Photo by Omer Sonido
Energy Audit, why is it important? It doesn’t matter what size a company and business is; they still need energy to fully operate and generate revenue. Unfortunately, a lot of them don’t use energy efficiently. Several businesses in the UK lose hundreds of thousands of pounds by wasting energy. Did they do this unknowingly? Perhaps yes, and it is a huge loss.
Although it is prominent that every nation, including ours, are quite bad at practising efficiency when it comes to utilities such as gas, electricity and water. This is still something that many countries have to work on, but we hope that we will all get to that point where we will no longer have to worry about waste.
On the other hand, leaving gadgets and other appliances even when they are not in use have led households to waste more than a billion pounds.
It’s unfortunate to start this article with big losses. However, we’ve got some good news for you! The amount of money lost can still be recouped. But what needs to be done? It can be as simple as behavioural changes, implementing a proper system, practising energy-efficiency, and most importantly: conducting a business energy audit. Conducting an audit easily determines how the energy is wasted and how it is resolved.
What is a business energy audit and what does it entail?
An energy audit shows a comprehensive report of where the energy is going within the company or business. It also informs consumers if their energy is used efficiently or otherwise.
An audit aims to help businesses minimise energy wastage and improve their overall consumption by encouraging productivity. In return, consumers will be able to save thousands of pounds in just a year.
It also promotes the reduction of a business’s carbon footprint, leading several businesses into becoming more environmentally responsible consumers within the industry.
An energy audit or assessment can be conducted on the daily while consumers slowly start to show positive behavioural changes in terms of using up utilities such as (but not limited to):
Small improvements can already be seen when an electricity consumer develops a habit of switching the lights off when they are no longer in use. Larger businesses can adjust to a better energy-saving strategy as well.
The objective of most consumers is to improve their utility bills. For that to happen, they must have all of their utilities assessed, and have their employees develop better habits and consumption behaviour.
What happens after carrying out a business energy audit?
After conducting a business energy audit, your business will then hold an audit report containing a bunch of helpful recommendations that can further improve your energy consumption and efficiency. These recommendations could include:
- Adjusting when your power should be switched on or off (including heating and air conditioning systems)
- Swapping old-fashioned equipment to modern, more energy-saving ones such as inverter refrigerators and LED bulbs.
- Encouraging employees and teammates to be more vigilant and consume energy smartly and responsibly (by switching off lights, television, or their PCs when not in use)
As you can see, many of these recommended changes cost nothing (except for investing in newer equipment). Meaning it’s possible for your business to implement these beneficial changes immediately.
However, some recommendations require more strategic planning. Should your business decide to take action and implement bigger changes, the formulation of logical plans will all fall on your hands so that the productivity and finances of your business won’t end up damaged or disrupted. Compare business energy prices now.
Here’s how your business can benefit from an energy audit
Photo by Dan Burton
1. You can avoid EU energy efficiency fines!
Large businesses in the UK are required to submit an energy audit every four years, as mandated by the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS). Should they fail to submit on time and comply with the reporting rules, they will face a whopping fine of £50,000 (plus £500 daily).
2. You will regain the opportunity to save more money and maximise your business profit
Once you can improve your energy consumption, you will notice a significant amount of savings!
With the help of energy audits, you will be able to determine how your energy is being put to waste. With this information at hand, your business can then put out a systematic plan to develop an advancement in energy efficiency and slowly make your way to reducing monthly expenses.
3. You will reduce carbon emissions and become a team of environmentally responsible consumers
There are still plenty of coal-fired electricity plants in the UK that pumps out a hefty amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. By using your energy more efficiently and mindfully, your business may be able to reduce these carbon emissions. It might not seem like much, but the initiative to become an environmentally responsible consumer will one day boast a significant amount of improvement as far as global climate goes.
4. You will gain a good reputation as a business, no matter how small or big you are
Taking additional measures to reduce the energy consumption of your business will place your name in a good light. According to a global CSR survey, the percentage of customers who prefer to support responsible companies is 84%!
5. Grants and rebates
If you are working with an energy auditor, they might advise you on grants and rebates that could potentially save your business a whole lot of cash and progress further and seamlessly into the industry.
As an example, let’s say Carbon Trust is offering SMEs around £10,000 that can help them obtain better equipment that is energy-saving.
On top of that, your business can receive discounts on the Climate Change Levy!
