Eco News from 4imprint
As organisations of all sizes continuously look at ways to reduce their overheads – an annual energy audit is a task that would make perfect sense; plus there’s the added incentive of it leading to further steps towards being more eco-friendly.

To many business owners it surely seems the major energy firms ‘continuously announce price rises’ and as a result over 50% of UK small businesses reported to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) that the price of utilities was their biggest rising business cost.

If you haven’t already done so make use of energy price comparison sites such as uSwitchforBusiness or MakeItCheaper as your current utility contracts come to an end. The FSB also advise looking beyond the big suppliers to newer market entrants such as OVO or Ecotricity for competitive deals.

By 2020 energy suppliers will be required to install smart meters into all SMEs and should also fit one free of charge on request before that time. If you’re a light user this could cut costs as you’d only then pay for actual usage. It’s also worth looking into the Government’s Green Deal whereby an assessor would visit your organisation to determine what energy saving improvements could be made and could then offer a loan to cover the costs.

Last year the Carbon Trust estimated that British businesses could save £300m per year and it might start as simply as just asking employees to help. They claim that nearly all workers surveyed were concerned about the cost of their energy at home (92%) but less than half (47%) gave any thought to their employer’s bills. And an incredible 75% of those claimed they have never been asked to think about saving energy at work but would help if asked. 

According to Miles McCarthy, head of implementation at the Carbon Trust, the principles behind going green, saving energy and money are the same whatever size of organisation you operate. He identifies four key steps to get your started:

  1. Analyse electricity and heating use to see if there’s identifiable waste such as leaving computers, lights and heating on overnight or during the weekend. Operational efficiencies can reduce energy use by 5-10%. You could spread the word about turning off lights by distributing Stress Light Bulbs printed with an energy saving message or have messages printed on mousemats or

    coasters reminding staff to turn-off their PCs at night.

  2. Consider your building infrastructure and ensure that, for example, your boiler and air conditioning units are as energy efficient as possible. Switching to LED light bulbs might be expensive initially but they’ll last considerably longer. Also take the time to assess use of current space and consider whether your organisation could down-size or sub-let unused space.
  3. Alongside infrastructure comes machinery. Check that you are using the most efficient photocopiers, drinks machines, production machinery that your organisation can afford. Remember to take into account the cost of repairs and ‘down time’ when considering the cost of replacing machinery with energy efficient models. Points 2 and 3 could add 20-30% in savings.
  4. And once you’ve considered the steps above, you could consider renewables like solar panels for electricity or biomass for heating. It could then be the case instead of paying for electricity, you could actually receive an income by selling power back to the grid if you generate a surplus.

As a short summary; savings can be made, green initiatives are available, behavioral change is possible and your organisation can be leaner and greener as a result.

Sources / References / Further Reading
uSwitch for Business
Make it Cheaper
Ovo Energy for Business
Ecotricity Green Energy for Business
Become a Green Deal Business
Energy Saving Trust
Carbon Trust: Green Business Directory
Five Quick Money Saving Tips for SMEs
Shop Around To Save Money on Your Energy Bills
What SMEs Can Learn About Efficiencies from Larger Companies
Carbon Trust: Green Your Business for Growth