Understanding how much energy you use and when and where you use it, is the first step to save money and cut down your carbon emissions.
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Faulty meter readings, unmonitored energy usage and inaccurate billing can waste money and energy. So, make sure to record and understand your consumption.
Correlate each bill to a meter to ensure you are being charged for the right meters.
The longer you monitor, the more useful this information will become, so you can start comparing year on year performance. Use the energy usage tracking spreadsheet to get started.
Pass meter readings to your energy supplier to ensure they base your bills on actual readings, not estimates.
Energy consumption can vary depending on factors such as:
Track the most appropriate variables alongside your energy consumption. This way, you'll spot any significant changes.
Even if usage remains relatively constant, it is useful to continue tracking. People can randomly waste energy due to poor control, unexpected equipment faults, or human error. But you can amend these quickly and cheaply.
Share results of monitoring with staff to keep them engaged in energy saving efforts.
Monitoring gives you a better understanding of your energy usage. This will help you map the success of your energy saving measures, and any unusual changes in your energy consumption.
Good for small businesses. This wireless energy monitor shows you how much electricity you’re using, and which appliances, gadgets and lights use the most. Raised awareness will allow you to change your behaviour and thus save money and energy.
Good for larger businesses. Automatic (half hourly) meter readings are a cost-effective way to collect energy data and ensure accurate billing. Check with your energy supplier for further information.
These are useful for businesses with distinct areas of energy consumption (e.g. kitchens, bedroom, public areas). Submeters measure selected areas to help you identify where you can make energy savings.
Monitoring it regularly will help you manage usage, cost, and identify leaks quickly.
An energy audit is a systematic review of how your business uses energy. You can do it yourself or you could hire a consultant, which is especially useful for larger businesses.
Start by doing a physical inspection of your building(s) and equipment. Identify what uses energy (e.g. heating, lighting, refrigeration) and what controls them (e.g. thermostats, timers, switches). This can help identify waste and opportunities for savings.
Do regular walk-rounds of your business during different seasons and at different times of day. This includes out-of-hours to identify differing energy usage patterns.
You should also encourage staff to report potential issues. Think of faulty lamps, overheated areas, dripping taps, doors and windows that don’t close properly, or unnecessarily lit areas.
All this information can build a picture of when and where energy is being used, but by itself this won’t save you energy or money. It is important for you to use the data and act upon it.
Collect data to track consumption patterns. You might also find it useful to measure your carbon footprint.
Looking to invest in renewable technology? Knowing how much energy you use will help you choose the most appropriate technology for your business.
Investigate anomalies and set achievable targets for energy reduction. This includes what might be causing unusually high energy consumption overnight.
These are equipment that's consuming energy when it is not needed, such as:
Investigate how you could control their energy consumption through timers and sensors.
Use minimum external lighting at night for security, safety, and lighting efficiency.
Refrigeration uses significant energy. Any cooling equipment that is low on refrigerant gas will quickly double the amount of electricity it uses.
Ensure you regularly check your boilers, refrigeration, extract ventilation and grease traps. Clean and well-maintained equipment operates efficiently and lasts longer. A simple maintenance schedule will save on energy and costs.
If you have staff, get them involved. Explain the purpose of energy monitoring and share the results with them on a regular basis. Show them how their actions are making a difference and celebrate / reward successes and targets reached.
Monitoring and managing your energy is an extensive topic and there is a wide range of additional information available to guide and support your efforts.