10 Jan Energy efficiency: How industries differ
On average, 25% of an organisation’s electricity costs come from lighting and refrigeration, which can be as much as 50% of their energy bill. Swapping bulbs for LED lights are just one slight change that can make an impact on your energy efficiency. Although it seems harder for some sectors to save energy and reduce their consumption than others, it is possible to improve the overall energy usage in corporations.
Efficiency in corporations
Industries account for almost one-third of the world’s primary energy use, more than any other end-use sector of the economy. The Clean Growth Strategy shows how the efficiency within the current rate of buildings is far too slow, so it is essential for researchers to explore other ways to make industrial and manufacturing processes most efficient.
Another key driver is the Climate Change Act 2008, which sets a legal requirement for the UK to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050 (against a 1990 baseline). Maintaining a secure energy supply is essential, especially in today’s society since fossil fuels are running out.
However, the UK has seen a reduction in industrial energy use and the final energy consumption has been seen to decrease in all sectors. A reason for this could be because of the structural changes in the various end-use sectors, where improvements in heat consumption are now more efficient.
It is possible to reduce the cost of energy to your business premises and the benefits from doing so are endless. If you need help on how to improve your sustainability, why not get in touch.
So how do they differ?
Private offices are the biggest business energy consumer, meaning that there’s a lot of room for savings. Water and energy can be massively cut down if employees took more care and if changes were made. By 2030, water demand is expected to exceed the current supply by 40 per cent, so changes such as using a washing up bowl instead of washing up individually can massively save water supplies.
Offering incentives within a corporate business may reward employees who implement energy-saving techniques. Turning off equipment when they are not being used, putting computers on standby and not using single-use plastics will make the working environment eco-friendlier. Involving the employees can have a positive reflection on the company and its savings.
Similarly, there are many simple and inexpensive ways to reduce energy use and costs associated with lighting without compromising staff. If break room lights were not needed, control systems have the ability to turn off automatically. Technology has had many advances which may help global warming and allow us to track our energy consumption.
The Carbon Trust state that ‘a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same financial benefit as a 5% increase in sales’, proving that saving energy is one of the simplest ways for each industry to increase their profits. For example, one way to easily save electricity is by installing occupancy sensors. These lights could achieve savings of up to 50% on lighting costs, as they only turn on when someone is present. The retail sector would benefit from this change since the sensors would work well in stockrooms and toilets.
Moreover, heating accounts for 40% of energy use. By following some simple rules, such as regularly checking the thermostat (and setting it to the recommended temperature – 19-21°C for site offices, 16-19°C for workshops and 10-12°C for stores), costs can be cut and customers will be comfortable. In the winter, shoppers tend to be in warm outdoor clothing, so if the heating is over the recommended amount, consumers will be less likely to purchase.
Care homes are high energy users since they provide 24-hour facilities, with residents using gas and electricity for most of the day and night. The UK’s healthcare sector spends more than £400 million a year on energy, and unfortunately, a significant proportion gets wasted. Improving insulation, optimising fuel usage and upgrading to a more efficient boiler system can rapidly improve efficiencies and cut costs and waste.
Renewable energy is key to going green, which is why it is recommended that care homes consider investing in solar panels. This form of green energy can generate electricity, generating power for ovens, washing machines and lighting. Soon enough, the original upfront cost is outweighed by its overall benefits to the environment and to your energy bills.
Leisure facilities are huge energy consumers. Applying a few simple energy efficiency measures can keep costs to a minimum, whilst maximising guest gratification. Centres use up to 65% of their energy on pool heating and ventilation, but little changes can be made whilst still meeting the same conditions.
Pool covers are one method that can significantly reduce the energy that gets lost through evaporation and can also help to keep the pool warm. The cover reduces heat losses by up to 30% of the total pool energy use! Boilers, hot water tanks, pipes and valves should be insulated to prevent heat escaping. Although initially costly, payback can usually be expected within a few months of installation, with additional savings in subsequent years. By reducing heating temperatures by just 1ºC, it can cut fuel consumption by 8%.
The current annual total UK energy consumption for the education sector is 11,378 million kWh. Electricity use has increased by 31% over the years in the education sector. One big reason for this is the greater use of technology and the extension of school hours. Simple habits such as turning off machines, using timers and replacing old machinery, could make a small difference but make a bigger step toward a better future.
Along with this, energy costs could be reduced by £44 million per year, preventing 625,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. One sustainable change that could help to reduce costs is to close doors and windows when the heating is on. Heat escapes the building and lets cold air in, similar to escaping through cracks and un-insulated gaps within the rooms. 25% of a building’s heat can escape through an un-insulated roof, which adds hundreds of pounds per year to heating bills.
Restaurants and takeaway establishments tend to renew and refurbish their building stock every 7-10 years, making room for many sustainable changes. If efficiency opportunities are maximised, some businesses could see energy efficiency costs reduce by as much as 40%. Saving could directly increase revenue and profitability without the need to increase sales.
In 2010, the catering industry consumed nearly 37TWh (enough energy to power 125,000 homes for nearly 15 years). But simple actions could help stop emissions polluting the air. Raising awareness amongst kitchen staff and providing energy management training is a good starting point for cutting costs. And could reduce energy use by up to 30%.
A regularly serviced boiler could potentially save 5% on annual heating costs in hospitality, and ensure the continued smooth operation of the heating system. It’s also an idea to upgrade any standard light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) which use up to 75% less energy, produce less unwanted heat and last 8-10 times longer. This is comparable to LEDs, which use up to 80% less energy and provide around 50,000 hours of use.
Or why not consider occupancy linked controls? These are a range of modern controls that exist to switch energy-consuming services down or off when a guest vacates a room. Other systems are based on key-card access or occupancy sensors that manage services based on room movement. Many of these systems achieve significant savings and could pay back their installation costs within 1-3 years.
Above are just a handful of energy and cost-saving techniques, but here at ESS we specialise in auditing, processing and analysing your utilities. Feel free to contact us to find out how we can help you save more energy and money.
Remember, ESS can help any of the above sectors to save money by managing your utility bills and consumption. Find out how here.