The five steps of energy management
1. Continuously collect and analyse data
2. Optimise and improve energy efficiency
3. Calculate potential returns on investment
4. Execute energy efficiency solutions
5. Rinse and repeat all steps
We’d like to say that energy management is as simple as the five steps above. However, it’s a far more intricate procedure. Whilst they will save your business time and energy, it can be tough to put into practice. Fortunately, Power Audit UK can help you curb your energy expenditure. With a little input from us, we can help manage your expectations and set you on a clearly delineated path.
Manage your behaviour
Before we go any further, know this. Whilst our knowledge is your power, your behaviour is an energy provider’s gain. Power Audit UK don’t provide energy – we broker it and we want to embolden your approach to energy-saving solutions. So to do that, you need to adjust your team’s behaviour when it comes to your energy consumption. It’s one thing to throw money on improvements but that doesn’t do an awful lot if your staff leave devices on overnight. If anything, you’re just letting your staff burn a hole in your pocket. Going forward, reconsider your business’s approach to energy awareness. To help you and your staff adjust to this new approach, we can install control equipment on your site. This can include cheap installations of timer switches. These devices automatically turn off other devices at set times. It’s mad to think how such a simple step could save you a small fortune!
What’s the importance of energy management?
Energy costs are rising. Incremental changes to legislation – such as DCP161 – have given energy providers more power. Now they’re able to hold their customers accountable for exceeding their energy usage. Before, it would’ve been a slap on the wrist. Now it’s a hefty charge. To combat this, however, we’ve seen an escalation in competition between providers. This can be both a blessing and a curse as cheap rates might not equate to good services. So choose wisely!
We’ve not exactly been too kind to the planet. Many environmental concerns stem from energy providers and their clients. There’s also cost-related implications such as carbon taxes for those who fail to toe the line. So do your bit and reduce your carbon footprint. Such efforts are not only morally and financially beneficial but make good marketing. Plenty of businesses promote themselves as utilising Green Solutions. This is a feat that environmentalists keenly observe and praise.
Energy is expensive. In the case of commercial energy, the more you consume, the more you run the risk of a price increase. What’s worse is that your business might not even be using all this energy! Such escalations could also lead to supply shortages. These could cripple or even kill your business. After all, you need to be able to turn the lights on for you and your staff. Reduce such risks by managing your demand for energy. Make your energy usage a more predictable pattern to follow.
Let’s revisit those five steps
Now that you know why you should manage your money, let’s start with the basics. We suppose you’ve heard the saying, “You get out what you put in”? Whilst it’s a heartfelt sentiment it has no business in commercial energy. If you’re pumping too much energy into your site, chances are that a lot of it is going to waste. To combat this, you need to set yourself some aggressive energy reduction targets (before someone sets them for you!). This way, you can knuckle down on your business’s energy consumption. Strategically hit those targets through understanding how to effectively manage your energy consumption. That way you’ll be better equipped to save money and energy too!
Continuously collect and analyse data
This should be a given. In order to set yourself targets, you need to have a clear indication of a beginning and endpoint. Once you’ve collected data on your energy expenditure, you’ll be able to tackle the problem at hand. The more data you collect, the better. Establish patterns of energy consumption at all hours. That way, you can set yourself adjustable goals to hit at those concentrated hours.
A fantastic way of measuring data is by installing an interval-metering system. These systems automatically measure your energy usage at customisable times. That way, you don’t need to manually step in and read your meter once a week. The system does it all for you and better yet, is capable of gathering far more results. After all, unlike the interval-meter, would you manually check it several times a day? I mean, there you can but why would you want to waste time when you can install a device to do it on your behalf?
Optimise and improve energy efficiency
This is the big one and can wildly vary for each site. Whilst there will more than likely be some overlaps you should always consult and refer to your own data. It will prove to be an invaluable commodity! Almost as much as this next point . . .
Encourage your staff to switch off equipment at the beginning and end of each working day.
We could go one step further and suggest your encourage them to turn off devices once they’ve used it . . . but we’ll leave the ball in your court. Either way, this is a free step! All it costs is patience! Beyond this, consult your data and gather clear indications of energy fluctuation. These can occur at any time of day. Although, with any luck, it should be happening during your business’s operating hours. If not, then something on your site is being used outside of these hours. Cue the detective work but hold your horses! So long as you’ve installed an interval-metering system, you won’t need to patrol your site at all hours of the day. Consult your data and isolate what time the problem occurs. It’s often the case that heating and ventilation systems decide to turn themselves on. This can result from improper use of equipment but is easily “fixable” (provided it isn’t faulty).
Calculate potential returns on investment
You’ve consulted your data and through some detective work have isolated the problem. Now what? Use said data and calculate how much energy is being used. Power Audit UK are on standby should you need us, but this will most likely be measured in kWh. Once you’ve ascertained how much energy it’s costing you, how much is it costing your business? Calculate whether it will cost you more to resolve. If so, you need to consider a variety of factors. These whether work needs to be done to your site or whether you can reprioritise the issue for a later date.
Whilst it’s fun to deal in hypotheticals, base them on clear and concise data. An interval-metering system isolates the time of the problem but it won’t locate the problem itself. If you don’t know what the specific problem is, the data becomes somewhat less useful. Once you’ve honed in on the problem, you can move to the next step. With the interval-meter, you can quantify and calculate potential returns on your investment.
Execute energy efficiency solutions
We said it before and we’ll say it again – encourage your staff to be more conscious about their energy usage. It’s a simple, yet effective change that won’t cost you a penny!
Other than that, find efficient replacements for your energy problems. We’d love to help you further but each site requires bespoke intervention. To do this, we would need to get involved in a professional capacity. Besides this, once you’ve installed your new equipment or insulation, we can’t really say much more except . . . wait!
Rinse and repeat all steps
Energy management is not an easy feat. It’s an ongoing process that requires time and dedication. Once you’ve implemented the previous steps, you should review your progress. After all, how else would you know whether your investments have paid off? If you’ve been given targets to hit from high up then you’ll need concrete figures to share with stakeholders. This is especially the case if you need to illustrate how a new piece of equipment has made a difference. Conversely, if you’ve left faulty equipment on the back burner, you’ll need to periodically reassess them. Otherwise, you should keep track of things that aren’t on track. Collate your problems and keep an eye on things while you still can!
Need help with your energy management?
What: Power Audit UK
Who: Sean Taylor
With over 23 years of experience, Sean’s knowledge as a UK-based commercial energy broker is next-to-none. If you’d like to benefit from a full energy audit or any of Our Services, simply reach out and get in touch below! Sean’s worked across all sectors of business, including charities, schools and universities.
Put us to the test
Submit your energy bill below with 3 simple steps
1. Send us your energy bill
2. We will assess and research the market
3. We provide you with the best deals based on our findings