To determine whether the devices and equipment your business uses are energy efficient, you’ll need to use a formula to calculate efficiency. It’s really simple and will allow you to identify the proportion of useful energy consumed in relation to the total energy supplied for the device to function.
The only figures you’ll need to get started are an Energy Output and an Energy Input
Take your Energy Output and divide it by your Energy Input. Then multiply it by 100 to get the total as a percentage.
You have a typical filament bulb that requires 100 joules (J) of energy to function. That’s its energy input .
The bulb only has an energy output of 10 J – the light energy. The remainder of the energy is wasted as heat energy.
You’d then do the sum 10 (energy output) ÷ 100 (energy input) to get 0.10, then multiply this by 100 to get a percentage – 10%, this would be your energy efficiency rate.
It’s worth noting that some of the ‘wasted energy’ could be harnessed as a by-product. However, if it can’t be captured, it’s not going to provide any benefit. An energy audit can help you identify these opportunities.
Energy efficiency and energy conservation are closely related. Both can help businesses and households reduce gas and electricity bills. However, there are big differences between them.
Energy efficiency generally relates to the technical performance of buildings, devices and equipment in relation to energy consumption. Energy conservation simply covers the measures taken to reduce the levels of energy consumption.
Lighting is a great way to illustrate the differences.
If, for example, your business replaces an old, inefficient fluorescent lighting system with new LED lights, the new lighting would still continue to perform the same function as your old system – effectively lighting the space. The big difference would be that it’d require less energy to perform this function – this is energy efficiency.
If, for example, you and your staff simply adjusted your behaviours to cut down on unnecessary energy consumption by switching said lights off when you weren’t occupying a particular space, this would be energy conservation.
Conservation-based business energy savings can be made by monitoring and controlling the use of heating, ventilation and air conducting (HVAC) systems, encouraging staff to switch off equipment when it’s not needed or by generally encouraging sustainability within the business.
It’s largely a process of educating and gently reminding staff to be conscious of energy waste through training, signage or by appointing someone to champion and push energy conservation within the business.
When it comes to creating your business energy efficiency plan, there are lots of different approaches you can take. Many of them will depend on the type of organisation you run, as well as its size and sector. However, we’ve picked out just four of the most common ones that could help your company cut its electricity and gas bills, as well as its carbon footprint, back.
1. Install LEDs and motion sensor lighting – Did you know that, according to the Carbon Trust, 25% of a business’s electricity usage, on average, goes towards lighting? You can replace traditional halogen bulbs and fluorescent tube lighting, which are already being phased out in the UK, with LED bulbs. They use around 80% less energy to produce the same amount of light.
You could also build on this by implementing motion sensor systems throughout your workplace. These systems are extremely effective in ensuring lighting is only switched in occupied spaces, to reduce the amount of electricity wastage.
2. Install energy efficient equipment – Technology moves fast. You’d be surprised at just how outdated equipment and devices can become when it comes to energy efficiency – from PCs and printers in offices to conveyor belts and manufacturing machinery down on the factory floor.
If your equipment is more than five years old, it’s likely there’s a more energy-efficient model now available. Just be sure to check the energy efficiency rating when upgrading old electronics – look for ‘A’ or above.
3. Install a smart thermostat – With a smart thermostat, you’ll have programmable control over your HVAC systems – a way to reduce energy wastage at your fingertips. The system effectively allows you to monitor the temperature within your premises, and change it when the conditions warrant it.
Some smart thermostats can identify faults within your HVAC system too – reducing any operational inefficiencies caused by faulty infrastructure.
4. Install an energy management system (EMS) – EMS can have a revolutionary impact – they highlight the areas of your business or specific pieces of equipment that are wasting energy.
EMS come in a variety of forms, but even the most basic systems can automatically send energy consumption data to a central computer, or app, flag anything unusual and diagnose problems instantly. This makes business energy efficiency much easier to achieve.