As energy costs continue to rise, reducing costs and carbon emissions is an increasing priority for business leaders. Shayne Wilson, of Pilot Group, explains why energy management and monitoring is of real strategic importance.
As energy costs soar, energy management and monitoring has never been more significant. According to energy analysts Cornwall Insight, SMEs have faced an average gas bill hike of more than 250% in the last year alone.
Another price increase is expected in October, where, according to the most recent forecasts, we should expect energy prices to rise even further, by a staggering 51%.
Despite this, in a study carried out by the Office for National Statistics, nearly half of all businesses surveyed reported they are not implementing any actions to reduce their carbon emissions.
The three main challenges preventing these businesses from taking action are:
- Concern over the cost of implementation
- lack of expertise to assess different options for change
- lack of knowledge on how to measure energy outputs.
Decreasing energy consumption reduces running costs for businesses, lowers carbon emissions and shows customers that a company is environmentally conscious. So why is it proving so difficult to convince business owners to take a serious look at their energy outputs and learn how to make it more efficient?
Increased awareness around the strategic importance of energy management and monitoring is vital to overcome these barriers for change. After all, you can’t improve what you don’t know – and that lack of understanding can be overcome with simple steps.
Advanced meters and smart meters can each provide an accurate measurement of energy use. There are many different types of advanced monitoring systems to build a detailed picture of energy useage. However, simply obtaining your half hourly meter information from your electricity provider can be the starting point to help provide valuable insights into your energy efficiency.
Smart meters are also booming in popularity as they provide real time readings of energy use, and automatically send readings to suppliers.
Smart meters and half hourly meter readings allow you to monitor and analyse energy-use patterns throughout the day, which can then be assessed against operational hours. For a business that operates 9am to 5pm, you will most likely see spikes in energy consumption during that time, with zero energy usage outside of these hours, apart from base load consumption such as fire alarms and emergency lighting.
Seeing large spikes outside of operational hours is costly and easily fixable through an energy management system to measure energy consumption.
Recent years have seen a proliferation in energy management system technology, bringing sophisticated systems and processes into play. Sub-metering is growing in popularity, as a method that gathers more granular energy consumption information about a business or site, pinning down the energy usage across different areas of buildings and pieces of equipment. This also often acts as an early warning system for any equipment that may need maintenance.
It’s vital that businesses consistently monitor and measure energy usage: the more data you have, the more detailed your energy profile will be.
There’s a common fear that green technology is a costly investment, however, most energy efficient solutions are relatively inexpensive, and the question I always ask my customers is: can you afford not to?
Research by the Carbon Trust shows that most businesses can achieve meaningful cost savings through cutting energy consumption and that even low and no-cost action can usually reduce costs by at least 10%.
And looking at the three main barriers which stop businesses from implementing energy management, it is clear they are all easy to overcome.