If you run a small or medium sized enterprise (SME), you can face a lot of barriers when it comes to investing in energy efficiency. These can include not having the time, resources or money to spend on upskilling staff or investing in new technologies.
But did you know that SMEs could make energy savings of up to 30% by making changes around their business?
With energy prices a worry for many businesses, there are steps you can take to make your office or the building you work in more energy efficient, which will help reduce your energy bills.
Energy efficiency recommendations for your business
Here are no cost or low-cost steps you can take to reduce the amount of energy your business uses.
Behaviour changes in your workplace
- Get an energy audit for your business processes, your building (if you own one) or transport related to your business. This will show you how much energy these parts of your business use and help you find cost-effective energy savings opportunities.
- When it’s cold, try not to use extra electric heaters, as these are one of the most expensive ways to keep rooms warm.
- Encourage staff to turn computer monitors off when they’re away from their desks, and make sure you activate the power saving mode on all computers. You and your employees should also fully shut down any IT equipment at the end of the workday.
- Take advantage of technology that lets employees work from home if they can and want to. With fewer people on site, you may spend less on lighting and heating or cooling because you may be using fewer rooms.
- Appoint a green champion or green team to lead on your energy efficiency efforts and encourage energy-saving behaviour.
Actions you can take with the help of the building’s owner
If your business operates out of a building that you don’t own, talk to the owner to see if you can try some of these energy saving measures.
- Consider asking for a green lease or Memorandum of Understanding. These set out the ways a building’s environmental performance is managed and improved. This helpful Green Lease Toolkit breaks down the key messages of both of these agreements.
- Take meter readings regularly or look at your smart meter data (if you have one). Compare this to other factors, such as how many people were in the office that day, so you can establish a baseline energy use.
- Check your heating controls. Ideally, your heating system should be timed to come on only when and where it’s needed.
- Check in with your staff. Could you turn down the office thermostat? This will reduce energy consumption.
- If you heat your business space with a boiler, check to make sure it’s serviced regularly. An engineer can check if your system is running efficiently.
- Fit thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). If an area is already warm, TRVs can quickly reduce the amount of heat sent to that area.
- Areas where people work or customers visit should be well lit, but perhaps you can think about adding automatic lighting in areas that aren’t used as much.
- Installing energy-efficient lights, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs), can make immediate savings of up to 75%. If you can, fit zone controls, passive infrared sensors and daylight sensors. These will make sure lights only come on when they’re needed.
What energy efficiency support can businesses get?
In our recent blog about the challenges that businesses are facing during the energy crisis, we looked at the current support that’s available for businesses from the UK Government.
In addition to this help with energy bills, there are several business-specific support schemes in place at a national and local level that target energy efficiency and decarbonisation:
- In England, the UK Government has a simple guide to low-cost measures SMEs can take to save energy and money on their bills.
- Wales has Business Wales, which is a government-funded organisation offering specialist sustainability support to businesses in regional centres. The Development Bank of Wales has also recently launched its Green Business Loan Scheme, which offers consultancy and financing for energy saving measures.
- Scotland has Business Energy Scotland, which is a funded service providing support for businesses, including impartial advice and zero-interest finance.
- In Northern Ireland, InvestNI can offer advice, energy assessments and access to financing to improve the energy and resource efficiency of your business – saving you money and cutting your emissions.
- In England and Wales, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme helps businesses decarbonise their workplace by replacing fossil fuel heating systems.
- The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund provides grants that support the deployment of carbon reducing technologies for business.
Depending on where you are in the country, there’s also local business support programmes.
This guide also lists the help available if you’re looking for energy efficiency support for your business.
As an SME, you can start to reach your full potential of energy and money savings by following our top tips and taking advantage of support schemes that are available.
If you’re interested in sharing energy efficiency tips with your staff or you’re looking for support on your net zero journey, please get in touch.