The energy landscape in today’s world is shifting. With fresh commitments to reach net zero by 2050, and the increasing problem of global warming set to shake up the world in coming decades, we are slowly drifting to a more environmentally conscious, renewable approach. The first and foremost change to be implemented, both due to its less radical nature and the outsized impact it can have, is reducing our overall energy consumption.
Energy audits are key to this, supplying the information we need to be more cost-effective with our energy. It allows us to identify our bad energy habits, diagnose and replace inefficient energy systems, and take steps to lower our overall usage. Not only will this save a great deal of money, but it will promote innovation and social responsibility in your workplace, reduce your carbon footprint, and even improve comfort levels and motivation.
In our latest blog, we’ll explore why energy audits are important, and how exactly they work.
Energy audits are often seen as a waste of time, allocating money and resources on something that will yield very little results. This could not be further from the truth. Think tank Green Alliance have projected that energy efficiency will save UK companies a whopping £6 billion a year by 2030, and while some might think this only applies to larger operations, small and medium businesses are on track to save £2.7 billion in the same timeframe.
This can make a real difference to your business’s finances, and comes at a much cheaper cost than reaching deep into your pockets to purchase pricey renewables. In this way, reducing your energy usage makes for a perfect investment, providing a quick, easy win that will save your business money and deliver results that can be taken straight to shareholders or executives. For this reason, you should first look to fully optimize your existing energy usage, like gas and electricity, before turning to other sources, like renewables, which can then be purchased using the proceeds.
On top of this, the substantial savings made from optimizing your energy can give you momentum and convince employees to jump on board and contribute to the initiative. This fosters innovation in the workplace, creating a culture where workers can approach you with fresh ideas, helping to reduce expenditure and improve your company’s impact on the environment.
With a recent study finding that only 9% of respondents had undergone an energy audit, it’s clear to see that these indispensable tools are heavily under-utilized. One possible explanation for this is that many are unsure of how energy audits actually work, and what action can be taken as a result.
Audits are carried out by professional and qualified assessors, and usually fall into one of two categories – a preliminary energy audit, or a more in-depth and detailed energy audit. The former usually consists of a quick walk-through of the premises, which can identify opportunities to reduce energy usage, and address key areas of concern like damp or drafty rooms.
An in-depth audit is far more comprehensive, examining your energy bills and collecting a variety of data and measurements to conduct a thorough analysis of your business’s energy consumption. A variety of tests and procedures can be undertaken to determine the efficiency of your building and energy systems. These include:
Before an energy audit, it would be useful to compile a list of existing issues from employees, such as cold rooms, or poor ventilation. The assessor will then inspect your site room by room, examining doors, windows, walls, fixtures, and exteriors to learn the specifics of your site.
This will include asking various questions, such as how many people use the building and at what time do they use it, how many areas are in use at once, and what the average thermostat setting is, to ensure a full insight into how the premises operates. For an even better understanding, it’s useful to inspect and take measurements at different times of the day, to ensure optimisation round the clock. Many companies will even utilize energy tracking spreadsheets and auditing software to better track your business’s consumption.
Eventually, after all information has been collected, an action plan can be put together. Despite energy use rising steadily by 4.5% in recent years, over a half of businesses have not taken any steps to reduce their usage. By collecting this information, you can take the action necessary to change your business’s bad energy habits, reduce waste, and produce a viable long-term energy strategy.
The readings taken during a professional audit will allow you to identify key problem areas, and implement corresponding solutions to improve your energy consumption.
One of the most critical factors is how your source your energy. Different providers will offer different prices, and depending on the nature and needs of your business, certain suppliers will naturally be a better fit. Of course, there are also the legal and ethical requirements, with your business wanting to comply with all regulations, and avoid working with providers who are deemed unethical by the general populace. Diligent research into your suppliers and comparison with others on the market will allow you to secure an energy provider that offers cheaper prices and works the best for you.
Beyond this, there’s a whole range of actions that can be taken to improve energy efficiency:
All of this can be completed with existing equipment, but there are also various installations and technologies that can help with your energy efficiency. Smart thermostats, LED lights, smart power strips, solar panels, and electric vehicle chargers are all excellent considerations, and are worth the investment for the long-term gain. Reducing your energy usage will also greatly benefit the environment, with buildings (mostly from heating) contributing 20% of the UK’s total carbon emissions.
Naturally, much will depend on your business’s specific considerations, such as the size, type, and complexity of the site, your employee’s comfort, and the nature of the surrounding climate. Insulation would be largely redundant for warmer, temperature locations for example, while ensuring proper ventilation is less important for more frigid environments. Ultimately, how much you want to overhaul your infrastructure will come down to your overall energy goals.
With billions lost every year from energy wastage, and audits known to save as much as 30% from your energy bills, there’s no reason to put it off any longer – make sure to book your energy audit with a certified auditing company now.