A business energy audit can reveal interesting habits that could be adding a lot to your annual energy bills without you realising. There are many simple ways to identify and prioritise energy-efficiency opportunities without the need for technical background.
We’ve created this guide as a help page to allow you to carry out your own business energy audit to combat rising energy costs.
You’ll need a couple of things to get started:
- Recent energy bills
- Any safety equipment necessary to navigate around your business premises
- A pen and paper to jot down any findings
It’s that simple. No fancy equipment, just a walk around asking yourself the right questions.
Ready to start?
The Energy Audit
First of all, you will need to understand your current energy usage. Think about the areas of your business that is likely to use the most energy - this will provide you with a foundation of what to look out for when you’re doing your walk around.
Things to think about typically include:
- Lighting in the building
- Computer/ equipment
- Energy-intensive operations (manufacturing/ production)
- Heating/ cooling
- Hot water
- Building insulation
- Employee awareness
Each business is different and this is not an extensive list. You may want to dedicate a notes page to each section you identify so you can make observations during your walk around.
The key here is to think about how efficient lighting is in the building. Particularly any spaces that are not occupied for large parts of the day. Here are some questions to think about:
- Could you install motion sensor lighting in the hallway, bathrooms and meeting rooms?
- Do you have LED lighting installed?
- Are manual switches clearly accessible and visible?
- Are windows cleaned regularly?
- Do you have any office furniture blocking natural light?
Computers/ Electrical Equipment
According to the Energy Savings Trust, a computer left on overnight costs an extra £10 annually. Doesn’t seem much does it? Think about how many computers are left on in your business overnight and multiply that number by £10. It soon adds up. That’s not including any other electrical equipment left on standby overnight.
- Do you have any older equipment that is not energy efficient?
- Do employees switch computers off at the end of the day?
- Is energy efficiency talked about at work and is it included in induction training?
- Are elevators well-maintained and checked for energy efficiency?
- Are refrigerators and appliances high on the energy efficiency scale?
- Are vending machines fitted with timers?
Production/ Manufacturing Processes
This is unique to each business and it is difficult to ask general questions relating to processes. However, there are some thought-provoking questions that may offer some ideas.
- Is all machinery using power serving a useful purpose?
- Can production times be changed to more cost-efficient times? (Economy 7 prices vs employee pay)
- Is machinery kept clean and maintained to ensure operating efficiency?
Think about any other systems, processes and machinery that your business has.
Before checking the building, make sure that safety precautions are taken when checking hard-to-reach areas.
- Is the building/ roof well-insulated?
- Can you see any damp marks anywhere?
- Can you feel any air leaks around windows and doors?
- Do automatic doors work and close quickly?
- Are loading doors left open for large amounts of the day?
- Does the building have adequate double-glazed windows?
Heating, Ventilation and Hot Water
Think about how long your building takes to heat up, ventilation, office layout and age of the heating system.
- Is the boiler regularly maintained/ how old is the boiler? Energy-efficient boilers typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years.
- Are employees using plug-in electric heaters?
- Any office furniture covering radiators?
- Thermostats placed in an accessible location and on a timer?
- Windows and doors left open when heating is on?
- Air conditioner well-maintained?
- Windows closed when the air conditioner is on?
- Water in the bathroom on a push-tap timer?
- Does hot water control set on a timer to match occupancy?
Why A Business Energy Audit Is Important?
You may think your business is energy-efficient but it is so easy not to notice small habits of your employees that are adding to your annual energy bill. We would advise a business energy audit for companies of all sizes as it can be a real eye-opener. However, large commercial businesses with more than 250 employees are legally required to carry out an audit.
Your findings do not mean you have to invest lots of money. If fact, it is much better to start with small cost-effective changes. It’s also important to remember this doesn’t have to be done overnight and small changes will make a big impact - it’s crucial to ensure your employee gets on board as the likelihood of success with increases this way.