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Save your business money

Reduce the amount of energy your business consumes to save money and help the environment.

Reduce your energy costs

With energy prices (electricity) for a medium-sized user predicted to rise by almost 30% in the next 5 years, many businesses are looking to manage future risks by investing in energy efficiency.

Energy companies may offer small businesses energy-efficiency schemes or grants. Eligibility criteria and availability will vary, depending on things like the size of the business, location and business sector. You should contact your supplier to find out what they can offer.

Reducing energy use doesn't always mean spending a lot. Business can cut costs through low to medium cost measures such as replacing lights or heating systems or encouraging employees to change their behaviour.

Heating costs increase by around 8% for every 1C degree increase. Turning it down 2C degrees would save £140 on a £1,000 bill. Turning the temperature up high on your thermostat does not warm the room up quicker!

It's also a myth that turning lights off and then back on uses more energy than leaving them on all the time. It's always best to turn them off when not required, even if it's just for a short time.

Improve your building's energy performance

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates how energy efficient a building is using grades from A to G, with A being the most efficient grade. Current requirements are for non-domestic rented buildings to meet an EPC Band E.

From 1 April 2023, the ban on landlords from granting new leases will be extended to prohibit the continuation of any existing lease of non-domestic premises with an EPC rating below E. This includes renewals and extensions.

All privately-rented non-domestic buildings need to reach EPC Band B by 2030 where cost-effective. This will be a phased implementation with EPC C by 2027 set as an interim milestone.

The introduction of a 2-year 'compliance window' will begin with the requirement for landlords to present a valid EPC. For EPC C, Government proposes the compliance window should be 2025-2027, and for EPC B 2028-2030.

Find an energy assessor at the get a new energy certificate webpage at GOV.UK.

You can also find advice on how to improve your building or office's energy usage at the Going Green Together website.

Reduce single-use plastics

From 1 October 2023 businesses must no longer supply, sell or offer certain single-use plastic items in England. Find out more about the legislation at the GOV.UK single-use plastics webpage and the Business Companion single-use plastics webpage.

More steps you can take

Here are some examples of where you can save money:

  • by adding occupancy sensors to its store area and toilets, an electronic components manufacturer is saving £813 and 5 tonnes of CO2e a year - the initial £225 investment paid for itself in 3 months and gave a £813 saving
  • by installing a £100 timer to its existing heating system, the Chinese Contemporary Arts Centre in Manchester is saving £4,363 and 17.6 tonnes of CO2e a year - a £100 investment saving £4,363
  • by fixing just 9 leaks in its compressed air system, a small printing machine manufacturer is saving £1265 and 7 tonnes of CO2e a year - saving £1,265
  • DJS Research, a market research company, has installed timer switches to turn off its two water coolers out-of-hours, saving £144 a year - this was paid back in savings in 35 days

You can find more information about savings and other steps businesses can take by reading the SME Guide to Energy Efficiency by the Department of Energy and Climate Change or the Small Business User Guide by DEFRA.

Zero Carbon Consultancy case study

As a well-established charity based in Stockton-on-Tees, Zero Carbon Consultancy are all too aware of the need to spend money wisely. With the majority of their income through donations, they are accountable to those individuals and companies kind enough to support them.

Their main building, which accommodates the offices, meeting spaces and childcare centre, was constructed only 12 years ago and fitted with an energy-efficient air source heat pump for heating and hot water, with LED lighting throughout. They were aware that little could be done to improve the energy efficiency of the building itself, however, there was a tremendous opportunity for the consideration of on-site electricity generation. With no fossil fuel provision, all HVAC is electrically powered, making Solar PV the ideal route to reducing their reliance on grid electricity.

They approached Keith Richardson, Managing Director of the Zero Carbon Consultancy, who is an accredited Non-Domestic Energy Assessor and DEC Assessor based in Yarm, to review the building's energy efficiency and make any recommendations for improvements. After completing a thorough site survey, he recreated the building using the latest 3D energy modelling software, and after inputting the existing construction, HVAC systems and lighting, the baseline energy rating was a very respectable A22.

Keith put forward a proposal to introduce 33kW of solar energy generation with battery storage back-up, which indicated that 55 per cent of the annual electricity usage could be generated on-site, potentially saving in the region of £36,000 per year with a payback period of under 2 years. With no fossil fuel systems on site, the CO2 emissions reduction in Zero Carbon Consultancy's case was minimal, however the opportunity for reducing their annual energy spend was significant.

The Zero Carbon Consultancy was set up in 2023 as a separate division of Retrofit Coordination Services, to provide energy efficiency advice and guidance to the commercial sector, helping business owners and managers to reduce energy consumption, energy spend and CO2 emissions, as part of the UK government's wider commitment to educing CO2 emissions to Net Zero by 2050.

Find out more about Retrofit Coordination Services at the Retrofit Coordination Services website.