The countdown to Christmas is on.
With only a few weeks left in the year, you may be starting to wind down and although you might want to wait until the new year to kick off any new projects, there are a few areas where you can make energy savings in the run up to the festive break. With the cost of energy bills impacting many organisations, it is a good idea to deep dive into a few key areas of your energy use to help cut the cost of your bills and set the New Year off on the right foot. So, where to start?
Prepare to make the most of the festive shutdown
Whether your organisation has a full Christmas shutdown or just a few days where the premises aren’t open, it is a good opportunity to let these non-working days do some energy management work.
This is an ideal time to measure the baseload energy usage in your buildings when they are not open, or no one is there, allowing you to gain energy insights you may not normally have. Here’s how:
- If your building(s) has half hourly monitoring of gas and electricity, then do nothing! For now. Set a reminder for when you return to work to review this data and look at the profile of energy use.
- A good rule of thumb for an office building is that the baseload energy use should be around 10% of the peak use. If yours is significantly above this, it suggests that there is unnecessary energy usage during these downtime periods. Make a note to find out what is causing energy wastage in your operations when you return.
- If your building does not have automatic meter readings, then take a meter reading before you leave for the Christmas break. Set a reminder to take another as soon as you are back in the office.
- Averaging the energy used over the days that your office / building was closed means that you can compare this to the average during busy / normal periods.
Top tip – don’t just do this on gas and electricity use. If possible, take readings or monitor water use as well. It is a great opportunity to identify any possible leaks which you may not currently be aware of which can be caused or exacerbated by the cold weather.
Assess the key dates for your organisation
Make sure you haven’t missed any important energy dates, such as renewals for certificates and compliance. Now is also a great time to get your key dates on your calendar for the year ahead, leaving you to feel organised when you return in January.
If you are eligible for ESOS Phase 3, note we are currently in the compliance phase, with the deadline for submission 5 December 2023. A year’s worth of energy data is required for your audit, so now is the ideal time to start.
Is your organisation affected by the SECR framework? If so, start making preparations well in advance of the deadline.
Check your EPC is up to date, these can be valid for up to 10 years if no major renovations occur on the building. However, with changes coming into place from 1 April 2023, it will be illegal to rent out commercial buildings, even for existing tenants and leases, if the building is below an E rating.
How will you be affected by the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) changes? These reforms will come into place from 1 April 2023, meaning around 90% of an organisation’s charges will be based on their Triad consumption. You can help to get ahead of these changes and mitigate the costs by reviewing your Available Supply Capacity to make sure it is set in line with your Maximum Demand.
Are you up to date with your compliance requirements? Is your DEC still valid – if it expires at the beginning of the year, book a renewal. Don’t forget to check the validity of the Recommendation Report that accompanies the DEC – if this needs renewing too, you will need to book a survey. Are there any recommendations that could be implemented in the new year that would deliver significant improvements?
And if you do need to have a survey, is your Air Conditioning report in date? If this needs renewing, it could be done at the same time as the DEC Recommendations Report site survey saving you money on the compliance cost.
While you are at it, check when your boiler and heating system will need servicing, you can add it to your calendar as a reminder.
Top tip – to gain more understanding around the energy use and waste within your organisation’s buildings, book an Energy Audit and Survey to help you to optimise your energy and water to make significant cost savings.
Encourage your colleagues to get involved
Many hands make light work. Get your colleagues involved by asking them to help save energy. They can do this by:
- Switching off the lights – particularly non-essential lighting that doesn’t need to be on when no one is occupying an office or work area and meetings rooms.
- Turning down the thermostat – turning down the heating so it is just high enough to prevent frost can significantly cut fuel consumption.
- Shutting down non-essential equipment – turn off those vampire appliances! Monitors, computers, photocopiers, and printers all use power when on standby, so turn them off.
- Remember to unplug less obvious energy wasters in staff kitchens and breakout rooms, such as, empty fridges, chilled water machines, hot water containers, kettles, and microwaves.
Continue this into the new year
Putting these steps in as you leave for your Christmas break (if you are lucky enough to get some time off), can put you in a really good position for returning to the office. But why stop there? There are lots of great initiatives, big and small that you can put in place to reduce unnecessary energy wastage when you have returned. Taking steps to become more energy efficient can help to cut your business’ overhead costs, reduce overall consumption and in turn your carbon emissions.
If you would like advice on helping your business reduce its energy usage, our expert energy consultants offer a range of services to help you transform your organisation into an efficient one, call us on 01908 690018 or contact us today.