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How Can I Improve Energy Management for my Business Utilities?

When you’re at home, you’re in charge of your energy usage, making it easy to control how and when you use your electricity, gas and more. 

In a business, however, cutting back on your energy use is harder when you have multiple people — maybe even hundreds — all using the same power source. 

There’s no need to worry though, at Love Energy Savings, we’re in the business of helping our customers save on their energy.

To make sure you’re never using more energy than you need to, we’ve created our ultimate guide to energy management for business utilities. 

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Contents

 

What is energy management?

Energy management is the use of modern techniques and technology in order to enhance energy performance in your place of work.

UK businesses are notorious for overpaying for their energy, neglecting to make use of energy management techniques. Now, businesses need to take energy management seriously if they want to reduce their energy bills and adhere to new legislation about the responsibilities of UK businesses to help save the environment.

The solution is for businesses to implement an energy management scheme — a detailed strategy, planning out exactly how you plan to reduce energy emissions. Energy management schemes should be integrated with your senior management strategy, as well as any existing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy.

How to better manage your business energy

Below, we’ve created an in-depth list to help you better understand how to reduce electricity usage in the workplace, along with your water, gas and other utilities. 

1. Create a clear energy strategy

The first step towards developing a successful energy management scheme is to create an energy strategy. An energy strategy is a document which defines exactly how your business energy management system will be approached. You should include a plan of tasks which will have taken into account your business’s current situation and the existing management framework. 

As these tasks are outlined, your energy strategy will evolve as you implement the various energy-saving projects that are going to save you money. Sound energy strategies should always take into account:

  • The procurement of equipment, services and property, bearing in mind the consequences for energy efficiency and the resulting costs. 
  • Compliance with climate change and energy regulations is always an essential element.
  • The organisation of roles and responsibilities within the company needs to be clearly set out to ensure that there are sufficient resources available. 

2. Metering, monitoring and targeting (MM&T)

Also known as Energy Information Management, MM&T is one of the most crucial aspects of a good energy management system. Metering, monitoring and target are what ensures that you set realistic energy targets based on your actual usage.

The process identifies energy-saving opportunities by completing energy surveys and analysing energy data through metering, monitoring and targeting.

Core elements of an MM&T programme 

  • Recording data — Your data will be separated into three categories: energy consumption, energy costs and energy drivers (floor area, production runs, temperature variations etc)
  • Analysing data — Correlating energy consumption with key outputs
  • Setting targets and benchmarking — Choose what targets you’re aiming for as a business from historically-based improvements, industrial benchmarks or arbitrary goals.
  • Monitoring — Comparing your businesses energy consumption against the goals that have been set.
  • Reporting — Both regular, periodic reports and on demand reports for investigation purposes.
  • Controlling — Acting on any instances of under performing sites, billing discrepancies or unexpected usage variations.

3. Acquire senior management buy-in

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Much like any aspect of your business, getting the higher-ups on board will make changes flow much more smoothly. By ensuring that senior management shares your goals and are behind your business energy management project, you can rest assured that this will be filtered to the rest of the workforce.   

The process for acquiring senior buy-in can be as simple as:

  1. Identify who is the best champion for the project
  2. Ask if they're open to learning more about energy management
  3. Pitch the idea using business research and emphasising value to the company
  4. Tell them their role as champion of the project and get their commitment
  5. Ask what steps need to be taken to keep their commitment 

Of course, if you’re a small business owner, the only commitment you’ll need is your own. To help keep you accountable, make it a written declaration that you can share with your staff.

4. Create a business energy policy

Every business’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy should have energy at the heart of its ethos. 

Make sure your company has an energy policy — a written statement of intent from your business that explains how you will combat energy inefficiencies. This will refer to the way you procure and produce goods and services.

A few paragraphs will usually suffice for a small business. However, large firms will likely need a couple of pages to ensure nothing is overlooked.

Key things to include are:

  • Who is accountable for your energy policy
  • What your business’s energy targets are
  • How progress will be monitored and reviewed
  • Any human resources and training commitments
  • How energy management will be rolled out to the wider business
  • Economic investment criteria
  • Any plans to integrate energy efficiency into existing investments
  • Business reporting procedures

5. Frequent energy management reviews

Creating an energy management scheme for your company is a great first step but does not mean your work is done.

