Are your energy bills burning a hole in your pocket?

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Smarter Business’s energy savings guide explains how small and medium-sized businesses can reduce their energy use and save money

Figures for 2016 suggest that the average business in the UK is currently paying £2.258 per annum for its energy, at an average kWh unit price of 9.5p and a daily standing charge of 20p. There’s plenty of scope for SMEs to save money on these costs with cheaper tariffs and smart metering options, yet the take-up of energy efficiency measures, especially among SMEs, has fallen far short of expectations.

This has prompted concern among energy analysts and climate change experts, especially after the UK government’s 2012 Energy Efficiency Strategy identified demand reduction as the key action in transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

What then are the main barriers to energy efficiency?

The Federation of Small Businesses has found that lack of interest in energy costs, working from rented or leased operational premises or a lack of funding for efficiency measures are the three main barriers to achieving better energy efficiency for businesses.

These findings were echoed by a small-scale research study commissioned by the then Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to better understand the barriers and drivers to energy efficiency faced by business, particularly SMEs.

In this regard, the study, published on January 16, 2015, made some interesting findings.

While capital costs were cited as a major barrier, actual take up rates of energy efficiency measures remained low even when costs were zero or very low. Indeed, research showed that 30% of all energy efficiency improvements required zero capital expenditure, which suggests a potential misconception amongst SMEs that they require significant outlay.

According to the study, the average value of this missed opportunity for SMEs was calculated at between £5,800 and £12,200 per annum, or between 18-25% of their annual energy costs.

Setting out practical steps to reduce your energy use

Against this background, Smarter Business’s Small Business Energy Savings Guide sets out practical, actionable steps that small and medium-sized businesses can take to embed an energy-efficiency culture in their firms, foremost of which is creating an efficiency culture.

As the guide points out, the best reductions come from implementing an array of measures consistently across the business.  Typically, the most powerful results come when there’s an internal focus on energy reduction measures as part of a broader efficiency drive—engaging staff, encouraging internal commitment and demonstrating the results to motivate further progress.

The guide sets out various measures that can act as catalysts to the adoption of energy-efficient business practice and explores various government energy savings incentives that can yield an attractive payback period or subsidies for certain ‘green’ investments.

For example, businesses that invest in their own green energy systems can generate an additional subsidy-based income, whilst saving money on their energy costs.

It also discusses group energy purchase schemes, where SMEs across all sectors can save up to £1 000 per annum on their energy bills by clubbing together to buy as part of an energy collective.

Finally, the guide outlines specific energy-saving measures for various economic sectors, including the food and leisure industry, the energy-hungry retail sector, where lighting and heating is required around the clock; and for offices and factories.

Contact us here to get a no-obligation quote on your business energy requirements.