How Can I Improve Energy Management in the Workplace?
Saving energy in a business is a little different from saving at home. At home, saving energy is as simple as turning off lights when you’re not in a room and ensuring appliances are not left on unnecessarily.
The workplace, though, can be an entirely different animal. It’s far more challenging to manage when it comes to streamlining and making sure you're not haemorrhaging vital electricity, gas or even both.
This latest Love Energy Savings Energy Guide looks to help you with this energy management process and save serious cash for your business.
- A clear energy strategy
- Metering, Monitoring and Targeting (MM&T)
- Get senior management buy-in
- Create a business energy policy
- Frequent energy management reviews
Energy management is the use of modern techniques and technology in order to enhance energy performance in your place of work.
Despite the looming energy crisis and the fact that businesses all across the UK are paying too much for their energy, energy management is largely neglected. 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 to implement an energy management scheme that is a detailed strategy that shows what you will do to reduce energy emissions. It should be integrated with your senior management strategy, as well as any existing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy.
A good energy management programme has been made all the more important due to continued energy price hikes and also climate change legislation.
We’ve highlighted 5 key areas for your business with regard to energy management, which will help you with energy management training and solutions for your organisation.
This should be in the form of 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 businesses' 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.
A sound energy strategy should involve at least the following:
- The procurement of equipment, services and property should be undertaken, bearing in mind the consequences for energy efficiency and the resulting costs.
- Compliance with climate change and energy regulations is essential.
- Organisation of roles and responsibilities within the company to ensure that there are sufficient resources available.
- When investing in new projects, cost-effective energy efficiency should be taken into account.
This is sometimes referred to as Energy Information Management, but more commonly as MM&T. MM&T is the most crucial aspect of a good energy management system because it ensures you set realistic 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.
As with any aspect of your business, the contribution of your key members of staff is of paramount importance.
By ensuring your senior management are behind your business energy management project, you can rest assured this will be filtered to the rest of the workforce.
Your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy should have an energy policy at the heart of its ethos.
An energy policy is a written statement of intent from your business that explains how you will combat energy inefficiencies in the way you procure and produce goods or services.
If you are part of a small business, a few paragraphs will suffice. Larger firms may need a couple of pages for their energy policy.
Implementing your energy management scheme should be a phase 1 in a grander strategy — after all, you’re unlikely to get it 100% right the first time around.
Regular reviews of your efforts will ensure that all goals are being chased effectively. Annual reviews would be the bare minimum here, but quarterly energy management reviews could be more practical approach.
Whether you run a business or are simply a conscientious employee, taking measures to improve energy efficiency at work can have benefits for everyone. Not only does this improve your company’s bottom line but it also has real advantages for the environment.
Energy efficiency in the workplace is dependent on the organisational culture within and this can therefore either assist or compromise your efforts. If staff are made aware of how their habits or actions can affect energy efficiency, then they are more likely to make positive changes. MM&T can be vital when it comes to employee awareness.
This can be promoted further through the use of posters, stickers and internal communications and when good energy efficiency is achieved, this can then be shared with shareholders, customers and the local community to really show your efforts off. This has the obvious benefits for the reputation of your business as well as the environment and ultimately, your bottom line.
Staying on the theme of printing, which is one of the biggest areas when it comes to wasting resources in the workplace, why not try to get more onto each page? In order to do this, there are a few quick and easy settings you can adjust to ensure that if you absolutely have to print, you can get the maximum onto each precious piece of paper.
Here are a few ways you can reduce the amount you print:
- Only print and/or photocopy when it is completely necessary
- Only print the parts of a document that you actually need to
- Email documents instead of printing them
- Print on both sides to reduce the number of pages you use
- Set your printer to economy or fast to use less ink
Doing all of the above can save your business a significant amount of money every year. If you are in charge at your workplace, why not put up a sign or send around an email asking employees to be mindful of these criteria?
Of course, we would recommend the shredding and/or recycling of all of the wasted paper in your office or workplace, but why not re-use it as scrap paper?
Pukka pads may be nicer to write on but scrap printer paper is ideal for jotting your ideas and notes down. Often, no one else has to see these scribblings and it can help you do your bit for the environment, especially if it’s a culture you’re able to foster company-wide.
Whether you are in charge of your business or you're an employee, there is nothing to be achieved from wasting energy and therefore money; and also harming the environment.
If you’re the last person to leave of an evening, why not make it your job to ensure that all monitors, printers and photocopiers are switched off? 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!
Practical examples of how switching things off can strengthen your energy efficiency
Monitors — Turn off your monitor if you know you are going to be away from your desk for 15 minutes or more. Don’t rely on screensavers or sleep modes — there is no substitute for just turning it off!
Laptops and desktop computers — 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.
Lights — Make sure lights are switched off in rooms which aren’t in use around the business.
Appliances — Finally, make sure that all other appliances and devices are switched off at the wall when not in use. Some of the culprits you may not think of, which drain serious electricity are mobile phones and microwaves.
Other quick ways to save on energy costs
- Invest in an urn rather than a kettle
- Only fill kettles with as much water as you need
- Report or fix and faulty doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping
- Turn down radiators in smaller rooms that require less energy to heat up
- Remove obstructions to radiators so heat can circulate
- Avoid the use of portable electric heaters at work, these massively drain energy and also cost a fortune.
There are most probably all sorts of materials around the business, which you didn’t realise could be recycled. Here is our list of some recommended recyclable items:
- 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
Finally, water is something we take for granted in this country. Many nations can’t even rely on fresh running water but we use it like it’s going out of fashion. Why not take a minute to think about your water consumption?
- Only use the amount of water you need
- Make sure all taps are turned off and drips are repaired
- Turn off urns and electric water heaters when at night and over weekends
- If taps are excessively hot, reduce the maximum heat settings on your boiler
It is now possible for businesses to change their water provider so you could secure cheaper water rates and reduce bills further.
Not only will these steps reduce your business gas and electricity bills, but you can also do your bit for the planet. What’s more, customers love businesses which are green and take the environment seriously. Follow these steps and we are confident that you will start reaping the benefits in no time.
Of course, there is no point in saving all this energy if you are on the wrong business energy tariff in the first place. Why not take advantage of our free energy comparison tool to see how much you can save on your energy bills?