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  • Lee Calver
  • 28 January 2014
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Big Energy Saving Week should get businesses thinking about their energy usage

Yesterday marked the start of Big Energy Saving Week, a joint project between Citizens Advice, Government, energy suppliers, Energy Saving Trust, Acre, Age UK and other voluntary and charitable organisations.

With energy bills going up and up, the main aim of Big Energy Saving week, which runs from 27-31 January, is to provide advice to homes about ways to cut down bills. However, this is also an opportunity for businesses to look at their energy consumption and focus on how they can save money by decreasing the amount of energy they use and lose.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recently estimated that businesses in the UK waste on average 10-20% of the energy they buy.

Many companies do not realise that there are simple things that can be done to reduce energy costs, and in doing so, also increase their green credentials.

Energy Saving for Businesses Ltd, supplier of energy reduction services, has produced a document ‘10 Simple Ways Your Business Can Save Energy (and money!)’ which can be taken on board by all organisations with minimal effort and very little change to current business practices.

For example, first on the list is: ‘When not being used, switch off computers and other appliances (don’t leave them on standby)’. This may sound like a pretty obvious statement, but it is likely to be something that some employees won’t consider as they are trying to make a quick exit from the office at the end of the day.

Energy Saving for Businesses Ltd advises you to try and get your employees into the habit of turning off computers when leaving the office because it can lead to huge savings. In addition, it states that peripherals like printers and scanners should also be turned off when not in use. Once again, another pretty basic tip, but should be reinforced to ensure that it is happening in your workplace every day. To put it into perspective for employers, a single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day will cost over £50 a year. Switching them off out of hours and enabling standby features could reduce this to £15 a year and prolong the lifespan of equipment.

The second tip given by Energy Saving for Businesses Ltd was to turn the lights off, stating that staff should be encouraged to switch off lights in unoccupied areas or where daylight is adequate as it could cut lighting costs by as much as 15%.

The remaining eight tips can be seen here.

As well as focusing on making your business more energy-efficient to save money, organisations must also be aware of the regulations aimed at making businesses more energy-efficient and what happens if you fail to comply.

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, which started in April 2010, is designed to encourage large public and private sector organisations to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through making them pay for their emissions – the more carbon dioxide they create through their electricity consumption, the more they pay.

Participants have to measure and report on their energy consumption and buy allowances for the amount of CO2 emissions associated with their energy consumption.

Failing to comply with the Scheme can result in significant financial penalties and certain breaches can amount to a criminal offence.

Phase 2 of this Scheme will start on 1 April 2014, and Workplace Law’s next Facilities Management Legal Update will explain more about this complicated Scheme and what it could mean for you and your business.

Big Energy Saving Week may be aimed at improving households, but don’t let that stop you and your organisation from taking a moment to think about the changes you can make.

As you can see from the advice on offer, it doesn’t take much to make a significant difference. If you can ensure that all staff are involved and encouraged to make simple changes to their daily routine, you are starting to succeed straight away.