Every business has an environmental impact, and a substantial part of this comes from the energy used to run buildings and equipment. Unless you already have a super-efficient premises, a lot of this energy will be wasted – lost through gaps in the building fabric (think single-glazed windows, poor insulation, unblocked chimneys etc) or caused by old and inefficient technology such as boilers.
This means that there’s a huge opportunity for every business in the wedding industry to reduce their carbon emissions and the cost of their energy bill by making simple changes to stop wasting energy. But where do you start? We asked the team at Energy Solutions Oxfordshire what their top three tips are to reduce energy consumption right now.
Switch to energy efficient LED light bulbs
Good lighting is important to most businesses. Many of those working in the wedding industry will have retail space or regular visitors to their premises, meaning you want it to be well-lit and inviting. What you may not realise is that something as simple as the light bulbs you choose will have a large impact on your energy bills and carbon emissions.
If your premises has any light fixtures using traditional, incandescent light bulbs now is the time to get rid. LED light bulbs are much more efficient at turning energy into light output, meaning that they use much less energy and last a lot longer.
Take The Abbey in Sutton Courtenay for example. They operate a guest house within their business, which was using traditional light bulbs throughout. Switching to LED light bulbs cost them £115 to install, and now saves them £217 per year on their bills on average. Plus, with the help of Energy Solutions Oxfordshire’s energy experts they were able to choose bulbs which give off a cosy, warm light for their guests comfort.
Move to low carbon heating alternatives
Heating usually accounts for 60% or more of a business’ annual energy use. It’s also very important to the smooth running of a business – keeping staff and visitors warm and comfortable in the winter and cool in the summer months.
Many businesses are operating with old and inefficient heating systems, typically fossil fuel boilers. There are many better options out there for both your profits and the planet, from biomass boilers to heat pumps to more efficient fossil fuel boilers. The best heating option for your particular business and building will depend on several variables, and may also require other improvements to work well – such as improving insulation. That’s why we’d always recommend getting advice from experts during an energy assessment – something which Energy Solutions Oxfordshire are able to offer for free until June 2021 as part of their grant funding from the UK Government.
Take Chapman Robinson and Moore, for instance. They’re an accountant’s firm based in a 1990s office building on a business park in Kidlington. The office was heated using night storage heaters which had been installed when the building was first occupied in 1990. These are difficult to control and result in rooms being heated unnecessarily, wasting energy. We helped them make the switch to air source heat pumps, which provide a much more constant temperature, with heating and cooling technology. Alongside the repair of some failed double-glazed windows, this change is saving the company 19,062 kWh of energy every year – representing 7.86 tonnes of CO2 emissions, and £1,916 worth of energy bills.
Behaviour change: always power down when not in use
Even after you’ve made the switch to LED lights and a low carbon heating system, you may still be wasting energy in the way you use your building, so it’s important to improve the energy behaviour of those using your building at the same time. When the Energy Solutions Oxfordshire team visit businesses to assess their premises, they often see energy-using appliances – lights, heaters, computers, water coolers, equipment etc – left turned on constantly, even when there’s no one in the room or the building.
Making sure these items are switched off when not in use, or when the building is locked up at the end of the day, is a simple way to reduce wasted energy in any workplace. Some ideas to make this easier are:
- Briefing your team on turning off energy-using appliances when they leave the room to raise energy awareness and help them get into the habit – including briefing new team members when they start.
- Use automatic modes to make it even simpler. Most equipment (including computers) have settings and control options that allow you to shut them down automatically when idle.
- Set your heating controls. If you have temperature controls and thermostats, make sure they’re well-programmed to keep the building a constant temperature, without staff members needing to tamper with the thermostat all day, as this will increase energy use. As a guide, when the building is in use the ideal temperature range is between 18 and 21 degrees. When not in use heating can be completely switched off or greatly reduced to between 9 and 12 degrees.
- Provide regular instructions to keep energy top of mind. This might be a reminder in your staff newsletter, or using visual cues such as putting up a poster close to the light switch reminding people to turn it off when they leave the room.
Taking these actions in tandem – improving energy awareness whilst also improving the fabric of your premises – is a sure-fire way to stop wasting energy in your business, cutting carbon emissions and running costs. Plus, if you work with Energy Solutions Oxfordshire to implement improvements, you’ll also be invited to apply for an Energy Pioneer Award, giving you a way to showcase the work you’ve done and your company’s commitment to reducing your environmental impact.
Energy Solutions Oxfordshire is a complete energy efficiency service helping organisations to stop wasting energy – making cost and carbon savings. Get started by filling out their short online survey about your buildings and existing energy usage to get a free Desktop Diagnosis Report for your organisation and find out what the opportunities are for your building.