10 May How Can You Manage Energy in a Business?
Keeping an eye on energy use is a crucial part of running any business. Energy management is important to get right, not only with a view to ensuring business activity generally sits within the specified legal boundaries, but in support of the overall bottom line too. Despite the looming energy crisis, energy management within the workplace is still an area which appears to be largely ignored in business, however. Many companies pay huge sums of money for the energy they use, where the introduction of more efficient management systems could otherwise provide significant savings. In this blog we look at what exactly energy management is, and what must be considered in order for it to be truly effective.
What is ‘energy management’?
Put simply, energy management is the use of modern techniques and technology to ensure output is manageable with regards to an organisation’s overall financial capabilities, and also meets any relevant legal requirements. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies set out within a business determine what level of energy use is acceptable, and which energy management practices will help meet these targets. A good energy management process will identify solutions for impactful and immediate reductions in energy consumption at the outset, keeping a business sustainable and within legal energy use boundaries from the word go.
A key element of effective energy management is the employment of a system which records the data around a business’ energy consumption. This is a vital component in establishing a clear energy management strategy, as it gives an accurate indication of where the business is currently. This can outline how significant improvements may or may not need to be in order to meet relevant legislation, as well as internally identified energy targets. Businesses can achieve this with technology implementation such as advanced meters, although it is important that a business gets the right one:
Commonly found on blocks of flats or in other places where a large number of properties reside in close proximity to one another, sub meters allow you to monitor energy usage within specific areas of a business. More suited to larger organisations, it is possible to monitor energy consumption within departments via a sub meter providing they have their own office space, making it is easier to see which areas of a business need the most improvement. Depending on the data provided, an investigation can then be arranged to see exactly why certain areas perform better than others in producing and retaining energy, and suitable solutions put in place as a result.
Half Hourly Meters
Half hourly meters tend to be used by larger, energy intense businesses. Connected to the phone line, these meters automatically update energy providers with energy use every half an hour. This makes it possible to compile this data and identify patterns throughout the working day where overall energy use spikes and/or drops, allowing a business to recognise which operational processes are using the most energy and develop a prioritised plan of action around improving their energy use in response.
In any event, once data has been collected and analysed it becomes possible to recognise routine business energy waste. For example, a company’s data might show that during the night a business is still using quite a lot of energy, and the reason for this identified as the effects of 100 computer monitors being left on standby when everybody goes home. Considering a single computer monitor can cost up to £50 a year when left on for 24 hours a day, recognising this and rectifying it could therefore save a significant amount per year on costs, and also reduce overall energy consumption in the process.
Monitoring energy use patterns could also identify energy use not relevant to the working week, for example, such as during weekends when the heating timer continues as usual but no-one is in. Without the collection and analysis of energy data it’s possible simple adjustments like this, where the time simply needs to be adjusted to suit, could be overlooked. If heating is otherwise prioritised as a concern throughout a business regardless of how often it is used, and energy is still being lost, it is likely that the building has a very low energy efficiency rating. Recognising this can also allow a business to implement a plan to improve the structural energy efficiency through insulation and further improve costs this way too.
Reacting to Data
As well as identifying wasteful energy practices, it’s also important to tackle wider issues that may be attributing to overall poor performance. From providing additional staff training, to insulating a building more effectively, whatever the data tells a business about energy consumption, a clear strategy must be outlined to rectify any shortcomings. Monitoring energy use and reacting to the results is a never-ending journey of improvement, and once the larger issues have been addressed, the process begins again.
If you have been successfully monitoring your energy consumption within a business and have noticed large expenses in heating use, installing insulation can reduce the amount of energy required in a building, and in turn, reduce the amount a business spends on energy. If you would like to talk to an insulation expert, contact us today by phone on 01656 662 096 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.