Save money by using energy more efficiently
How to monitor your energy use
You can't manage what you don't measure. So, to find out how much energy your business wastes and how much money you can save, you need to monitor your energy use.
Monitor your meters
Take regular meter readings and compare consumption to previous months. Remember:
- When comparing fuel used for heating your premises, consider how cold it's been. The colder the period, the more energy you will use.
- If you're comparing energy used in production, consider your output. The best way to do this is to record energy used per item produced. Or, in offices, by floor spaces or staff numbers.
Plotting these against each other will help you spot where you can make changes. Simple changes can often result in major savings. For example, you could identify equipment that's not used at weekends and make sure it's switched off on Friday evenings.
There are many types of advanced metering systems available. These can give you a detailed picture of energy use within your business - far beyond that offered by the basic meter provided by your energy supplier. These include:
- half hourly meters record how much energy is used every 30 minutes - useful for analysing energy-use patterns
- sub meters allow you to monitor specific areas or processes
- a plug-in meter can be 'sandwiched' between a power socket and the plug of the appliance to be monitored - these are cheap and handy for measuring small loads
- clamp on meters offer a non-invasive way of monitoring hot water flow - these are often used to identify large consumers of energy in large factories
Smart electricity and gas meters are being introduced which will help businesses and consumers cut their bills. Smart meters give live readings and comparisons which show you instantly how much energy you're using. This will mean you can tailor your consumption to take advantage of cheaper rates for off-peak usage. Readings are also automatically sent to the supplier - so bills will always be accurate.
It's expected that over the next ten years all businesses and homes will have a smart meter installed. With some suppliers already advertising these types of meter, there are opportunities to take advantage of this technology now.
Perform a walk-round survey
A good way to assess your business' energy use is to carry out a walk-round survey. This will help you spot equipment and processes that are inefficient.