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According to statistics released in March by the Department of Climate and Energy Change, energy consumption across the UK increased by 1.9% between 2014 and 2015. Maybe its complacency or maybe we think the little changes we've made mean we're 'doing our bit', but whatever we've been doing it isn't enough. The easiest thing we can do, as individuals and businesses alike, is to adopt a more efficient attitude towards our energy consumption and look within our businesses to identify areas that could be improved. It's a great shame that we often wait for governments to instigate new legislation before we make changes, instead of being proactive ourselves. And it makes good financial sense too, with energy costs often accounting for a significant proportion of an organisation's annual budget. In fact, energy efficiency itself is the most easily accessible, readily available and cheapest energy available to all of us. Many business heads are deterred by the initial investment for some of the energy saving measures available, without considering the long-term savings that can be made, with payback often occurring in less than 18 months, according to government calculations. Here are some key areas for you to consider
- Office Electrical Equipment simply changing how we use electronic equipment in the office can have a huge impact and it won't cost you a penny! There are many little things that can be done to improve office energy efficiency. Turning off your monitor and closing laptops instead of letting them run onto screen savers, ensuring all applicable equipment is programmed to enter sleep mode after a maximum of 15mins and unplugging chargers when not in use are all great places to start, as well as ensuring all non-essential equipment is switched off at the end of the office day.
- Lighting utilising occupancy sensors in areas of low footfall, such as corridors, meeting rooms and WCs, can reduce your company's electricity consumption by 30% according to the Carbon Trust. Another sensor technology they recommend is daylight sensors. These genius pieces of technology automatically adjust the lighting in your office depending on the amount of natural daylight that enters. And by simply cleaning your windows regularly you can also lower the amount of artificial light you need to use.
- Printing thinking twice about what you print will not only save you on ink and electricity costs, but you'll also be helping to reduce emissions associated with paper and ink production.
- Heating reducing your office temperature by as little as 1°C can equate to a 10% reduction in heating costs, so this is a worthwhile measure. Check that your HVAC system is appropriate to the size of your office so that you're not dealing with hot and cold spots. Also keeping up-to-date with maintenance and servicing will ensure it's running efficiently.
- Travel This area is often overlooked when assessing energy consumption, however energy efficiency extends beyond your office walls. Make use of the technology available and embrace Skype and other conference calling applications. You'll reduce fuel, mileage and travel costs. Everyone loves a day out of the office however, the 1.9% rise in energy consumption, documented by the Department of Energy & Climate Change, can be attributed to increases in transport demand, so this is a crucial area that needs to be addressed. Some organisations may find changing their fleet to electric vehicles will have a positive impact on their bottom line.
- Industrial Energy - if you work in an industrial environment, such as chemical, food and feed, cement and even power plants, then it could be worth looking into methods of capturing any heat and chemical waste and utilising technology that transforms the waste into energy. This will not only reduce your energy bills but also your emissions
*UK Energy Statistics, 2015 & Q4 2015, Statistical Press Release, Department of Energy & Climate Change, 31st March 2016