Saving Energy in your Business?
On average UK businesses waste 30% of the energy they consume.
Follow our advice on simple ways to save energy - from low and no cost changes to investing in longer-term cost-saving technology.
By businesses and organisations understanding how they use their energy, in many cases they can reduce their energy consumption by 20%.
Energy Saving Tips
Install energy efficient lights. Compact fluorescent and LED products that use 80% less energy could replace conventional lamps. Also, because these lights generate less heat, they put less strain on your air conditioning systems.
Use time switches or daylight controls to control lights outside trading hours. Many retailers leave lights on throughout the night for security reasons. Lighting control ensures they switch off the next morning.
Upgrade lights throughout the store. Quite often the public front-of-house lighting is upgraded but back of house (such as store areas and offices) are neglected. Also consider motion detectors to control lights, remove any lamp diffusers and utilise energy efficient lamps or LEDs.
Heating and air conditioning
Heating and air conditioning can account for over 40-60% of your energy use. A few simple modifications can reduce this:
If you have more than one boiler, you may be able to turn one off in summer to cut water heating costs.
In winter, do not be tempted to overheat your store, switch off heating when a temperature of 19°C has been reached. Reducing the temperature by just 1°C can cut fuel consumption by 8%, according to the Carbon Trust. Don't forget, customers are likely to be wearing outdoor clothing and there is a risk of them being uncomfortably warm - and therefore spending less time browsing.
In summer, do not be tempted to overcool the store. Hold off using cooling systems until the temperature exceeds 24°C. Customers are likely to be lightly dressed and hence may become uncomfortably cool and spend less time browsing.
Try shutting down the heating or air conditioning an hour before closing. Staff and customers are unlikely to notice the difference in that time.
Ensure that any entrance overdoor heaters or air curtains are switched off outside trading hours. Fit a time switch if necessary.
Ensure heating, ventilation and extraction controls match your trading hours and do not run unnecessarily out of these hours.
When considering replacement units, think about choosing those that are energy efficient. Depending upon use, the energy savings of an efficient unit can soon outweigh any additional capital costs - typically recouping the difference in less than 12 months. Ideally, also consider units that have clear doors or that can accommodate night blinds.
Avoid setting temperatures too low.
Do not overfill the shelves in your fridges. Only chill as many products as you think you will need.
Check the seals on your fridges, freezers and cold rooms.
Turn fridges off after hours if they store only non-perishable goods such as carbonated drinks.
Where illuminated cabinets have the facility to switch off lights, switch lamps off out of hours. This reduces energy for the lamps and for chilled cabinets, and reduces the energy used to keep the cabinet cool.
Encourage your staff to switch equipment off when it is not in use. Even in standby mode, your equipment still consumes energy.
Use the energy saving features of modern IT equipment.
Encourage individuals to turn down the thermostatic radiator valves in their rooms.
Ensure that your radiator circuit is weather compensated to reduce overheating. If overheating occurs, make sure that the heat is turned down rather than opening the windows.
Avoid using supplementary electric heaters. These are one of the most expensive heat sources to run.
Use window blinds. Closing window blinds at night or in the early evening can help reduce heat loss.
Do not overheat hot water. A temperature of 60°C is ideal:it provides comfortable hot water and is hot enough to kill legionella bacteria.
Consider fitting spray water taps, as they use less hot water and energy.
Make sure that leaking taps are repaired promptly.
Ensure that pipework is well insulated.
Upgrade the building
Install self-adhesive thermal strips around doors and windows to reduce draughts. In many buildings, draughts account for up to 10% of heat loss.
Fit automatic closures on external doors.
Apply daylight sensors to lights in order to maximise the use of daylight.
Install variable-speed drives. These can reduce the running costs of fans and pumps by up to 30%.
Ensure air recycling is optimised, particularly at times of low occupancy.
When investing in new equipment, consider high efficiency equipment for your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. In many instances, the additional cost of energy efficient equipment is soon recouped through additional energy savings.
Consider reducing the operating pressure of your compressed air. A 1-bar reduction could save about 7% of the energy required for compression.
Switch compressors off when not in use. A compressor installation that is on when there is no demand will consume 20-70% of its full load power.
Install variable-speed drives. These can reduce running costs when used for fans and pumps.
Invest in high-efficiency motors. These might qualify for tax relief through the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme and could also help you to reduce your energy consumption.
Maintain motor systems. Lubricate them where appropriate, and check belt tightness and alignment.