How to conduct a simple energy audit that will instantly save your business money
Every company, regardless of its size, uses energy; and in most cases, they do not use it as efficiently as possible. Conducting a simple business energy audit can not only help you to dramatically slash your carbon footprint, but you could also make substantial financial savings too.
The first step for any business looking to streamline their gas and electricity consumption is to understand exactly how, where and when the bulk of their energy is used. Statistics reveal that a staggering 95% of UK businesses are missing out on energy efficiency savings, it’s time to take action.
Here are your energy audit options...
Whilst an energy audit is mandatory practice for large enterprises (those with more than 250 employees), the same does not apply for SMEs. For these types of business, although they’re not legally obliged to adhere to the auditing process, performing a simple, top-level energy audit themselves could be an extremely cost-effective and quick way to free up some much-needed capital.
There are a wide range of energy auditors in the UK who will provide your business with a short consultation, highlighting areas where you could save money. You can also undertake a telephone audit where you can gain some invaluable advice. Some of these are free to new customers.
You can read more about the government’s detailed guidance on the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) here.
Performing your own energy audit - no matter how basic it is - will give you the perfect opportunity to get a real understanding of your company’s utility bills and usage. Although it will not be as thorough and expertly carried out as a professional audit, you will be able to spot the tell-tale signs of energy wastage.
Start by taking a quick tour of your premises - check for air leaks around doorways, identify the types of light bulbs you use and take a look at the insulation you have - if any. Take notes of every issue you have found so you can prioritise which ones need to be tackled first.
Although some improvements may be more time consuming - or need professional advice and support - there are some very quick wins you can achieve that can make a considerable difference to your energy use:
· Check your appliances and assess how much you use them. Everyday items such as your kettle and toaster should be switched off when not in use. For Example, did you know that overfilling kettles costs British consumers £68 million per year?
· Turn off computer monitors when not in use, especially overnight or at the weekend
· Switch off the lights when everyone has gone home. Even better, switch to light sensors that automatically turn off when no one is in the room
How can I use my audit findings to make tangible changes to cut my energy usage?
Once you’ve identified clear problem areas, it’s time to make some alterations.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, it’s safe to assume that most businesses will encounter similar issues when it comes to wasting energy.
Here’s a handy checklist for you to work through...
Insulation is the most effective and long-standing method to improve energy efficiency within any business premises. As this guide from thinkinsulation.com shows, you can save up to £140 a year simply by fitting loft insulation in your premises. The initial cost of installation should be recouped within two years, so it’s a very shrewd long-term investment for any SME.
There are many different varieties of insulation available. Here are the most popular:
Popular in the home as well as business premises, blanket insulation is generally cheap, easy to install and widely available. Often made with sheep’s wool or recycled glass, the materials used can be uncomfortable if they come into contact with your skin. If you have little experience in installing this, it’s always best to get the experts in to professionally fit it.
Used for the sloping side of your roof, this is one of the more expensive methods of insulation. However, once it has been installed, the materials used make it extremely durable and cost-effective. Rigid insulation, as it is also known, carries a high R-value per inch (which measures the thermal qualities of an insulation sheet).
You will need to get the experts in to have this installed, but if you’re looking for the quickest and most versatile method of saving heat within your premises, blown-fibre is the way forward.
For more information on insulation, check out this handy guide.
How can I make my business greener?
Global warming is an extremely pressing issue, and businesses are under increasing pressure to become ‘green’. More and more businesses are reducing their carbon footprint, you can too with these handy tips.
Change light bulbs
This is one of the quickest ways to make a simple energy change and can save your business up to £240 per year. There are two main varieties of energy-efficient light bulbs on the market - Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and the more popular choice, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
CFLs are most widely used in the home, thanks to their cost-effective qualities. However, for commercial and business use, LEDs are the way to go. They are more expensive initially, but will save you more money in the long run, making them perfect for business use.
Avoid using the printer unnecessarily
With as much as 31% of companies saying they are ordering more paper than they did five years ago, it seems the ‘paperless office’ - which has become a buzzword in recent years - hasn’t been as easy to achieve as first thought. But that doesn’t mean your business can’t buck the trend.
Now we don’t expect you and your employees to never use the printer; that just wouldn’t be practical. But there are little changes you can make. Request that your bank, suppliers, customers etc. send all documents online. This improves productivity and considerably cuts down your paper usage.
Provide training for staff
To really get your staff on board, provide them with some green energy training. There are many workshop providers that will come to your premises and educate your workers on the importance of energy efficiency. It could transform the way in which your employees look at your business and how they can get involved in your green energy project.
Want to learn more about how your business can do its bit to fight climate change? Read our complete guide.
It’s clear that being proactive and making a few simple changes can go a long way towards helping SMEs to save money on their energy bills. Reducing your gas and electricity consumption is one thing, but you can also take steps to slash the price you’re paying for your power.
Make sure you’re not paying too much by comparing the cheapest business energy prices today!