How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Is there anyone who’s not talking about rising energy costs, both at home and in our businesses? 

The news has been plagued with reports about how rising energy bills are impacting operating costs, and while many businesses have tried to absorb the costs, some are forced to pass them on to consumers. 

Reducing energy usage and improving energy efficiency is an essential way to tackle the ever-increasing energy bills. But how can you go about it for your business? 

How Much Electricity Does a Commercial Building Use?

According to the Non-Domestic National Energy Data Framework (ND-NEED), non-domestic buildings consumed an average of 84.5 MWh of electricity per year (2018), while average gas consumption was 92.4 MWh. Interestingly, electricity usage remained stable, while gas consumption increased slightly, between 2016-18. 

It’s worth bearing in mind that every business is different, and operations can vary wildly – perhaps unsurprisingly, factories and offices tend to consume the most energy overall, but hospitality businesses have the highest intensity of energy usage. 

It’s essential to look at your own business processes to determine how you can make your place of work more energy efficient. Visit our page on business energy audits for further guidance.

How Can You Reduce Energy Consumption?

While it may be obvious how we can reduce energy consumption at home, it’s less obvious for commercial properties. 

People are your most important asset in business, and this is just as true in the fight to reduce energy consumption. Staff are the first port of call to embed energy-saving behaviours effectively. Businesses that find ways to encourage and reward staff who comply will be more successful. 

Check Appliance Energy Star Rating

Investing in energy-efficient appliances is one way to reduce energy use at work. 

The Energy Star rating makes it easy to identify electrical products that use less energy than their non-rated counterparts. It’s applied to most appliances, including refrigerators, air conditioning units and computers. 

As your equipment comes towards its useful lifespan, it should be a no-brainer to make the switch to energy-efficient appliances. An Energy Star-rated computer can use between 25-40% less energy than a conventional computer. 

Consider Your Lighting Systems

For businesses, one of the highest areas of energy consumption is lighting. Often, lights are on all day long, whether someone is in the room or not. 

Getting into better habits is a quick-win way to reduce your electricity usage. Making sure lights are turned off when rooms are unoccupied or implementing motion sensors, will go a long way towards reducing electricity wastage. 

If you haven’t already made the switch, then consider changing your lightbulbs over to LED bulbs. LED lighting is a growing market, with many people realising that LED light bulbs can use at least 75% less energy than incandescent lighting.  

Wherever possible, try to make effective use of natural lighting in your workspace. Not only will it help to reduce your electricity bill, but it can also improve your working environment and boost staff’s mental health well-being. 

Improve Your Insulation

Insulating your building properly will help it to become more airtight, thus reducing heat loss. Consider whether you have suitable insulation in places like the wall cavities, loft and floor. 

Another way of keeping heat exactly where you want it is through the installation of double-glazed windows. Double glazing serves to prevent heat from transferring from one side of the glass to the other – keeping the heat in when it’s cold, and out when it’s hot. 

Monitor Your Heating Controls

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your heating and cooling systems. A relatively pain-free method is through the use of smart heating controls to track your energy use.

As well as allowing you to keep tabs on usage, you can also adjust the temperature quickly, with a few taps of the screen. Putting the heating on an automatic timer is a great way to manage the heating system with little effort. 

At the end of the day, smart heating controls enable you to only use the heating when you need it. 

How Can You Measure Energy Efficiency?

With so many advances in technology, it’s become easier than ever to measure your energy usage. Smart technology means we can continuously measure our energy consumption and adjust as and when needed. 

To really get a handle on your energy efficiency, though, you’ll want to get either a commercial EPC or domestic EPC energy assessment. Not only will they tell you how much energy you’re currently using, but they’ll also provide valuable recommendations to improve your home or businesses’ energy efficiency.

Every Little Bit Helps…

It’s a worrying time with many of us facing rising operating costs and there are many small changes that we can make to help us cut costs and our carbon footprint. 

Many of us may be loath to make significant expenditures right now to implement energy efficiency measures. However, making some of the necessary changes now may help us to spread the burden as we prepare for the EPC regulation changes, which will see minimum EPC ratings introduced for commercial buildings starting at Band E and moving up to Band B in 2030.  It is best to start preparing for these regulatory changes as soon as possible.

Visit our ESOS assessment page for further information.