By Gavin Scarr Hall, Director of Health & Safety at Peninsula
As energy costs soar and bills rise, concerns are being raised about the number of people who could be facing fuel poverty.
With a 45% to 50% hike expected in the spring, it’s not only will households that feel the pinch. Businesses will also be impacted.
And after a tumultuous two years of uncertainty and financial pressures from the pandemic, this is certainly not welcome news.
Businesses large and small will be looking for ways to conserve energy and try to manage their bills considering this price increase.
It’s more important than ever to be mindful of the energy we use – not only to reduce bills, but also do our part in reducing climate change.
Significant areas of energy use by businesses include lighting, heating, and mileage.
When it comes to lighting, using sensor lights is best practice, and LED bulbs have the potential to reduce lighting costs by as much as 90%.
You may want to consider having a policy requiring staff to ensure they switch off all lights and electrical equipment when they leave the workplace for the day.
Leaving computers on standby overnight can cost an office of 16 employees up to £1,742 a year. This cost can be reduced dramatically by ensuring people turn off their computer at the end of the working day rather than leaving it on standby.
And though it may incur an initial cost, think about replacing your antiquated and less-efficient equipment.
To keep your building warm, fixing insulation material is key to retaining heat but it’s also important to ensure your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) set-points are properly controlled. The recommended set point is 22C – having the office temperature consistent will reduce the need for employees to bring in their own heaters.
Air conditioning systems should be maintained and serviced to meet the requirements of the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations.
Taking simple steps can make a huge difference. For example, did you know that dripping taps can waste up to 1,249 litres per month?
And on the subject of wasting water, it’s worth looking at how much water employees put in the kettle when making brews. Findings from The Energy Saving Trust state that overfilling kettles collectively costs Britain £68 million a year.
One thing the pandemic has shown us is that business travel is not always required. Using video conferencing facilities in lieu of in-person meetings, where possible, will help reduce the environmental impact of business-related travel. Businesses should also consider the intelligent alignment of field staff service areas.
Replacing your vehicle fleet with electric vehicles will help the UK’s transport emissions, of which, shockingly, 55% comes from cars. Even better, encourage the use of public transport where possible; implement a cycle to work or car-pooling scheme, or work with local bus companies to provide passes at a reduced cost.
According to printer company Kyocera, the average UK office worker uses up to 45 pieces of paper per day – with two-thirds being considered waste.
It’s essential that businesses encourage recycling options and make use of paperless alternatives like using digital software to cut down on this.
All of the above options will help to reduce CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) which, in turn, reduces our destructive impact on the environment and works in alignment with the Governments goals of net-zero. Not only will you save money, you will also be doing your part to help save the planet.
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