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Why energy efficiency is important in non-domestic buildings

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 25 January 2013 at 9:16 am

The rising costs of energy in the UK are a major concern for businesses and households. 68% of the UK's biggest companies regard 'improving operational energy efficiency' as a 'major opportunity' for their business according to research carried out last year by Green Monday in association with the Aldersgate Group.

90% of SMEs (small and medium sized businesses) said it will have an impact on their business if energy prices continue to increase by 15% every year in Business Juice's most recent Business Energy Monitor.

  • 32 per cent of the 500 companies questioned said it would be 'catastrophic'
  • 8% that they would be unable to continue to trade
  • 23% that it would transform the way they do business, and
  • 31% said it would prompt changes within the business

Given that business energy prices have risen by 58% since 2010, it is clear that the threat posed by energy price rises to UK businesses is of significant importance.

Business are taking energy efficiency more seriously, but could do better

The  Energy Monitor found that businesses seem to be taking energy efficiency more seriously. There’s has been an increase in the number of businesses introducing or strengthening energy-saving policies and trying to make their use of heating and air conditioning more efficient since the last quarter.

However, they are still missing some big opportunities to cut their energy costs with greater efficiency - a growing number say they won’t install a smart meter, and a shocking 45% say they wouldn’t put a member of staff in charge of energy efficiency. The survey showed considerable scope for energy-saving action:

  • only one in five have installed a smart meter
  • just 14% have installed an energy management system.
  • 97% of businesses said they have already or would consider strengthening energy-saving policies in reaction to rising energy prices.
  • 12% have installed an energy management system
  • 25% have put a member of staff in charge of energy efficiency, but 45% wouldn’t consider it.

How can I make my business more energy efficient?

I have listed below some the potential technologies that you could try; I will discuss each of these in future blogs:

  • LED and low energy lighting can reduce energy use in lighting by 50 – 75%.
  • Better building controls optimize the way that your building uses energy by ensuring that you only use what you need and focus on the real demand for heat, light and power. Examples are:
    • Energy Demand Management software to give you overall visibility and control of your energy use.
    • Building management systems (BMS) control your equipment that uses energy.
    • Boiler optimisation.
  • Energy efficient cooling can reduce energy use by up to 90%.
  • Voltage Optimisation will ensure that your incoming electricity supply is at the correct voltage and eliminates spikes, transients and harmonics. This can result is electricity savings of up to 10%.
  • Insulation improves the thermal efficiency of the building and reduces heating bills.

About the author: Paul Hutchens is founder and director of Eco2Solar, which installs solar systems around the UK.

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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