Save money on business electricity with an easy energy audit
If you run an efficient business then you’ll be very familiar with the concept of auditing. In other words, looking at systems and processes and working out how to make changes to improve performance and cut costs. The world of business electricity and gas is no different. Energy is an inevitable cost for businesses to bear, so it makes sense to look at ways of reducing energy use and saving money. By carrying out an audit of your business energy use, you’ll be surprised at what you uncover and how the results will help direct you towards more efficient energy use and, ultimately, making savings. So here, the team at Commercial Energy Group have come up with a simple guide on how to conduct an energy audit, and help you save money on your business electricity and gas bills.
Look at where your business energy comes from. Are you with the most cost-effective provider and on the most efficient tariff for your business? If you’re not or you’re unsure, ask the team here at Commercial Energy Group to carry out a free price comparison – you could save up to 30% by switching supplier.
Decide who you want to carry out your audit. If your business has more than 250 employees, it is already mandatory for you to carry out an energy audit. You can find more about this compulsory scheme run by the Environment Agency – Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) – on the government’s website. ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK that meet the qualification criteria. If yours is an SME, then there is no such obligation, but it does make good business sense to audit your energy use. Who wouldn’t want to save money on business electricity or gas? You have two routes to choose from. Either engage the services of a private organisation or carry out the audit yourself. If you opt for a private audit, there are a wide range of suppliers to choose from in the UK and the cost will vary. You might want to seek recommendations for an auditor through your network of business contacts, or try a simple Google search. Remember, although there is an initial outlay you can hope to recoup the money through energy saving measures that the audit highlights.
A do-it-yourself audit is your second option, and you might want to task a member of staff or a team to carry this out.
If you are adopting a DIY approach, then start by looking at your business energy bills and who your provider is get a firm grip of what you are being charged and make sure you are on a tariff and with a provider who offers you the most cost-effective business electricity and gas supplies.
Take a tour of your business premises and look really carefully for any energy leaks. Here are some key areas to examine:
- Doorways and window frames – are they draughty and letting out heat?
- What level of insulation does your building have? Could you improve it through extra loft or cavity wall insulation, for example?
- What type of lightbulbs do you have? There may be scope for switching to more energy efficient bulbs, which will make a marked impact on your energy bills.
- Are electrical items being left on standby or being turn off? If the former, then a new protocol for staff may be in order, to ensure computers, printers and monitors are powered down when not needed.
- Check appliances – are they modern (and therefore more energy efficient) and being used economically (for example, not overfilling kettles and therefore boiling too much water)?
- Are lights being left on in rooms that aren’t being used, or overnight and at weekends?
- Are printers being used sparingly or are staff rather trigger-happy with the printing? Using printers economically not only saves on energy it saves on paper and ink costs. Your goal could be to work towards becoming a paperless office.
Once you have completed your audit, you need to sit down and analyse the findings. What are the standout areas that need addressing.
You may not be able to action everything at once. For example, you may not be able to immediately switch energy providers, because you have not reached the point in your contract period when you are allowed to give notice. Switching to energy efficient appliances may not be possible overnight, and you may have to upgrade gradually but you will certainly find some easy wins, upgrading insulation in the loft can be relatively cheap and the rewards in terms of energy savings are immediate. Another simple and relatively inexpensive measure is changing lightbulbs. You have two main options for energy-efficient lightbulbs to choose from - Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Training for staff in how they can help support an energy-conscious business is essential. You can source an external provider for green energy training – again, you might ask around your business network for recommendations – or set up a task force among your staff and empower them to help turn your business green.
Even simple measures like posters reminding staff to switch off appliances, or notes by the printer asking ‘Is your printing necessary?’ can have an effect on how much energy is used. If every member of your team made small, incremental changes, it could add up to a big saving on your business electricity and gas. Remember, carrying out your energy audit is just the start of the process. You then implement changes at a pace that suits you, your business and your budget. Like an elephant, you can’t eat a whole one but can get through it in chunks!
If you’d like any more advice on how to carry out an energy audit, or how to make your company more energy efficient, or how to cut those business electricity and gas bills, then please do give the team at Commercial Energy Group a call on 0333 305 2303. We’d love to hear from you.