Business Energy Audit

Commercial Energy Audits Explained

All businesses, no matter what size they are, make use of energy. Unfortunately, not every company uses gas and electricity in the most efficient way. You may have already switched to the best business energy tariff, but you’re still likely losing money through inefficiency.

One of the smartest ways to improve your efficiency is to conduct a business energy audit. In this guide we will explain how to conduct an energy audit as well as explaining the processes involved.

What is a business energy audit?

A business energy audit is a routine assessment that helps you understand your current energy needs as well as how energy efficient your business is. The audit looks at your building structure and the equipment you use on a daily basis along with monitoring how energy is used by your employees. Upon completion, you will be able to identify key areas that you should target to reduce your costs.

Why should my business carry out an energy audit?

Most business owners and managers already have a large number of day to day challenges to contend with, and will often assume that an energy audit isn’t worth the time and hassle, as they believe it will take too long to complete. However, in reality, this is far from the truth.

Even a basic audit can provide you with a clear overview about your firm’s current energy usage, along with giving you vital insights into what areas are having a significant impact on your finances. You’ll be able to create a plan of action to address each individual area one after the other.

The audit will help you identify which areas of the business are wasting excess energy. A comprehensive audit should look at the premises’ interior, exterior, fixtures and equipment.

Developing a sustainable business model can set you apart from your competitors too, giving you a distinct social responsibility advantage. This can be leveraged to show your potential customers what you’re doing to improve the local community and environment. Many customers take a keen interest in companies that take the necessary steps to become carbon neutral, as the UK has set a target to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Being environmentally conscious demonstrates to customers that you are serious about climate change.

For larger businesses that have more than 250 employees, energy audits are a legal requirement. It can still be extremely rewarding to carry out a business energy audit for SMEs, although they are not legally required to do so.

Furthermore, you don’t need to pool together large sums of money to make changes either, as energy efficiency improvement measures can be relatively inexpensive. Something as simple as switching your light bulb to an LED model will help you cut down on your electricity usage.

Types of business energy audits

A business energy audit can be carried out by your current supplier, a third-party company, or even your own staff. You can choose between a private on-site audit or a consultation over the phone. Here are some examples of different types of business energy audits:

  • On-site business energy audit
  • Over the phone audit
  • DIY energy audit

What happens in a business energy assessment?

The business energy assessment usually covers the following three steps:

  • Assessing your current usage
  • Planning improvements and calculating costs
  • Implementing the findings

You will need to get any planned improvements signed off by a senior manager. We also highly recommend that you communicate all changes to your employees, allowing them to be involved in reducing the company’s overall carbon footprint.

How to conduct a business energy audit

Conducting a simple business energy audit can have a major impact on how your company utilises energy, allowing you to remove old inefficient habits.

The process

If you want to carry out your own audit, the first thing you need to do is to understand your current energy usage. This helps you find out how much energy each activity or business area consumes. You can quickly identify inefficient areas across different departments or buildings. Additionally, your current commercial energy provider should be able to offer assistance.

Walking around the site in a systematic way can aid you in finding various energy saving opportunities. The more in-depth your audit is, the more likely you will gain maximum benefit. Having a checklist allows you to prioritise which area can save you the most on business electricity and gas. You will soon find out that some areas will necessitate a long-term solution, while others will only require a small handful of changes that are inexpensive to implement. Furthermore, you can always address areas that aren’t high on the priority list at a later date.

You should now have all the necessary information from the business energy audit. Next, you will need to take action. Start by estimating the potential savings along with how much it will cost you to improve an inefficient area. Lower cost projects such as installing LED light bulbs can have an immediate impact, while those that require a greater investment such as solar panels will need to be evaluated at the managerial level. If you need to put forward a business case, it should include the following elements:

  • Rationale for the project
  • Identify the right solution
  • Project plan and timeframe
  • Financial cost breakdown
  • Cost-benefit analysis

Creating the business case may seem like it’s time consuming, however you can actually make a number of small changes straight away. Here are a few easy actionable points:

  • Replace old lights with modern energy efficient LED bulbs
  • Shut down all computers and electronics when they are not in use
  • Make use of natural light as much as possible
  • Print less paper and recycle more
  • Install a smart thermostat
  • Install smart sensors that automatically dim or turn off the lights in areas that aren’t in regular use

In conclusion, you should now have a better understanding on what a business energy audit is, why your company should conduct one and how to do this yourself. This is one of the easiest ways to understand your gas and electricity usage. Not only will you save money on your business energy bills, you will also help the UK and the wider world move towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.