effectively. As the old saying goes, ‘the cheapest unit of electricity is the one you never use’.
To be able to reduce consumption, first businesses need to understand when and where they are using energy. Energy Management, for example, has bespoke software that enables us to assess the energy performance of a business across its asset base.
Once the data has been gathered and analysed, informed decisions can then be made about where savings can be made.
This may result in equipment upgrades or relatively low-scale investment in timer switches for lights or the installation of longer-lasting LED lightbulbs.
Encouraging behavioural change amongst employees is key to the success of an energy efficiency strategy.
Most money-conscious employees wouldn’t leave lights on unnecessarily or not properly shut down their electrical devices but gentle reminders from an appointed, in-house ‘energy champion’ never do any harm.
Alternatively, you could turn to an external energy agency or energy managers to conduct an energy audit and determine how you can use less power without compromising business throughput, output or thermal comfort and wellbeing of staff.
Here’s a summary of the steps you can take:
- Get an energy audit
Air leaks and issues around boilers and insulation will be identified along with any energy-saving opportunities.
- Purchase energy-efficient equipment
Check the energy star rating of appliances and, where applicable, replace with more energy efficient models
- Reduce peak demand
Try to stagger working hours to spread the load and bring energy consumption down during periods when it is typically at its highest.
LED lightbulbs and timer switches that turn off the lights when not in use are simple measures that don’t have to break the budget
Check to see if the boiler that supplies heating to the building is serviced and well-maintained.
Install thermostats so that rooms are only being heated when they need to be.
- Switch off idle devices
A great office energy-saving tip is to have your computer add-ons (printers, monitors, etc.) connected to power strips so that the flip of a single switch can shut down several devices at a time.
- Office redesign
A simple redesign of the layout of your office may result in more natural sunlight entering the building and, therefore, reduce the need for artificial light. Greater exposure to natural sunlight is also known to improve the well-being of staff.
- Natural protection
Planting trees in strategic places around the outside of the building will provide shade from the sun and act as windbreaks during the winter months and can help reduce demand for air conditioning and heating
- Cultural change
Get buy-in from employees so that they personally invest in energy-saving measures.
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