Energy use is a huge topic in the UK, from the concerns of the depletion of non-renewable fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas), options for renewable energy sources, and the arguments surrounding “fracking”. Another concern of using fossil fuels are the emissions produced from burning these fuels which contribute to climate change and air pollution.
Whilst we may feel we have little control over which renewable energy options the UK chooses to proceed with, individuals and organisations can make reductions on their energy usage, mostly with little cost and always with financial benefit as their energy bills are reduced.
Start your energy efficiency programme with energy usage data so you can compare the differences you are making, and consider installing smart meters that display real time electricity usage to understand which appliances and equipment use the most energy.
Begin with changes that are easy and free.
- Turn off the lights! An age-old term but try working out how much you would save by turning off the lights in your workplace for one hour every lunch time 5 days a week, 52 weeks of the year.
- Other savings with lighting include replacing light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives and having the systems split so only turning on the lighting for the part of the office being used.
- Heating and air-conditioning: Encourage staff to adjust their clothing attire before adjusting the heating control! 21 0C is generally a comfortable working temperature, also ensure doors are kept closed to keep in the heated/cooled air.
- Ensure all heating is turned off at night, if you have individual heaters in different rooms a great way to check at the end of the day is to look at your energy smart meter to confirm the energy use is at the lowest level.
- Other initiatives can include fitting thermostats to individual radiators so heating can be turned off in rooms not in use and ensuring all walls, ceilings and windows have adequate insulation to prevent heat loss.
- Make sure all building management systems have regular service, maintenance and repair schemes in place to ensure the system is working at its most efficient.
- Appliances—when purchasing new appliances and equipment, opt for the most energy efficient on the market. Energy efficiency rating labels are being introduced to a wide range of appliances, the price is not always increased for a more efficient product but even when there is a difference in cost you are more than likely to save that sum plus more through reduced energy usage.
- Don’t forget any vehicle fuel use—there are many options to reduce these fuel costs.
By becoming an energy efficient organisation you can save money by reducing fuel bills, reduce your emissions thus reducing air pollution and climate change, promote yourselves as “eco-friendly” and meet legal requirements;
ESOS—Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme: This requires all large undertakings to register with the Environment Agency, assess and reduce their energy use
Formal management systems to support your organisation:
ISO 50001 is an energy specific management system.
ISO 14001 2015 – Environmental Management Systems, the world’s first international environmental standard has been helping thousands of organizations to improve their environmental, sustainability and operational performance since it was first published as BS 7750 in 1992.
To ensure that ISO 14001 continues to serve organizations and maintain its relevance in today’s market place, the standard is being revised. The revision will not only address the change in environmental practices, but also ensure that the management system is future proof.
Companies, organizations and society have a global responsibility to grow without compromising resources for future generations. ISO 14001 was originally written with the environment in mind and that remains the priority for ISO 14001:2015.
The draft but not full standard can now be purchased from the BSI so if you want to see the structure of the new standard but as at this moment in time it is yet to be fully ratified by all the international ISO committees.