6. Your chances of being exposed to energy price hikes are low
For business energy consumers that are on a variable rate contract, you might be able to lower the risk of exposure to energy price hikes by reducing your energy consumption! That means your business is less likely to face risky expenses in the process and the future.
7. Lastly, your business will reduce its overall cost of energy
By conducting an energy audit, you (or your privately hired professional) may be capable of driving down your business costs by almost 30% after the assessment!
With the help of energy assessments, all unnecessary expenses will be removed. As long as you take the initiative to understand where your business is in terms of energy efficiency, you may be able to come up with life-changing strategies that can make your business go above and beyond!
Energy Assessment Professionals (Private Audit)
As we mentioned earlier, large businesses that employ over 250 workers are mandated to perform an energy audit. Although it is not mandatory for small & medium businesses to do the same.
However, even if SMEs are not obliged to adhere to the auditing process, conducting a simple and easy energy audit could bring more beneficial things to their table!
Tons of energy auditors that are known to provide businesses with helpful consultation sessions can be found all over the UK. They typically hight areas where energy consumers could save money.
Additionally, hiring a professional auditor could earn you an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which can be advantageous for a lot of things. This certificate lasts for 10 years.
I want to personally carry out an inspection. Where should I start? (D.I.Y Audit)
Photo by Dylan Gillis
If the idea of hiring a professional energy auditor doesn’t pique your interest, then fear not. You can perform your own energy audit! Although it is not as complex as an inspection or an expertly carried out as a professional auditor’s, it is certainly still possible to conduct a basic audit yourself. It will give you a great opportunity to understand your business’s utility bills and energy consumption and pinpoint suggestive indications of energy wastage.
You can easily start by checking for air leaks around the doorways of your premises and inspect your light bulbs. Continue to take a quick tour around your building and spot any questionable things that could be causing wastage. Make it a habit to take down notes once you stumble upon any issues so that you can go over them and spot which ones to prioritise and tackle first.
To start, you can:
- Mark your calendars for the audit and stick to it. You can ask one of your employees or teammates to accompany you in case you miss any underlying issues.
- If you own more than one premises, free up your schedule for visits and factor them into your plans accordingly.
- Before carrying out the inspection, conduct quick research to find out what common wastage issues many businesses like yours suffer from in a business energy audit checklist.
- You can ask your employees to prepare a list of problems that you have failed to identify (if any) or more issues that they think have led to energy wastage. Discuss potential changes that need to be done such as sticking to a certain temperature for heating during winter, for example. Some disagreements and objects may take place. This is normal, so you must learn to meet halfway and cooperate with one another.
- A spreadsheet should be prepared for each room in your premises before you proceed to carry out the inspection. You can add 2 sections to the spreadsheet which can be both headed “Observations” and “Resolutions” so that you and your team could come up with ideas to resolve these issues.
- Note the age and condition of your office/business equipment, gadgets, and appliances. Be wary of fittings, light switches, and windows as well! Anything that may seem wonky or old definitely needs replacing.
More ways for small businesses to conduct an energy audit by themselves
Watch your thermostat
Cooling and heating can take up a significant part of a consumer’s utility bill. It can even be one of the biggest expenditures for energy depending on your thermostat settings! Being mindful of your heating and/or air conditioning usage will help reduce your consumption and therefore, your bills.
You can start by turning your thermostat up by a degree or 2. Doing that alone can cut a significant amount of costs on your business energy bills.
However, reprogramming or adjusting the setting of your thermostat isn’t the only way to cut back on heating and cooling expenses. You can also pay close attention to where your thermostat is located – if it’s away from drafts, direct sunlight, and windows, then you have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, it can obstruct the efficiency and performance of your thermostat, which will eventually lead to more expensive consequences.
Embrace natural lighting during the afternoon
If you own a small firm and office, and you are blessed with big windows and/or a skylight, what are you waiting for? Take advantage of natural lighting! Apart from being able to sustain energy savings by being less reliant to artificial lighting, it is known that being exposed to natural light can improve your levels of productivity.
Switch your lights off when nobody is present
If your business usually operates at night, train your employees (and make it a habit for yourself) to switch off the lights when nobody is in the room or premises.
If you and your employees forget to turn off the lights before leaving, it may be time to invest in motion-sensitive lighting that can be easily installed in your facilities. When no one’s in the room, the lights automatically turn off on their own with the help of this spectacular technology.