Like most things, it’s unlikely you’ll perfect it on your first attempt — this is where energy management reviews come in. In your wider strategy, you’ll need to regularly review your efforts to make sure you’re on track towards your energy goals. 

Annual reviews should be treated as a bare minimum, however, quarterly energy management reviews are a more practical way to see the effects of your changes and make adjustments when necessary. 

6. Rethink how you print

It may not seem like it, but printing is one of the biggest waste of resources in the workplace. The good news is that there are some really easy steps you can take to reduce the amount of paper you use and subsequently waste.

Reduce your paper waste by:

  • Only printing/photocopying when it’s absolutely necessary
  • Only print the sections of documents you need, rather than the whole thing
  • Email documents instead of printing them
  • Print on both sides of the paper to reduce the number of sheets you use
  • Use less ink by setting your printer to economy 

Although these steps may seem trivial, you can save yourself a lot of money each year by implementing them across the whole business — you could even consider taking things a step further by becoming a paperless workspace. 

7. Re-use your paper

While shredding and recycling wasted paper in your office is always recommended, you could get even more out of it by using it as scrap paper first.

Getting your hands on a fresh new pad of paper is always a great feeling but scrap printer paper is perfect for jotting down your ideas and making quick notes. Plus, you can always recycle your scrap paper later once you’re finished with it, helping you to do your bit for the environment.

8. Switch it off

Even if you’ve created the most in-depth energy strategy, all your efforts will come to nought if you or your employees are being freely wasteful with energy — meaning both the business and the environment will suffer for it.

Electrical appliances are often forgotten about and are therefore the biggest culprits for wasted energy. In fact, just one typical photocopier left on overnight wastes enough electricity to make up to 5,000 copies. Just think how much of your business energy this is wasting and how much this could add to profits over let’s say, one year!

Here are some ways that you can make a big difference in cutting down energy waste and saving your business money with minimal effort:

  • Laptops and desktops — One laptop or desktop left on overnight wastes enough electricity to print 800 pieces of A4 paper. Modern computers take very little time to boot up, so turn them off at the end of the day; it’s better for them anyway.
  • Computer monitors — Completely shutting down your computer every time you leave your desk isn’t a feasible solution to saving power, however, if you know you’ll be away from your desk for more than 15 minutes, turn off your monitor. Screensavers and sleep modes still use power, so switching it off is the only way to save energy.
  • Lights — Make sure that there are no lights left on in rooms that aren’t being used. You wouldn’t pay to keep your whole home lit if no one was inside, so don’t do it in your workplace.
  • Appliances — Any other appliances in your office should be switched off at the wall when not in use. Even unassuming things like mobile phone chargers and microwaves can be a huge drain on your electricity when left switched on. 

 

9. Recycle

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This should be an obvious one — events such as the Paris agreement have put more pressure than ever on businesses to do their part for the environment, of which recycling is a big one. There are likely to be all sorts of materials used in your business, some of which you may not have known can be recycled.

Common recyclable materials include:

  • Cardboard from deliveries etc.
  • Scrap paper (which has been used on both sides)
  • Cans and tins from lunch
  • Printer and toner cartridges (there are often incentives for recycling these)
  • Magazines, junk mail and newspapers
  • Plastic bottles

10. Reduce your water consumption

When we think about wasting energy, electricity is always the first thing that comes to mind. However, overusing and wasting water can often be just as much of a drain on resources.

Important things to think about when looking for ways to reduce your water usage are:

  • Only use the amount of water that you need.
  • Make sure all taps are turned off and that any drips are repaired (each drip can add up faster than you realise!). 
  • Turn off urns and electric water heaters overnight and on the weekends
  • If taps are excessively hot, reduce the maximum heat settings on your boiler. This will not only make it safer but will also mean that your boilers won’t need to work as hard. 

It is now possible for businesses to change their water provider so you could secure cheaper water rates and reduce bills further.

Compare utility tariffs

With your business going to all the trouble to reduce the amount of energy it wastes on a daily basis, why are you still paying more for energy than you need to? With our free energy comparison tool, you can compare a huge range of suppliers to find the right tariff for you. As well as finding the best prices, you’ll even have access to suppliers that provide green energy plans to make your environmental actions go even further

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