Start measuring what you use

Do you know how much energy your business uses on a daily or weekly basis? Recent figures from British Gas show that businesses are wasting £1 in every £2 on electricity after staff have left for the day.

The energy supplier has taken data from over 6,000 smart meter readings demonstrating that nearly half of business electricity use takes place between 6pm and 8am. Some businesses light their car parks at the weekend, while many shops keep display lights on 24/7.

Understanding how much energy is being used is the first step to making changes – some businesses choose to manually regularly check their meters, while others take the easier smart meter option, which constantly monitors energy usage. Many businesses who’ve done just this have found how much they’re needlessly spending and introduced simple measures to curb this expenditure.

Collating data on energy use and materials consumption is essential to establish a picture of how much your business is spending and what the money is being spent on. Once you find out this information there are many low-cost or no cost measures that can be introduced to generate real savings, it doesn’t cost mega-bucks to find a long-term solution.

One place I like to start is identifying how much  paper and ink cartridges are used in a business through its printers, photocopiers and fax machines. Invariably it’s far too much but simple measures, such as setting default options to print double-sided, black and white only and engaging with staff on the necessity to print in the first place can make a huge difference.

Outputs are measured in other parts of the business but why not across the board? Doing so will result in greater management across the whole company, not just in the sales department.

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