This article is provided by Jason Smith, Business Electricity Prices, which helps thousands of companies each year to reduce their energy bills and improve efficiency.
Earth Day is April 22nd 2013. This is about climate change, and this is about you and your business. But not only you. It affects everyone. And what is going to be found from this article about business energy efficiency is that people are talking and changes are being made – but there is still a lot of work to do. You won’t find much on turning this and that off, albeit there will be some, because business energy and efficiency in 2013 is about more than this.
Business energy efficiency makes sense
The Carbon Trust suggests that businesses can save 10 percent in energy bills by doing something as simple as automatically powering off PCs at night, while the IEA suggests that every dollar invested in energy efficiency leads to more than $4 savings. If we look at government statistics then we see that the United States ranks highest in energy wastefulness when compared to other developed nations and that 30 percent of energy in buildings is wasted. Are you getting the idea? Making the change is good sense. There are initiatives in place to help make this change, but they need business’ support. In the US there is the Better Buildings Challenge and in the UK there is the Green Deal but the change begins with you and your business.
To make a business more energy efficient in 2013 companies need to communicate with all the necessary parties, including shareholders and energy providers, colleagues and consumers. Don’t do this on your own. You need communication if effective changes are to be implemented. Everyone needs to be able to add their input and report any wastage that they believe can be improved. For big businesses and SMEs an appointed ‘energy champion’ can be the spearhead of their communications for changes.
But be realistic. Do not go out all gung-ho with measures that are nigh on impossible to implement or just downright inconvenient, as this can lead to other positive measures being swept under the carpet. This is why communication is so vital and why it should be at the forefront of a business’ mind when looking to implement changes in energy usage.
Businesses cannot make effective decisions in energy usage and improved efficiency unless they equip themselves with the necessary knowledge. Don’t be put off making key business environmental changes by the price tag or the effort of implementation. Do your research and make sure to consider the benefits that changes can have for staff welfare, customer service and the reputation of your business. Knowledge of energy efficiency will go a long way to making sure that businesses make the right decisions, and should be combined with a willingness to unearth the facts and make real changes.
Technology means more than simply ensuring the lights and PCs are turned off at night. There is technology out there which can make a real difference to efficiency and savings, now and into the future. Smart meters are one such way and this has research to back it up, with British Gas Business having found in the UK after looking at the data from more than 6,000 smart meters that 46 percent of electrical consumption happens before 8am or after 6pm. In the UK there is also the option of half-hourly meters which are used by large users of energy such as department stores and manufacturing plants. Half-hourly electricity meters are read every hour and provide insights into how and where energy is being wasted. This means businesses only pay for what they use, with half-hourly meters helping businesses to apply energy efficient programmes. As the Carbon Trust says, measuring usage will help you to spot patterns and to identify where changes can be made.
Other technology includes LED lighting. But there is still some work to do in this department if the energy saving benefits are to be truly worthwhile – thankfully Philips have announced an LED prototype that should be available to commercial entities by 2015 and which is proposed to be the first to provide 200 lumens per watt of high quality light.
Your business is unique
In 2013 businesses will realise that they are not all one and the same when it comes to energy efficiency. For larger corporations, low-energy lighting and upgrades in heating and air-conditioning systems is good thinking; for virtual businesses, cloud computing can save on their energy usage; for retailers, Sainsbury’s use of renewable technologies in its stores, such as solar power and biofuel generators, is a good example to follow and build on. The point being that the changes your business makes are not necessarily going to be the same as other companies.
Generate your own energy
A business can look to generate its own energy to achieve long-term goals in energy efficiency and cost savings. But this will of course depend upon your business and its goals. Solar photovoltaic panels only require daylight and work on buildings of all sizes, with the surplus energy created able to be fed into the National Grid via rewarding government schemes such as Feed-in Tariffs. Another option for businesses is thermal energy storage that can be more costly to implement than standard air-conditioning systems, but which can lower energy costs and reduce use of on-peak electricity. The technology is out there, but it requires businesses to consider the options.
More needs to be done
It’s all well and good saying how businesses should be more energy efficient, and Earth Day helps to place more emphasis upon this, but the fact remains that the level of carbon emitted in global energy supplies hasn’t changed much in 20 years, according to the International Energy Agency. Yes, there is the technology like solar panels and half-hour meters to help businesses improve their resources and knowledge, but as the executive director Maria van der Hoeven of IEA says, “We cannot afford another 20 years of listlessness.”