It has been a tumultuous few weeks in British politics, and already unstable energy prices have not escaped the chaos. Before being overshadowed by Liz Truss becoming the UK’s shortest-ever-lived Prime Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng was replaced as Chancellor after only 38 days by Jeremy Hunt on 14th October. Along with Kwarteng, so too departed various Government commitments on energy. Under the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, Hunt remains Chancellor.
Unsurprisingly, much attention has been given to Hunt’s announcement that the Energy Price Guarantee for households will last only six months, rather than two years. As a result, household energy bills are now forecast to exceed £4,000 in April 2023 (although targeted support is due to be put in place). The cost of energy is not just a huge concern for households, but for businesses too. The Energy Bill Relief Scheme remains in place until April 2023 as planned, helping businesses by discounting the wholesale price they can be charged. However, Hunt’s commitment to this scheme and whether it will be extended is by no means certain. One thing is clear: the cost of energy is unpredictable, and small businesses need to reduce their exposure to associated risks.
At Climax Community, our passion to tackle the climate crisis means that we are undeniably keen to promote the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy. Indeed, if expanding the UK's renewable energy capacity had been a policy focus over recent years, the current cost-issues associated with oil and gas prices may have been significantly avoided. Making the growth of the country’s renewable energy capacity a priority would be immensely beneficial not only for the environment, but also as a way of cutting bills in the medium-term and further into the future. Businesses can take matters into their own hands by investing in solar panels, electric vehicles, and even heat pumps, although these solutions do come with high upfront costs. As it stands today, businesses must find ways to economise on their energy usage, but it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Understanding and increasing your organisational awareness of carbon consumption is the first essential step to save money on energy. At Climax Community we enable businesses to understand the sources of their emissions and identify energy hotspots through our software platform, Climate Essentials. Through this platform, businesses can access a customisable reduction strategy which can make tangible and tailored recommendations to aid energy-savings. By using Climate Essentials, you can track your business’ emissions over time and across sites or business divisions.
But you may say: I want to save money - so what’s the point of measuring my carbon footprint?
Measuring your carbon emissions is only the first step; we provide targeted solutions based on your data to reduce your emissions. Some examples include: switching to LED lighting; insulating wall cavities; installing a smart meter; and switching to a renewable energy supplier. The average SME in the UK could reduce its energy bill by 18-25% through energy efficiency measures, with an average payback of less than 1.5 years. There’s some really low hanging fruit, as around 40% of these savings would require zero capital cost.
Top tips to reduce your business’ energy bill:
Switch off unused appliances
Phantom electricity is power that is consumed by electronic appliances and devices in your office when they are either in standby mode or entirely turned off, but still plugged in. You could save around £65 a year, just by turning your appliances off standby. The biggest phantom power consumers include devices with a remote control (such as a TV, or DVD player); an external power supply (the plug for your router, printer or cable modem); a charger (for a mobile phone, tablet, or PC); or a continuous display (a microwave, VCR or coffeemaker with a digital clock). As an example, a laptop charger continues to use around 4.42 watts even when the laptop is not connected.
Switch to LED lighting
LED lighting is one of the most energy efficient forms of lighting a business can use, other than natural daylight. LED bulbs are far more efficient than traditional halogen bulbs; to produce the same amount of light they require 80% less energy. They also last up to five times longer! Replacing a 50W halogen bulb with an LED equivalent could cut your energy costs by £75 over the lifetime of the bulb. It may seem obvious, but it’s also worth reminding your employees (and yourself) to turn lights off when they’re not needed!
Reduce by 2°C your office temperature
Heating costs increase by around 8% for every 1°C increase in your heating. 18°C should be warm enough for most adults. A good tip for keeping your office warm is to move items that may be blocking your radiators, such as filing cabinets, to another location. Having pieces of work furniture in front of your radiator is inefficient as they absorb some of the heat.
Install a smart meter
Next-generation smart meters encourage employees to implement behavioural changes to reduce electricity consumption by providing insight into daily energy consumption and managing load distribution using machine learning algorithms. Energy monitoring usually involves data analysis for end-users from the overall energy consumption of a facility and consumption of each device. These appliances usually detect standby power and provide remote control of the appliances. Indeed, studies have shown that after installing smart meters, 86% of people change their behaviour to make energy savings.
These are just a few recommendations that can help your business reduce costs, energy, and bills. If you want to find out more about how we can support your organisation in its decarbonisation journey, and how your business can save energy (and money), get in touch with us today!
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