Business Support Service from:
Birmingham City University Logo

How to combat rising business energy prices

Over 50 percent of SMEs are not taking steps to monitor their energy efficiency, despite the dramatic rise in business energy prices. Beverley Nielsen, Associate Professor at Birmingham City University (BCU), provides some expert insight and vital links to support.
Energy efficiency is becoming a key concern for businesses across the region.

LIFE STAGE:

TAGS:

How to combat rising business energy prices

Over 50 percent of SMEs are not taking steps to monitor their energy efficiency, despite the dramatic rise in business energy prices. Beverley Nielsen, Associate Professor at Birmingham City University (BCU), provides some expert insight and vital links to support.
Energy efficiency is becoming a key concern for businesses across the region.

Business energy prices continue to rise

High energy prices are having a dramatic impact on business costs, with nearly two-thirds of companies spending between 5-20 percent of their total expenditure on energy.

Businesses say it’s now worse for them than during the Covid-19 pandemic. A survey from the Federation of Small Businesses reveals that gas and electricity prices have increased 424 and 349 percent, respectively, since February 2021.

Despite this, nPower’s new survey tells us that over 50 percent of SMEs are not taking steps to monitor their energy efficiency.

Furthermore, as many as 18 percent are unable to say whether or not they have reduced their energy usage over the past year.

During these tumultuous times, smaller companies are shopping around for alternative and green energy suppliers to help combat these high business energy prices.

They are also looking to adopt sustainable business models where they can, with staff cycling to work and others monitoring their heating and lighting. However, more can be done.

Help for business energy bills

There is support out there. Compare the Market, for example, have built a very robust business energy supplier comparison website.

An energy saving tool that can be used is Utility Bidder’s calculator, which helps to understand where energy savings can be made through some simple changes.

There are also eight easy steps, outlined by the Confederation of British Industry, that I would advise any business to take:

  • Adopt and implement energy efficiency measures
  • Educate employees on the importance of energy efficiency
  • Review the structure and timing of energy contracting strategies
  • Explore demand management options
  • Make the most of your data
  • Think about your physical space
  • Build an energy resilient business fit for the future
  • Make use of government support to manage costs

There is further help for business energy bills to be found. An SME guide to energy efficiency, produced by the Government, uses various real-life business case studies that provide useful reference material.

Simple things like leaving on the heating and turning up the thermostat make a real difference. Heating costs increase by around 8 percent for every 10C increase – turning it down just two degrees would save almost 15 percent on heating bills.

Practical examples to combat business energy prices

The Government has outlined some great examples of businesses slashing their energy costs.

Something as simple as switching off all office computers at the end of the day, as well as on weekends, saved an engineering firm nearly £600 and three and a half tonnes of CO2e a year.

The Chinese Contemporary Arts Centre in Manchester, meanwhile, installed a £100 timer to its existing heating system. This saved them a huge £4,363 and 17.6 tonnes of CO2e a year.

By adding occupancy sensors to its store area and toilets, an electronic components manufacturer saved £813 and five tonnes of CO2e a year. Their initial £225 investment paid for itself in just three months.

Upgrading old spotlights with more efficient LEDs in communal areas saved a medium-sized hotel £1,533 and ten tonnes of CO2e in a year.

The energy saving measure paid for itself in just under a year. Plus, due to the longer life of LEDs, it requires less maintenance than their previous lighting.

By installing inverter drives on its six production lines, a textile bobbin manufacturer is saving £6,570 and 36 tonnes of CO2e a year. The newly installed equipment will pay for itself in just four months.

There are always creative ways to reduce those bills, no matter what sector you operate in.

Hands-on, expert support is out there

With half of the UK’s businesses overspending, Energy Gain have put together a comprehensive energy audit. Using this can help you:

  • Analyse energy spend
  • Analyse power usage trends
  • Provide analysis for suppliers, lighting, heating and cooling, and employee comfort

EDF have also compiled eight tips to help you cut your business energy prices by 10 percent.

If you’re looking for academic expertise, a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) from BCU could make a huge difference.

A KTP matches a business with an experienced BCU academic to solve a particular business challenge. These long-term projects provide tailored support, a full-time KTP associate to assist with delivery and access to BCU’s cutting-edge facilities.

SHARE THIS POST

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

start-iconCreated with Sketch.
grow-iconCreated with Sketch.
innovate-iconCreated with Sketch.
MORE TO EXPLORE:
Making it easier to support your business

Join 1600+ monthly newsletter subscribers to receive the latest business support blogs, events, funding opportunities and more…