There are two ways to run a more profitable business. You can increase revenue, or you can decrease costs. With energy being a significant component of most businesses overheads, why not find ways of using less? We believe this is easier than you think and would like to explain why.

The key ways to save energy and therefore money are:

1. Start with an open mind – get an audit

There is no better way than taking a fresh look at your entire operation to see what can be cut out. Look for opportunities to use less energy in all of the following:

  • Buildings – which account for 40% the UKs energy consumption. Heating, cooling, unwanted heat loss and use of space are all key areas of interest.
  • Operations – changes to processes and how they are carried out can provide savings. Operating times are another factor. Also related to this (affecting cost if not use) – is your tariff well suited to the hours in which you operate?
  • Transport – there are a range of options here such as what vehicles are used, when and how. Can journeys be planned better? Combined? Can driving behaviour be improved? Or can time pressure be reduced to prevent certain types of driving or driving at particular times of day? Perhaps ‘greener’ fuels can be adopted? Options here change all the time so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Done well, the audit will be of use to you in other ways. It will allow you to see trends in overall energy use, so that you know your activity is worth doing. It will help you to pinpoint areas of significant or higher than expected use so that you can consider ways of further reducing this. We recommend a continuous improvement approach to energy management. (http://axionenergysolutions.co.uk/why-energy-management)

2. Behaviour change

People will change the way they do things if they understand why it is necessary and what is expected of them. It happens every day in business.

Lots of businesses have equipment left on unnecessarily because of not knowing whose responsibility it is or whether or not it is an employee’s place to intervene. Empower staff to take action on energy wastage but build in some safety measures at the same time. Let’s not be turning off anything vital!

A common source of wastage is to leave lights on when they are not required or when it is wrongly assumed that people will be present. Simply asking staff to check this is all that should be required.

3. Technology

It could literally be as simple as changing some light bulbs. There are some more advanced methods as well, but we typically find that there are some things that all companies can do to get ‘easy wins’.

For those that want to take a longer term approach then there are of course options such as micro generation – using any of a wide range of renewable technologies so that you need to buy far less energy – perhaps none! But there are many other options as well that don’t require such investment. We regularly find cost neutral replacement of components that can reduce energy use – just like in the light bulb example.

So your survey / audit should cover all mechanical / electrical equipment and plant. This means anything that uses power, lighting, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and compressed air systems. The aim is to identify energy saving opportunities that can be embedded in your operations. You can then go about adopting them; gradually if necessary.

Taken together, the above energy saving measures will almost certainly save you more money than they cost to identify and implement. We are so confident that this is the case that we guarantee it.

What’s the point?

Well, a lower cost base is one way to get an advantage over the competition. Greater profits this year, and in years to come. Remember that the energy you save is going to keep on saving you money year after year. It really is a compelling case for action.

NB: NBSL funding can be sought for projects to put in place management systems related to your lower energy, more profitable future business, as well as the policies that you will need to engage staff in supporting this and any coaching that is required.

Article by Stephen Lundy of Axion Energy Solutions Ltd.

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The North East Business Support Fund  has hundreds of registered providers offering a wide range of business support. NBSL has used its best efforts to post on this web site the most accurate and reliable information given to us by our providers but does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information. The thoughts and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and are licensed to NBSL for publication on this website.

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