The UK energy crisis has left households and businesses facing rising gas and electricity bills. The current energy crisis will undoubtedly impact every British business, with recent estimates suggesting that there will be a £20 billion increase in the energy bills for UK businesses in 2022. An increase in energy market prices across Europe means households will now pay an average of 54% more for energy this year than in 2020, according to Bank of America.
These rising energy prices will have significant and lasting impacts on UK businesses, regardless of their size. with recent estimates suggesting that there will be a £20 billion increase in the energy bills for UK businesses in 2022.
Here, we look at low-cost and effective actions that your business can take to save energy and cut costs.
The most expensive bacon sandwich
Planet Mark Chief Operating Officer Scott Armstrong has been working in energy and sustainability for the past thirty years. Here, he brings to life the importance of energy management through an experience helping to identify areas of energy reduction in the hospitality industry.
“A few years ago I was working for a hotel group. I was onsite doing an energy audit and noticed there was a spike in the kitchen between 4 and 6 o clock in the morning, every morning. I questioned the chef about this later in the day and he told me that he asks the night cleaner to switch all the equipment on in the hotel so that at 6am when he comes down to start breakfast preparation that everything is up to temperature and up to speed. When I looked at this and quantified the additional energy spend associated with this two-hour additional usage across the year this amounted to 20k additional costs.
And I asked the chef what the night cleaner got as a result of switching all of this equipment on and the chef was very upfront and said, “I pay him by a bacon sandwich”. Hopefully this explains to you that operational impacts on energy management can have a huge impact on your bottom line.”
Actionable steps for businesses to save energy
Empowering your team to take ownership over their part in energy usage is a low-cost behavioural change that can be actioned immediately.
Setting up a green team or a group of sustainability champions within your business can help to change existing behaviours, and gives an opportunity for the entire team to contribute to your sustainability strategy.
Incentivising sustainable behavioural changes, such as switching off equipment or lights when not in use, is a good place to start.
By focusing on the quick wins first, you can encourage further action, show early success and even attract new sustainability champions.
Infrastructure changes across your business can result in significant improvements in operational energy efficiencies across your business.
Controlling temperature set points within your building or your operation is just one of these low-cost but effective energy saving initiatives. We recommend maintaining a temperature of 21C throughout the entire year.
According to Energy Saving Trust, lighting makes up 15% of energy consumption in UK households. Replacing all the bulbs in your home with LED lights could reduce your emissions by up to 40kg, around the equivalent of driving a car around 140 miles. Because of this, any switches to energy efficiency lighting can have a significant impact.
If all 28 million homes in Britain switched to 100% LED bulbs, we could save 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, according to Energy Saving Trust.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the quality of LED lights that are available. Typically, these LED lights will save you around 90% of energy compared to a halogen lamp. The lifespan of these LED lights are generally 50,000 hours which, in comparison to a halogen lamp is around 1,000-2,000 hours.
Switching to LED lighting also means that your maintenance and replacement costs will reduce.
Finally, properly maintained kit is another way to improve energy efficiency within your business, for example ensuring air conditioning units remain unclogged.
The role of data in operational energy management is significant. As we often say at Planet Mark, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
The more granular data available the greater control you have on managing your energy usage. Through measuring this utility consumption, you can then identify and focus on hot spots, giving visibility over where energy is being used inefficiently so appropriate action can then be taken.
We also recommend using this data to set targets and measure progress against these targets, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of the low-cost initiatives above.