Reduce Energy in Business

The price of energy is increasing towards its true value; for too long we have been using unsustainably cheap fossil fuel energy, cheap because all we had to do was dig it up and refine it. The new true cost will force the end or restriction of many practices (habits) and associated businesses. There will be other businesses that simply become unviable with the added costs. We need to start to better understand and appreciate our energy needs, use and how that relates to the national and global production and demand for energy. 

Understand your business energy needs, no excuses, quantify it, when you need it, its purpose (machine A, process B, heating, lighting...) it and what type of energy it is, gas, liquid, electric, vehicle fuel. Know how is it delivered, stored, bought. You cannot run a business without understanding your product, you cannot run a business without understanding energy, those days are gone.  If you don't know where your energy is going, find out.

Communicate with staff the seriousness of the energy situation, educate them, inform them and get their cooperation, spend at least 30 minutes a week on this, set targets, measure, track and feedback the progress.

Develop an energy policy with timed targets to reduce, not just the cost but the actual amount of energy needed and used.

If your energy needs are mostly electricity, consider moving to nightshift only, radical! If your business allows, consider nighttime working only, speak to your power company and negotiate the lowest electricity tariffs for night working. Speak to customers, suppliers and work this through regarding deliveries, dispatches and other interactions with the outside world. You may be able to or want to keeps some admin and sales staff working the normal office hours.

If you have high heating costs, turn the temperature down to the legal minimum and (and) issue thermal clothing to your staff.  Ban individual heaters (used to supplement installed heating) Reduce the number of offices; aggregate staff into the same spaces as much as possible. In shared spaces, move desks and work spaces closer together and partition off unused areas.

Insulate internal spaces, we want the staffed areas to be as comfortable as possible, this means reducing energy losses to other areas that don't need it or the outside world. Close doors, put sprung auto closers on doors.

Appoint a qualified and competent Energy Manager, with unquestionable authority to turn stuff off and on, to set temperatures & lighting levels to remove equipment, to question the use or powering of idle equipment. Conduct regular audits, track progress and training.

The energy challenge is difficult, the sooner we come to terms with this new reality the better. For the next few years the driving force for this problem will be inflation and wars, thereafter it will be climate change and the road to zero carbon, the sooner we learn to ride this bike the better.

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