Energy is one of the largest controllable overheads across the commercial property and there are many opportunities to make savings. Reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions not only helps companies achieve targets but also improves working conditions and can increase staff productivity. As most companies have a focus on profits, money saved through energy efficiency can make a useful contribution to improving facilities elsewhere. Furthermore, the environment will benefit from reductions in carbon emissions and energy use which can enhance the image of the company which is more important today with the evermore discerning customer.
In a typical sports centre, energy costs are second only to labour costs, accounting for as much as 30% of total running costs. Just by making a 10% improvement in the management of energy use,UK leisure facilities could save up to £70M each year and reduce carbon emissions by hundreds of thousands of tonnes.
Swimming pools are the major energy consumer in this sector, specifically the processes for heating the pool water andventilating the pool hall. For ‘dry’ centres (centres with no pool), space heating will be the largest energy user.
Controlling temperature is difficult in many types of building. Some signs of poor control include heating being on when the building is unoccupied, because timers are not set correctly, heating being on too high or not high enough, because the thermostat is located where sunlight, radiators or office equipment affect the reading.
The energy consumption of local authorities is estimated to be at least 26 billion kWh per year. This results in annual CO2 emissions of more than 6.9 Mt and corresponds to energy expenditure in the order of £750 million per year.
Energy is one of the largest controllable overheads in many local authority buildings so there are many opportunities to make savings.
Reducing energy consumption not only saves money but improves working conditions which can increase staff productivity. Furthermore, the environment benefits from reductions in carbon emissions and energy use which can enhance organisational image and improve public relations.
Local authorities have a huge sphere of influence and a duty to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of their community. As permanent bodies that plan for the long term, they are uniquely placed to play a significant part in achieving the national goal of developing a low-carbon economy.
There are three areas to focus on for reducing energy in local government organisations.
UK schools could reduce energy costs by around £44 million per year which would prevent 625,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
Improving energy efficiency in schools does not mean compromising the comfort of staff and students. In many cases, implementing some simple energy saving measures actually improves conditions, as well as saving money.
Both upper and lower schools are pushed to make the most of their resources, while providing a solid education for students. Being energy efficient saves money, so is an excellent way to release funds for curricular resources or facilities.
In addition to economic benefits, there are social and environmental advantages to reducing energy consumption, such as preserving fossil fuels and minimising impact on the environment. This is increasingly important to the reputation of schools, as students, teachers and parents become increasingly aware of climate change.
Moreover, actions taken to become energy efficient provide an excellent opportunity for practical learning and real-life application for students. Many energy saving actions can be undertaken or monitored by students, while the science behind it might be a great opportunity for targeted classes.
Within the hospitality sector, energy costs may only be a small percentage of turnover, but reducing them can directly increase revenue without the need to increase sales. Money saved on energy goes straight to the bottom line which makes businesses more competitive – and with rising energy prices, this is more important than ever. The implementation of simple energy efficiency measures can also increase levels of staff and customer comfort as well as improving general morale.
In addition to financial and customer service benefits, there are of course, social and environmental advantages to reducing energy consumption, such as minimising climate change. Increasing awareness about these issues has seen customers and guests becoming more discerning about the environmental credentials of the businesses they deal with. Being energy efficient can enhance business’s reputation and help to attract more customers.
The hospitality sector is diverse, comprising hotels, motels, care homes, guest houses, pubs, bars restaurants and other catering establishments. Despite the diversity, there are several common areas where energy is wasted, heating can account up to 60% of total energy costs.