Most companies can make energy savings of 10% without any additional expenditure

Many businesses, however big or small, are often unaware of ,or ignore, easy ways of saving energy, focusing on making profits when so much can be wiped away by not taking simple precautions to cut costs.

Business advisors to small and medium-sized companies from all over Britain at the Business Hypotheticals workshop at the Mayfair Intercontinental Hotel, London, on 10 September, heard just how easy it is for many companies to make energy savings of 10%, but that so many, through ignorance or sloppiness fail to do so. David Honeyman, Energy Manager at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, pointed out both familiar and lesser-known facts concerning energy savings. Perhaps the most interesting fact that it is preferable to set workplace temperatures too low rather than too high, as it costs three times as much to reduce the temperature than to increase it. In the UK, 19 ° Centigrade was mentioned as the optimum temperature.

On average, for every 100 square metres of office floor space, there are 14 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, but many simple means can help to cut this figure:

  • having less heating in little used, transient areas of the work space;
  • putting blinds up to keep rooms cooler naturally in the summer;
  • abolish fixed dates for office heating, as the weather system varies so much;
  • make sure lights and computers are always turned off when not in use – it is a fallacy that turning appliances on uses more energy;
  • put windows in hot rooms to create a natural breeze;
  • maintain heating systems – oil condensing boilers are the most efficient;
  • auto sensing lights could be installed in areas in use for short periods of time, such as toilets; and
  • unnecessary appliances, such as vending machines which are little used should be switched off.

Water systems are cost companies far too much, Honeyman said. Companies with few employees and use of water should look to reduce the bore size of water pipes, as a larger one will not measure a small flow, resulting in overestimated bills. Hot water pipes should always be lagged as closely as possible to the point of delivery and, where demand is low, point of use water heaters should be considered. Auto flushing units could also be installed in toilets.

The type of lighting used greatly influences energy savings with the most efficient being SOX bulbs, followed by metal halide, mercury and high-frequency fluorescent bulbs. The least energy-efficient bulbs are Tungsten lamps, or standard bulbs as they emit a lot of heat.

For more information on saving energy in the work place, UK businesses can call the Energy and Environment helpline on 0800 585 794.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie