Ben Lynch, Director and Energy Practice Lead at Anthesis, comments on how businesses can adopt the opportunities to tackle energy inefficiency ahead of the UK announcing a new Prime Minister:
“A new UK Prime Minister will take office today and confront the desperate situation many households face with rising energy bills. However, many organisations have yet to adopt opportunities to tackle energy inefficiency and reap the benefits of both security of supply and decarbonisation. Compelling cost savings and the growing real-world repercussions of the climate crisis mean there has never been a stronger economic or moral imperative for businesses to act.
Many organisations expect to see their energy bills increase 5-fold in the coming months; however, it is no longer enough to lament the rising costs and rely on the government’s prospective propositions of support. It is time for businesses to help themselves.
Larger organisations have clamoured in recent years to appoint sustainability managers to achieve ESG objectives with previous energy manager positions often being rolled into this. However, the precarity of relying on imported fossil fuels, particularly for energy-intensive companies, has emphasised the need to return to engaging dedicated energy managers or external experts if companies are to deliver ambitious programmes of change.
Smaller businesses also need to return to well-established practices in energy management through monitoring, maintenance, and upgrading. These include:
- Monitoring energy usage through smart meters
- Control optimisation for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
- Installing automated controls to ensure the lights are off when a room isn’t in use
- Initiating planned preventative maintenance programmes
- Upgrading property – increasing building insulation, replacing windows and doors, sealing air leakage areas to retain warmth, and replacing lighting with energy efficient options
Whilst the invasion of Ukraine instigated dramatic energy price rises, England is also emerging from its joint hottest summer on record. Despite many UK companies making Net Zero pledges, UK businesses still contribute a fifth of the country’s carbon emissions and place huge demand on our already stretched grid. The energy crisis should be a wake-up call to tackle inefficiency and demonstrate that these aren’t empty promises.”