Our guide to energy efficiency within your business

Every business can be more efficient to cut their energy costs. From retail, manufacturing, to leisure and hospitality, we're going to tell you how to improve energy efficiency for your business.

Energy advice tailored for your business

All businesses use energy in different ways, at different times of the day. We believe that whatever industry you're in, you can take steps to improve your energy efficiency.  So we've created energy saving advice for businesses across a range of industries.

Set goals

Set achievable, measurable goals and communicate these to your colleagues. Create an efficiency-minded culture that everyone supports.

Keep track

Monitor progress continuously and make sure to communicate successes, however big or small, to your staff, colleagues and customers.

Manufacturing

  • Optimise the temperature of your workspace for employee comfort. Make sure you check the temperature regularly and adapt it to changing weather conditions and shift patterns.
  • Lighting is also important for employee productivity and morale, as well as safety and quality control. The increased lifespan and reduced maintenance costs of LED lights make them a cost efficient and energy saving alternative to traditional lighting. Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lights can save up to 85% in energy costs. Also consider using lighting sensors to only illuminate areas when needed.
  • Full tanks, ovens and dryers are much more energy efficient than empty ones.
  • If you have significant heating or electricity demands, consider combined heat and power (CHP). CHP engines replace a traditional boiler and turn fuel (usually gas) into electricity whilst also capturing the excess heat produced to either heat or cool your building. CHP can reduce carbon emissions by up to 30% compared to generating through a power station and boiler and reduces energy costs by up to 20%. You can also take advantage of the opportunity to sell excess electricity back to the grid.

Offices

  • Turn off electrical equipment when it’s not being used and incentivise employees to do the same. Small changes, like encouraging staff to power down PCs when not in use, can have a dramatic effect on costs.
  • Improve productivity and well-being by providing a comfortable environment. In an office where staff don’t move a lot, the recommended temperature is 21-23°C according to the Carbon Trust.
  • Lighting sensors make sure you only light up areas of the office where employees are working. If you use switches, make sure employees know which lights can be switched off and remind them to do so with our handy downloadable stickers.
  • For a more long-term solution, monitor and control your building’s energy needs, reducing consumption and costs while improving overall performance and building comfort levels with a Building Management System (BeMS).
  • Reducing paper and plastic waste is an easy way to improve your organisation’s green credentials. Electronically sign documents where possible, and if you do use paper, make sure you have an easy-to-use recycling system. To reduce plastic waste, introduce metal or biodegradable cutlery in the canteen and consider providing staff with reusable cups.

Retail

  • Customer comfort and energy savings can and should come hand in hand. Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) remotely monitor and optimise lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

  • Intelligent lighting solutions with efficient LED lights, whose individual brightness can be remotely changed, can create a clean, bright shopping environment for shoppers, whilst also reducing operational and maintenance costs.
  • To encourage shoppers and staff alike to recycle more, make sure your recycling points are easy to reach and clearly signposted.

  • If you use in-store refrigerators, make sure doors are kept closed where possible, and that fridges are frequently cleaned and defrosted. Invest in energy-efficient fridges and maintain their seals to keep the cold in.
  • Keep your buildings at peak efficiency with good insulation, automatic closers on external doors and thermal strips around doors and windows to prevent draughts.

Hospitality and leisure

  • Around 40% of the energy you consume is in the preparation and storage of food, so make sure you keep doors closed whenever possible. Regularly defrosting fridges and checking seals are intact will also help.
  • Matching your heating timer to when the premises is in use ensures you aren’t heating the building un-necessarily. Also, it’s worth considering zoned heating.
  • Intelligent lighting solutions with efficient LED lights whose individual brightness can be remotely changed, can create a clean and bright environment for customers, whilst also reducing costs.
  • Cooling beverages in a typical pub accounts for a good proportion of the total energy cost. Taking small steps such as ensuring cellar doors and hatches are draught-stripped, and putting cooling system sensors at barrel height can make a big difference.
  • Avoid over heating water. The ideal temperature for stored hot water is 60°C. It's hot enough for staff and customers to use, whilst being hot enough to kill Legionella bacteria.

Local authorities

  • Heating makes up a large proportion of costs for local authority buildings such as care homes, which are often heated all year round. Monitor room temperatures and avoid heating rooms such as laundry rooms where machines give off heat. Also keep windows and doors closed where possible and remove any furniture blocking radiators and fans.
  • Use smart thermostats to only heat rooms when they’re occupied. Gradually change the settings over a few days and collect feedback from staff or residents to make improvements that are comfortable for everyone.
  • Consider a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) to give better control over how your building is performing in terms of heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • Make the most of natural light, which can have a positive impact on morale and well-being.
  • Switch off office equipment that’s not in use and make sure it's well-maintained and cleaned to ensure optimum efficiency.
  • Remind staff that everyone has a part to play in becoming more energy efficient. Encourage them to review their behaviours and use prompts, such as our Energy Saving Toolkit, to remind staff to turn off lights and avoid over-heating buildings.
  • In catering, don’t switch on equipment too soon, as most modern equipment reaches its optimum temperature quickly. Label the equipment with how long it takes to heat up, so staff know when to turn it on. Simple steps such as using lids on saucepans and keeping fridge doors closed as much as possible will also make a difference to energy savings.

Healthcare

  • Are different rooms at the right temperatures? Encourage staff to feedback on whether the temperature is too high or too low. This will prevent windows being opened when the air conditioning is on or portable heaters are being used, as they consume a lot more energy.
  • Check staff and patients are comfortable within the suggested guidelines:

                    Bedheads/wards - 22-24°C
                    Circulation spaces/wards - 19-24°C
                    Consultation rooms - 22-24°C
                    Nurses’ stations - 19-22°C
                    Operating theatres - 17-19°C

  • Ensure large scale equipment such as X-ray machines and film processers are turned off when not in use.
  • With special equipment that involves refrigeration, check that you're using the correct temperature. Defrost and check seals regularly.
  • Occupancy sensors in toilets and lesser-used areas can save you up to 50% on lighting costs. Alongside occupancy sensors, the increased lifespan and reduced maintenance costs of LED lights make them a cost efficient and energy saving alternative to traditional lighting. Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lights can save up to 85% in energy costs.
  • Get all staff to work together on a maintenance and housekeeping schedule, addressing any issues with the fabric of the building, damaged windows and doors. 

Education

  • Children have higher metabolic rates compared to adults, so they're comfortable and easier to communicate with in cooler environments. The Department of Education and Skills recommends 18°C for normal teaching, 15°C for corridors and sports halls and 21°C for low activity, special needs schools or those with very young children.
  • Ensure all electrical equipment like computers and vending machines are shut off at the end of the day. A single computer left on 24 hours a day costs around £45 a year, whereas with standby or turn-off features enabled you can reduce it to £10. 
  • Raise awareness with the catering team and get them to make simple changes such as not switching on appliances too soon.  By avoiding over filling saucepans and kettles or switching off lights and extraction fans when not in use  - this can reduce your bill by as much as 25%.
  • Utilising day light in a classroom can reduce lighting costs by 19%. Artificial light should only be used to complement natural light when really needed.
  • Involve the students by raising awareness during assemblies and in classroom sessions. Get them involved and starting to take responsibility for their school or higher education campus’s carbon footprint. 

The facts, figures and advice have been sourced from the Carbon Trust, Energy Trust and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (formerly known as the Department of Energy and Climate Change).