With the elections behind us, industry watchers are speculating whether the new government will help businesses reduce their energy costs.
While some are optimistic, others say this is wishful thinking, as they cite the failure of the government’s Green Deal policy. A GOV.UK report also showed that business energy bills were higher in 2014 due to energy policies; up by 11% for small businesses and by 28% for most larger businesses.
This really doesn’t bode well for those who are waiting for government intervention. At SRL Limited, we feel that instead of businesses waiting for the government to do something, they can look inward to see how they can reduce their energy bills.
Other than reduced bills, benefits that exist for energy efficient businesses include:
- Capitalising on tax incentives and government tax breaks.
- Elevating your business’s green credentials.
- Improving employee health, which in turn reduces health costs and increases productivity.
- Reducing psychological stress, sick days, and incidences of respiratory illness.
With these potential benefits, how can your business become energy efficienct without undergoing an expensive energy retrofit? It begins with getting your staff more involved in the process. Nobody knows your business, it’s energy-using activities, and processes better than your employees.
Management should start by carrying out an energy audit to determine the current energy use. It involves finding out which electrical equipment is in use, how much energy they consume, and if the equipment has to be turned on all day. One way to manage this is to re-schedule operations to run at off-peak times, as this can deliver significant savings.
Like many decisions that affect the company, energy efficiency is best tackled with input from top-tier management and everyone else in the company. At employee level, they should be encouraged to start any changes small. Management inertia doesn’t only occur at the top, people will always be resistant to change, especially if it is seen as a big one.
Therefore find the smallest task they can do that will have a cumulative effect. Simple behaviour change like:
- Turning off their workstations and printers at the close of work everyday.
- Lowering blinds or opening windows to counter heat gain, reduce heat gain, and undue A/C use.
- Educating them on out-of-hours wastage and how much power is wasted on evenings, weekends, and bank holidays.
Sharing the results of how small actions, such as how turning down the heating by 1oo C can reduce your bill by 10%, will help with overcoming employee inertia.
Management on their part can play a part in the improvement of energy efficiency by:
- Shopping around to find a better deal for gas and electricity; don’t be afraid, as you can almost always find a cheaper supplier.
- Opting out of auto-renewal on their utility supply; energy companies always manage to bump up the cost every year.
- Investing in newer equipment; the initial cost of modern equipment will be absorbed by their energy savings over time. Did you know that using smaller computer monitors, businesses can reduce energy usage by up to 30%?
- Doing a thorough retrofit i.e.; ensure that the glass used to reduce heat loss is up to FENSA standards.
- Invest in automation, as staff may occasionally forget to do their part; sensors for lighting and timers for heating or cooling can turn off appliances when not in use.
- Appoint a green champion; One who will help with employee awareness and act as a walk-around manager for the CEO.
In the midst of all this, business leaders are standing up for their businesses. Last week, the leaders of over 50 construction and property groups wrote an open letter to the government urging the PM to make energy efficiency and infrastructure a priority. If you are keen on improving energy efficiency in your workplace, contact SRL Limited today.