Carry out an Energy Audit
A lack of awareness around how energy is used, and then a lack of knowledge about how to achieve energy efficiency improvement, is often cited by SMEs as one of the major barriers preventing them from being greener. Many large businesses are legally required to carry out energy and environmental impacts assessments. But, for smaller organisations, carrying out a voluntary audit of your energy use, can also help you better understand where, when and how you use energy, identify opportunities to reduce your consumption and deliver cost savings.
Ensuring your staff understand what you are trying to achieve and how they can best help contribute towards those goals is key to any effective energy efficiency plans. Improving staff behaviour surrounding energy use can quickly deliver around 10% of energy savings annually. There is a range of technologies, such as timers and sensors, that can cut down on lighting and equipment being used unnecessarily. However, the simplest and most effective way of cutting down on wasted energy is to ensure that team members buy in and adapt their behaviour to achieve these goals.
Explore New Technologies
Global innovation in energy efficiency and on-site generation has been rapidly advancing, with the UK playing a leading role in the rollout of a variety of alternative technologies. Some, such as solar PV, may seem long established, but with rapidly increasing efficiency and costs tumbling, payback periods have been steadily improving, making them an increasingly viable option for businesses of all sizes. Newer innovations, such as battery storage, look set to offer a major shift in how many businesses use energy, improving the performance of on-site generation as well as offering the chance to avoid peak demand charges.
Be Flexible with Travel
Transport makes up a major part of carbon emissions for the majority of businesses. Measures for upgrading company vehicles, such as to electric vehicles, can make a significant impact, however, it can be more difficult to tackle those emissions that are produced by staff commuting to work. Allowing a flexible approach where staff are encouraged to car share, cycle to work or work from home when appropriate cuts down substantially on your business’ wider environmental impact. You can take this further by cutting down on unnecessary travel within the business, using video conferencing software instead of traveling to meetings when possible, for example.
Understand the Incentives
The Government has laid out targets for all businesses to make energy efficiency savings of at least 20% by 2030. As a result, a range of measures are in place to encourage better energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, with more on the horizon. Purchasing energy using a green energy tariff can help, with a simple switch demonstrating your credentials to customers. Several grants are available to help fund electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies, while the new Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) for power and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for heating both offer strong incentives.
Whatever the size and turnover of your business, setting aside time to review your energy usage offers a range of benefits. Critical cost savings alongside better engagement with staff, customers and partners and a boost to CSR performance all mean that there are plenty of benefits to going green. With a growing range of options and practical strategies available to achieve these goals, find a solution that is right for your business with Inenco.
Simple energy saving measures can make a big difference, but one of the best ways to lock in lower costs is to shop around for a better supply deal. Check your contract end date: some suppliers roll small businesses onto their ‘default’ tariff, which can increase bills by up to 50%.
Inenco’s small business experts can help to find a deal that works best for your business, with a full view of the market to find the lowest rates to meet your needs. To discuss your energy contract or for more advice on driving down costs this summer, speak to one of the team on 0800 408 1499 or email us for more information.