Business energy bills are skyrocketing. As of August 2022, Ofgem’s combined energy tariff, which includes domestic and business rates, has increased by 80 percent to £3,549 per year.
Manufacturing and production in the UK might be expensive. However, there are always ways for manufacturers and businesses to cut costs and lower energy consumption.
Before starting, conduct a thorough energy review to see if there are any easy wins, such as unplugging unused electronics, turning off devices at the end of the day, or enabling standby mode when not in use.
We have put together ten of the best ways to cut down your energy usage:
1. Keep and reuse heat
Factory machines, electric motors, factory workers and heating equipment emit heat. Stop heat from escaping and recycle the heat with a heat recovery system to reduce your heating bill drastically.
Fitting a typical factory heat recovery system in the UK would cost between £8,000 to £12,000. However, according to the Carbon Trust, a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system running at an average of 70% efficiency will save about 38% of a business’s energy bills.
Other factors to include are the age of the building and the type of windows installed. Heat is often lost through old glazing, drafts, uninsulated roofs, non-insulated walls and loading doors without heat-retaining curtains.
Insulation can significantly reduce your business energy bills during cold winters and hot summers.
2. Solar energy
As solar panel technology improves, they become increasingly affordable. With the LCOE (levelised cost of electricity) for new utility-scale solar projects decreasing by 88% from 2010 to 2021, solar power is becoming more and more attractive.
A typical single-story factory with a large roof is ideal for mounting solar panels. Many solar arrays can generate enough power to cover significant periods of the day with electricity. Solar-powered energy contributions are possible even on cloudy days.
Another bonus for using solar is selling electricity back to the grid or storing it in on-site batteries to use later.
An additional option is solar heaters or solar thermal systems mounted on rooftops. Solar heaters are a cheap way to heat water.
3. Energy storage
As well as selling your excess electricity back to the grid, you can also store it. New battery storage technology is continuously developing. You can install as many storage batteries as needed by the business.
You can also use batteries to store electricity at off-peak rates, releasing it back into the network during peak hours. Energy storage can act as a reserve to protect against power cuts or system failure.
Some companies have arranged their batteries to form a local grid with others firms to share energy when there is a surplus of energy.
There are many battery storage providers on the market, such as Tesla, Toshiba, Panasonic, LG, Mercedes-Benz Energy, Samsung SDI and Siemens, to name a few.
As science and technology continue to advance, more options will become available for energy storage that is not reliant on lithium-ion.
4. LED Lighting
Over the last decade, one of the significant advances has been the development of low-powered, cool, running LED lights. LED lights use a small percentage of energy compared to traditional lamps and lights.
An obvious, yet sometimes neglected, way to cut energy use immediately is to replace incandescent bulbs, ‘energy savers’, or halogen lights, with LEDs.
Compared to an incandescent lightbulb, an LED consumes less energy than a halogen lamp or a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL).
LED prices have plummeted in recent years. As a result, many businesses have switched from traditional lightbulbs to LED lights, but some still rely on fluorescent tubes.
Fluorescent tubes are already more energy efficient than incandescent and halogens.
However, each LED array consumes approximately 40% less electricity than its fluorescence counterpart and lasts 35,000 hours or between 15 to 34 years.
LED can easily be fitted into offices, factories and other business areas, lowering the cost of lighting and using up to 75% less energy than incandescent lighting.
5. Energy audit
An energy audit will provide a baseline assessment of your energy usage, help you understand your current energy use and offer a clear money-saving roadmap for reducing your electricity consumption.
DMT Solutions can offer a free energy audit and benchmark your supplier’s pricing to ensure you get the best market rates.
6. Invest in energy-efficient equipment
Purchase energy-efficient office equipment. Before you buy or lease office electronic equipment, check to see the energy efficiency of the equipment and its ratings.
A cost-effective energy-rating system has been developed for evaluating appliances, which can help you save money and better control your energy usage.
The Energy Savings Trust has published a guide with everything you need to know regarding energy ratings.
7. Program thermostats
Pre-programming thermostats are one of the most crucial energy-saving tips that are particularly useful for an office or factory environment.
You don’t need to heat or cool or light an office after everyone has left for the day.
If your employees’ hours change, using programmable or smart thermostats to control the temperature during quiet hours can help save energy.
8. Turn off computers and other equipment
If computers and photocopiers are not used during nonworking time, have your team turn off the equipment before leaving for the day.
Unplugging and turning off as many electronic gadgets as possible at the end of each day is an easy way to save electricity. These include energy-saving coffee machines, toasters, ovens, and similar appliances.
9. Encourage employees to adopt energy-efficient practices
Business owners think increasing energy efficiency is the quickest, cheapest, and most effective way to save energy and money.
Encouragement for employees to become more environmentally conscious can increase their motivation and create an atmosphere where they feel empowered to take action.
Ensure your employees understand why they’re changing their behaviour. For example, they may resist changing if they don’t know why they must turn off equipment.
Post signs in conspicuous areas around the workplace advising employees of ways they can save electricity. Reminders can help employees get started by nudging them in the right direction, even if they don’t turn off the light switch or power down the devices.
Invest in new technology. If employees see their company leaders investing in energy-saving technology, they’ll be inspired to take action. You could start a cultural shift towards greater efficiency by making such investments within the organisation.
You are encouraging energy innovation within your organisation. Ask your team members to develop ways they think their company could be more environmentally friendly. Or you could give them an anonymous platform where they can post suggestions without fear of reprisal.
10. Get wise with water
Hot water accounts for roughly 10 percent of the average British household’s annual electricity bill.
Even though that percentage may be lower in some locations, it’s always good to keep an eye on your usage to know how much water is consumed.
First, consider whether there might be ways to reduce the hours of hot water available.
Could you turn off the boiler or hot water at the end of the working day?
Look out for any dripping water taps. The amount of water wasted through water leaks can be astonishing.
It’s been estimated that British households waste an average of £68 million annually because they fill their kettles too full. Ensure staff are sensible when making teas or coffee and only fill the kettle with the water they need.
You could extend this to the kitchen appliances you use and opt for energy-efficient ones.
An automatic dishwasher with an air drying setting can save up to 10 percent on dishwashing electricity bills by turning off the dishwasher when the dishes are done rinsing.
Teach your staff dishwasher etiquette, such as only running complete loads in the dishwasher.
Reducing energy usage is integral to any organisation’s life cycle and helping the environment. The money saved can be used to improve profits, cut down on expenses, expand operations, or stay afloat during tough economic times.
A business’s sustainability programme can help reduce costs by switching to greener suppliers, using economical packaging and offsetting carbon emissions.
Management should revisit business operating models to ensure that efficiency and productivity are at their highest.
Other areas businesses can look to save money include conducting a cost reduction review. A cost reduction review will benchmark your existing costs to ensure you get the best value from your suppliers.
Get a Free Cost Reduction Review. Get in touch with Digital Media Technology Solutions today.
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