If you have flown at night, you will have seen the cities below lit up like Christmas trees. It is a spectacular sight. On the other hand, it is also a stark reminder of just how power-hungry the modern world has become. We consume unprecedented levels of energy to heat our offices, light our streets, and live our technology focused lives.
It is widely accepted that the era of wasteful energy use must end as a matter of urgency. If business leaders need convincing, there are at least two good reasons for businesses to reduce their energy use.
Why you should reduce your energy output
The first reason is to save costs. 2022 has been characterised by alarming rises in the cost of energy. Rising consumer prices reflect record wholesale prices. If gas prices rise, electricity prices typically climb too.
The second reason is to save the environment. Non-renewable fossil fuels remain a major source of energy while simultaneously being the largest single source of CO2 emissions. In 2018, a colossal 89% of global carbon dioxide emissions were traceable back to fossil fuel use.
Coal is the biggest offender. Climate scientists calculate that almost a third of the average rise in global temperatures in recent decades can be attributed to the burning of coal: more than any other single source.
It makes sound business sense to make sure your business is energy efficient. Here are some simple but effective tips for saving energy in the workplace.
How can you reduce your energy usage?
Reducing the amount of energy used by your business is a multifaceted undertaking. There is no one-stop solution, but initiatives can touch on many different areas of the business and combine to reduce energy consumption and waste.
1. Conduct an energy audit
First get a picture of your energy usage. Conduct a detailed energy audit to establish just how much energy your company is using and potentially wasting. By identifying inefficient areas across your buildings’ portfolio you can see what needs improving, or further investigation, and set smart goals for what you can improve on.
As part of an Energy Performance Contract with a major mobile service provider, Mitie audited more than 90 buildings across the client’s business. The process included a systematic walkaround, combined with data-driven analytics, to identify and prioritise energy-saving opportunities and inform the decision-making process around carbon reduction goals. We helped the client reduce its carbon footprint and save 100 gigawatt hours of energy over three years.
2. Install solar panels
Solar panels are a commercially viable source of completely renewable, environmentally friendly energy. You may even be able to sell energy back to the grid.
Mitie’s team worked with Essex County Council to manage the installation of solar panels on the roofs of 15 schools in their area. As a result, they significantly reduced their energy costs. Also, the panels produce 700,000 kWh of renewable energy each year and save £115k and 180 tonnes of CO2 annually.
3. Help colleagues adapt their commute
Explore alternative methods of getting to and from work. Apart from encouraging greater use of public transport with interest-free season ticket loans, employees may be interested in cycling to work if they have access to bicycle purchase loans, secure cycle parking and shower facilities when they arrive. Those that need to drive, may be happy to share journeys through a formal company car share scheme – especially if it comes with preferential parking.
4. Switch to an electric vehicle fleet
Ditch the fossil fuels, follow Mitie’s example and switch to a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs). Our fleet of more than 2,000 EVs is believed to be the largest in the UK. We hit our target, of converting 30% of our vehicle fleet to EVs, in January 2022 – three months ahead of schedule. We are well on track to hit our target of a fully electric vehicle fleet by 2025.
Not only are EVs more attractive for the bottom line, and the environment, they are cheaper to run, and maintain, than the alternatives. According to a Zap-Map study, there are more EV chargers than petrol stations in the UK. Your EV fleet will help reduce your carbon footprint, get your business to net zero faster, and could save money in the long run.
5. Go paperless
The traditional office was filled with paper – stuffed drawers, teetering shelves, bulging filing cabinets. All that paper took energy to produce and will take energy to dispose of. You can save some of that energy, and become more efficient, by going as paperless as possible.
6. Fill the office with green plants
The plants that make up interior living walls help to improve indoor air quality by removing toxins from the air and absorbing CO2. As well as looking good, they also reduce the need for energy zapping air conditioning.
7. Keep building services in top condition
Clogged filters in air cooling units can reduce effectiveness and increase energy usage. Remote monitoring and digital maintenance make it easier to routinely check assets and make sure that potential issues are spotted, and fixed, before they become an issue.
8. Eliminate heat loss
Heat is energy and every joule that escapes through poor insulation, open doors and draughty windows, costs money. Fixing these issues is a quick win.
9. Switch to LED lighting
LED lights are more energy efficient than traditional bulbs and generate less heat. They do not add as much to the room temperature, so reduce the need for air cooling.
10. Use motion sensors in workspaces
Motion sensors turn on the lights in particular areas when they detect movement and turn them off after periods of inactivity. This avoids the need to keep areas like warehouses, toilets and meeting rooms, lit for no reason and saves energy.
11. Use the power saving mode and turn off unused devices
It is easy to leave things running but unused devices still use power. Equipment like displays and video conferencing screens, don’t need to be left on, when not in use, so switch them off… or, better still. unplug them until you need them. If it helps, set power saving options as the default on equipment and then you won’t even have to think about it.
12. Speak to an energy expert
It can be hard to establish the combination of energy-saving solutions that will be most effective. An expert can point you in the right direction and assist in setting priorities.
How can Mitie help your business reduce your energy usage and costs?
Mitie is a leading UK FM specialist with an inhouse team of energy specialists. In 2022 alone, we have conducted more than 3000 energy audits for public and private sector clients. Our energy team can provide your business with invaluable guidance on energy reduction technologies, decarbonisation strategies and achieving your net zero targets.
We can help your business adopt more sustainable practices, reduce its carbon footprint, and protect the environment. It is all part of our transformational Science of Service® offering. Enquire now to see how Mitie can support your company’s energy saving strategy.
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