GUEST BLOG: Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings looks at why, despite energy usage declining in summer months, it doesnt mean bills will go down. And why, with energy costs set to soar in the long term, why our focus should remain on energy efficiency to drive down fuel bills.
As a nation of weekend sun worshippers, we couldnt be happier to see the rays shining through our windows and warming up our homes. However once the weekend is over and its back to business, our enthusiasm for a warm temperature starts to decline and the reality dawns on us that heating up doesnt mean energy usage (and bills) will go down.
Those who work in heavy industry know better than many just how important it is to keep temperatures down if business is to carry on as usual. Keeping machinery cool can be an expensive business and with energy bills expected to rise over the next five years, it looks like it will also be an expensive.
Business owners who have consistently struggled with their energy bills may think that summer will give respite, but unfortunately the warmer months may actually increase the size of energy bills for some companies. While it certainly does cost a large amount to have the heating running all of the time during the winter months, in order to keep workers happy and warm, the addition of air conditioning and cooling systems throughout summer can also add a substantial chunk to your overall energy bills.
Air conditioning can increase a buildings overall energy consumption by 100%, according to the Carbon Trust. It takes up to ten units of electricity to produce just one unit of compressed air, when you consider how many air conditioning vents you have in an average sized office that operates at a typical 40 hour week, you can understand how summer energy bills rise so steeply.
Employee temperature wars can also cause energy bills to rise. Those working in offices may insist on having the heating on while those working with machinery may desperately need to cool down. This constant cooling and warming to meet employee demand can equate to a chaotic general temperature, as well as causing your energy bills to soar. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has estimated that electricity prices will rise by almost 30% for SMEs over the next five years, so the time has come to put our bad summer energy habits to bed.
In addition to this, brightly shining sun beaming into the office may seem pleasant at first but after spending an hour squinting in blinding sunlight it could be time to block out the sun and turn the lights on. Research by DECC revealed that lighting can create up to 40% of a business energy consumption, so it is crucial to keep these costs to a minimum.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has estimated that businesses could reduce their energy bills by 18-25% by installing energy efficient measures. But energy management is full-time, year-round job, which businesses should never take a break from.
Staff annual leave during the summer months means that everyone in the business should be even more vigilant when it comes to being energy efficient. While there may be less people in the office, it only takes a few pieces of equipment to be left on for a couple of weeks while people are away to significantly affect the cost of your energy bills.
With increasingly strict EU regulation seeming to require industries to account for every tonne of CO2 they emit, saving energy wherever possible is a very real necessity. The EU has set itself a target of 20% energy savings by 2020 which is planned to increase to a 27% or greater saving by 2030. The EU commission itself has proposed a 30% savings target. The UK is aiming to achieve a zero carbon standard for buildings by 2019, are you convinced by the need to cap your energy usage yet?
In addition to EU pressure, ESOS audits are now required to be undertaken by all large businesses, the first one needs to be completed by December 2015 and then an audit will be required ever four years thereafter, the DECC has claimed that there is still significant potential for energy efficiency measures to be implemented across the UK and they are committed to providing a framework for the UK to reach its full green potential.
For smaller businesses the DECC has released a guide for SMEs to enhance their energy efficiency. The report claims that energy prices are expected to rise by 30% over the next five years with a third of firms in the UK claiming it is the cost of energy which is a key barrier for growth. Despite this, many businesses are still falling into the trap of paying overly expensive energy tariffs. New regulations mean that it now only takes six weeks to switch suppliers and energy price comparison sites, such as Love Energy Savings, can make the switching process even simpler. A business would only need to take 10 minutes out of their day to enter their postcode and estimated energy consumption for the best deal to be highlighted to them.
Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings urges businesses to take action now By implementing energy saving actions as soon as possible businesses could start saving money and avoid falling short of regulatory requirements. It is important that energy management is not pushed down to the bottom of the to-do list but starts to become a more important part of cash-flow and business management.
Phil Foster is the CEO of Love Energy Savings. He has always had a strong desire to support UK businesses, helping them to make much needed savings on their energy bills. With that in mind, he created a business energy comparison service to help business owners not only improve their profits, but also save valuable time in the process of comparing and switching suppliers. Advocating energy efficiency and awareness of energy usage, alongside tariff comparison, he is committed to helping businesses save money so they can continue to grow.
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