14 August 2023
The last two years have been spent navigating an energy crisis that has pushed up prices, put a strain on businesses, and slowed the progress to net zero. Instead, in an effort to reduce costs, the focus for many was solely on how to manage energy more effectively. But with energy prices now starting to fall and pressure on businesses easing ever so slightly, it’s time to refocus on your wider energy strategy and move towards business energy efficiency.
With that in mind, one important area that must be addressed is energy efficiency. Not least because making your business as energy efficient as possible has two main benefits: it helps to reduce your energy bills, and it helps to reduce your carbon emissions, making your organisation more sustainable.
You might not have the money to fund new energy efficiency measures, like insulation or window replacements, right now. However, there are still some low-cost steps you can take to reprioritise business energy efficiency…
Using energy more efficiently across your business starts when you measure it. Because if you know how your business is currently using energy, you can better manage it. You’ll also know that you’re making the right energy buying decisions. With that in mind, the first step is to make sure your energy supplier is giving you access to the data you need.
The good news is that following a review by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the smart meter data offer has improved for businesses of every size.
At British Gas Business, and in anticipation of the new legislation, we launched Energy360 DataView ahead of the new BEIS mandate. Using this platform, you can understand your business energy usage and have better control over your energy consumption. Having access to the right data can also help your organisation identify, track and refine progress over time, giving you greater visibility and predictability.
1. Review your goals and refocus your attention
Even if the energy crisis hadn’t stalled your long-term decarbonisation strategy, it’s a good idea to take stock every so often to make sure you’re still on track and that your strategy still meets your needs. Many businesses are still recovering from the pandemic, having changed operations and shifted priorities to make ends meet. It means a plan that was developed a few years ago might not be right today. It’s another reason why now is the perfect opportunity to restate your goals, assess your progress, and define a new path to achieving them.
For example, is the strategy’s policy and delivery all in alignment? Is it still fit for purpose when you consider the pressures of the year ahead? Being clear on your strategy and how you’re going to deliver it will help you to make the right buying decisions about future energy efficiency measures.
2. Empower your energy managers
Creating an energy-efficient culture at your organisation starts at the top. Then with a clear strategy in place, it’s important that energy managers have as much support as possible to drive it forward and meet ever-increasing climate change legislation and ambitious corporate goals.
For example, do they have the resources and capabilities they need to manage the current volatility, while staying focused on the long-term net zero strategy? Are they in the room when key decisions are being made that will affect energy consumption and sustainability? And have they got a holistic view of the organisation’s energy needs? Addressing these issues sooner rather than later is vital if you want to set the organisation up for success in the future. Likewise, identifying any skills gaps can help you make informed decisions about seeking external partners who can provide the right support.
3. Get back in front of the regulatory agenda
When it comes to aligning your goals with energy legislation and meeting your requirements, taking a proactive approach where possible will put your organisation in a strong position as regulatory deadlines march ever closer. Of course, further interventions from policymakers may require a more immediate response (as they did for the Energy Bills Discount Scheme). However, it’s still important to identify the longer-term targets around energy efficiency that apply to your organisation and act before you have to.
4. Make energy efficiency matter in your business
Whether it’s long-term sustainability, net zero, corporate responsibility or simply lowering bills and saving money – the benefits to becoming more energy efficient are as far-reaching as they are varied. And even if your business isn’t in a financial position to invest in new efficiency measures right now and you think there’s nothing you can do, there are options still available to you.
The steps above can help you reprioritise business energy efficiency and understanding where your organisation is right now is just as important as moving forward. By starting small and building on a strong foundation with your organisation’s energy data and insight, you’ll make sure you’re in a prime position in the years to come when you’re ready to make financial investments.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within the British Gas Business Blog are those of the author alone and do not represent those of British Gas. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this blog are not guaranteed. British Gas accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright in the content within the British Gas Business Blog belongs to the authors of such content and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. See the Fuel mix used to generate our electricity. Read about making a complaint about your business energy.