From 01 April 2022 the energy price cap on gas and electricity will increase by an eye-watering 54%. Updated twice a year, the price cap keeps a track of wholesale energy costs and takes into account the supply and demand for gas and electricity across the globe. The dramatic cap increase is largely due to a relatively windless summer in 2021 affecting wind energy and a steep rise in wholesale gas prices, which have risen by 250% since January 2021 following a particularly cold winter throughout Europe.
The future looks uncertain too, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impacts crude oil and gas prices to record highs. Read the BBC report.
The good news for businesses wanting to reduce energy costs, however, is that the awareness around energy costs is likely to help you develop a better thought culture around energy. We’ve saved our customers £25 million in energy costs over the last nine years, with average energy reductions of 45% and a roadmap to sustainability.
Want to save on business energy? Contact us to book a free on-site energy consultation.
In the meantime, we’ve put together five easy to implement energy-saving tips that you can use whether you’re working from the office or working from home.
LED lighting can save up to 85% in running costs
Cutting your business’s lighting costs is a stress-free task, with a few important questions: how many hours are the office lights on during a 24-hour period? Are all the lights switched off at the end of the working day? Is all space occupied every day?
Addressing these questions will help determine what solutions to introduce to reduce annual lighting costs. If lights are permanently switched on in certain areas of a building, for example, it is worth upgrading to LED lighting. With demonstrated energy savings of up to 85%, LED lighting offers a significant improvement in energy efficiency compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs consume a fraction of the power and have much longer life spans, with average return on investment (ROI) calculations suggesting a full payback from as little as three months.
If your business is ahead of the game and had already incorporated LED lighting into its building(s), the next step would be to examine how often these lights need to be kept switched on during the day. Occupancy monitoring tools can be used to determine any areas of the facility that are rarely occupied, allowing you to incorporate automatic timers into these areas to keep lights switched off unless entered into.
Read more about maintaining energy performance.
A simple yet often underused way to reduce lighting costs is to take advantage of natural sunlight. During the summer months in particular, rooms can easily be lit up without the need to switch on a single bulb. Opening blinds on larger windows to maximise the amount of natural light pouring into each room is likely to have a positive impact on your electricity bill at the end of the year.
The truth about printing
Did you know that the average UK employee prints 8,000 A4 pages every year? Despite this, according to a recent report from Corp Magazine, only 18% of businesses consider themselves ‘paperless’. That means billions of pounds in energy is wasted every year, along with needless carbon emissions and paper.
There is positive change. More businesses have started to embrace a ‘paperless’ culture to try and reduce their energy bills (and their carbon footprint), asking employees to only print off documents when absolutely necessary. Regardless of whether or not it is recycled, the use of paper in an office environment can rack up a surprisingly high energy cost.
Think of all the devices involved in the processes of creating or disposing of a paper document: printers, photocopiers, scanners, shredders, etc. If used on a regular basis, these devices will be contributing a significant amount to your annual electricity bill. Encouraging a ‘paperless’ culture can be as simple as emailing handouts for presentations rather than printing hard copies or sending payslips to employees digitally. When you consider the average cost per printed page is between 4p and 20p it makes sense to go paperless where you can.
This better practice doesn’t just apply to business printing. Did you know that employees printing personal documents at work costs the UK private sector more than £40 million every year? In a report by Toner Giant,10% of employees admitted using work printers for personal use at least once a day.
Standby to save
When presented with the phrase ‘office equipment,’ the first images that come to mind are those of laptops, printers and computer monitors. However, there are a lot more devices that office managers ought to be keeping an eye on at the end of a working day.
Kitchens and breakrooms usually contain a whole host of electrical equipment that is used constantly at different points throughout the day. Kettles, toasters, microwaves and coffee machines should be switched off at the plug when everyone leaves the office, as leaving them on standby all night won’t do your electricity bill any favours.
Of course, switching off laptops and PC monitors is essential, with a single desktop computer likely to use up nearly £10 a year from being left on standby. It may not sound like a lot, but in an office of two hundred employees or more, that figure rises quickly. Recent research by EON research revealed that the annual energy wasted by UK businesses leaving PCs on standby is £30.8 million a day – a figure reported before energy price rises.
If you believe your business is wasting energy, you’re not alone. A recent Npower report estimated that more than half of UK small and medium-sized businesses have no energy efficiency measure in place. The good news is, that our clients average a 45% reduction in energy costs – typically saving double the cost of energy efficiency improvements.
Getting the temperature right
Keeping on top of room temperatures in your office, retail space or warehouse is crucial if you’re hoping to save money on your energy bill. Each season carries with it a different optimum room temperature, with 20 degrees as the ideal temperature to facilitate energy savings during winter.
Sticking to these optimum room temperatures as opposed to changing them manually on a daily basis is a goal worth working towards, with every one-degree increase in thermostat settings during the summer season using 15% more energy.
In a similar way to managing and reducing lighting costs, occupancy monitoring tools can also be used to limit heating and cooling bills. Rooms that are rarely entered into, such as storage spaces or conference rooms, are unlikely to need constant heating or ventilation.
Is your outdated equipment costing you £££?
Although it may not seem like a priority, replacing old electrical equipment that is no longer working at its maximum efficiency can help save a large amount of energy from being wasted each year. Outdated equipment has the potential to draw large amounts of unnecessary power in order to continue functioning, which is likely to cost a lot of money as the years go on.
A new central heating boiler, for example, can have an efficiency rating of up to 90%. When compared to the 50% rating achieved in older boilers, it’s clear that the initial cost of replacing the boiler will be vastly outweighed by the energy savings accumulated over the first three years. On a much smaller scale, swapping to an ECO kettle in the office, which only boils the amount of water required, can use 20% less energy than a conventional electric kettle.
Taking control of your business’s energy usage is the first important step towards cutting overall costs. At Carbon Numbers, our dedicated team of energy specialists are able to perform an Energy and Building Performance Evaluation, pinpointing any areas where energy can be used more efficiently.
Delivering Smart Buildings has enabled us to save our clients more than £25 million in energy costs over the last nine years. On average, our clients save double the cost of what they spend with us, and we can even underwrite the savings. Take a look at our case studies page to see how we improve efficiencies, save energy and reduce carbon footprint.
Get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation on-site energy assessment of your facility. Your energy is our passion.