That was the opinion of consultant Mike Malina, founder of Energy Solutions Associates, who argued that there are a raft of basic changes that businesses and policy makers can make to dramatically cut their energy use.

These range from large scale “easy wins” that Government should be taking advantage of, such as the Severn Barrage, Mr Malina argued, to smaller changes such as better insulation in buildings.

Speaking at the NEMEX exhibition at Sustainabilitylive!, he said that energy wastage from power station to plug socket is huge, but it continues to be wasted even after consumers begin using it.

“Every pound that you spend in energy you are only getting 20 pence in value, so you need to do something different,” he said.

He mapped out an Energy Hierarchy which prioritises reducing energy demand, followed by energy efficiency, using renewable energy, and then using cleaner forms of traditional fossil fuel-based energy.

A quick win for renewable energy would be to construct the much-debated Severn Barrage, Mr Malina said.

Small matchbox-sized devices could also be installed in buildings at a cost of £5 to balance the National Grid – an activity that currently requires 5% of the energy produced in the UK.

Businesses should also give their buildings a thorough “energy MOT” which should be carried out continuously to ensure they are using energy efficiently.

Businesses that have not previously had any targeted programme to save energy can save 30-40% of what they are using – resulting in a massive saving on bills.

“We need to look at the simple and basic things first,” he said.

Kate Martin

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