Business energy bills can be reduced by as much as one fifth through simple, cost-effective measures to cut wastage
Global energy consumption is projected to rise by about 25% by 2040. In this same period, global electricity demand is projected to increase by about 65% as living standards rise, economies expand and the electrification of society continues.
Energy that is wasted adds no value to a business; it reduces the value of a product or service. Saving energy by eliminating wasted energy and reducing overall energy consumption, wherever possible, will improve a business’ energy efficiency. This can make a real difference to both productivity levels and operating costs.
Here are some useful tips to reduce your energy demand and improve overall efficiency:
Check your buildings and offices
Heating / hot water, ventilation, and conditioning
Space heating is a major energy cost. It’s not unusual for half of an office’s energy cost to be for heating, and these heating costs could be reduced by 30% with simple energy saving measures.
- Areas are not being overheated.
- Areas are not being heated and cooled at the same time.
- Portable electricity heaters are not being used.
- Control timers are set correctly.
- Poorly operating boilers – these can add 30% to heating costs.
- Taps aren’t being left on.
- Air conditioning systems – units with dirty air filter will operate inefficiently.
- Ventilation systems – if fans are left running.
Lighting can be responsible for up to 40% of a building’s electricity use. It’s possible to cut lighting costs by up to 30% by implementing energy saving measures.
- If lighting is left on in unoccupied rooms, cupboards and corridors.
- Natural light sources.
- Light fittings are not old, dirty, or working inefficiently.
- External lighting is used only when necessary.
On average, 20% of a total energy bill can be down to office equipment, such as computers, monitors and photocopiers – and this equipment can also add unwanted heat to a room. Make sure it’s turned off when not in use and not left on standby overnight.
Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) are one of the most effective solutions for optimising efficiency in a building.
They work by analysing, monitoring and automatically controlling various building services, such as heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting. Check you have a BEM system for your building and ensure it is running optimally.
Energy will be lost through open doors and windows, especially in areas that are being heated or cooled, so keep them closed. Where appropriate add automatic door and window closers to keep temperatures maintained.
Check your production and factory warehouses
Pay particular attention to refrigeration and chillers. Well-operated and maintained refrigeration and chiller systems can achieve up to 50% energy cost savings.
- Areas or processes are not being overcooled.
- Refrigeration system seals are not damaged, or refrigerant is leaking.
- Refrigeration / chiller equipment is regularly serviced.
- Extraction systems working in cooled areas.
- Machinery is frequently oiled to optimise efficiency.
Compressed air systems
An idling compressor uses 40% of its full load electrical output, so switch it off when it’s not required. Reduce the air pressure, if possible, so the compressor is only supplying the pressure that is actually required.
Check for leaks – 20–50% leakage is not uncommon and this can account for 10% of an energy bill.
- Motors aren’t left running / idling.
- Equipment isn’t dirty / ensure it’s well maintained.
- Motors aren’t running inefficiently.
- Pumps and fans aren’t running at higher speeds than necessary.
- Machinery lubrication – the wrong lubricant can add 5% to energy costs.
Consider Combined Heat and Power (CHP)
Having eliminated any existing areas of energy waste by implementing demand side measures and, where appropriate, updating or replacing inefficient equipment and systems, the next step might be to consider the installation of low-carbon energy saving equipment.
A well-designed and well-operated Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system can deliver energy savings of 25–35% compared with the traditional energy systems it replaces.