It’s essential for businesses to prepare for the winter, not just in terms of inventory and staffing but also when it comes to energy.
In this blog post, we explore the importance of businesses being fully prepared for winter with energy usage in mind. We'll provide insights and advice for decision-makers to help you preserve costs and energy through winter by implementing energy-efficient actions.
Energy Loss in Winter
With increased energy consumption and the potential for large energy losses, winter can be a harsh time for companies. This period between November and February is referred to as the triad period. During this period, electricity users are advised to reduce their consumption because energy costs peak during this time.
Let’s take a look at where your company could be losing energy:
Inefficient Building Envelopes: Approximately 25% of the heat in a building is lost through doors and windows, according to the Department of Energy. Poorly sealed windows and doors can allow warm air to escape, driving up heating costs.
Poor Insulation: Although it would seem obvious, many buildings suffer from insufficient insulation in walls and roofs leading to wasted energy through heat escaping. By investing in proper insulation installation, businesses can reduce energy costs.
Neglected Heating Systems: Heating systems, such as radiators or heaters that haven't been serviced can become less efficient and therefore require more energy to work at their full capacity. Ensuring that these systems are well-maintained could save money in the long term.
Unmaintained Machinery: Similarly to heating systems, unmaintained machinery can lead to it not working at full capacity, particularly in the colder months. Keeping machinery well-maintained will help to bring down energy costs over the winter months.
Heating Empty Spaces: In large buildings, it is incredibly important to make sure that empty spaces aren’t being heated. By zoning your heating or otherwise controlling it, you can ensure that energy wastage is kept to a minimum. You should think about heating people in a space, as opposed to the space itself.
Lost Heat from Open Doors/Windows: It’s not just unintended gaps in doors and windows that can lead to wasted energy. Employees or customers leaving doors and windows open can cause significant heat loss. With proper training and signage for staff and visitors, this can be minimised.
How Businesses Can Prepare for Winter
Now that we've identified the sources of energy loss, here are some practical steps you can take to prepare for the winter months:
Check Building Insulation and Windows: By inspecting insulation and windows, you can identify areas for improvement such as noticing a significant breeze from a window, or single-glazed windows in an older part of the building. Investing in energy-efficient windows and doors can provide long-term benefits such as a more comfortable environment for employees, but also lower costs throughout winter.
Adjust Lighting and Heating: Using timers to align with your working schedule can be a great way to keep your building heated only when it’s needed. Sensors for lights can also help to bring down energy costs by making your energy usage zonal.
Energy Saving Audit: Conduct an energy audit before winter begins to identify areas where you can save energy. An energy audit will help you pinpoint specific areas that need improvement.
Service Machinery, Boilers, and Pipes: Ensure all machinery, boilers, and pipes are adequately serviced before winter to maintain efficiency and prevent unexpected breakdowns. Most boiler suppliers recommend servicing be conducted at least once a year.
Invest in Smart Heating: Smart heating systems allow for precise control of temperature and heating schedules. You can avoid overheating, heating empty spaces, and unnecessary heating after office hours.
Encourage Hybrid Working: If your business implements a hybrid working policy, you can further reduce energy usage, and boost team morale by encouraging the team to be in the office on the same days, such as Tuesday and Wednesday, each week. Not only does this encourage collaboration but can also play a role in managing energy consumption.
Prepare for Closure or Peak Times Over Christmas: Plan for holiday closures and any peak periods during the Christmas period. Adjust your energy consumption accordingly to avoid wasting energy during these times.
By taking these steps, your business can not only reduce its energy costs but also contribute to a more sustainable future by conserving energy resources.
Winter presents unique challenges for businesses when it comes to energy efficiency. However, with careful planning and the implementation of energy-saving measures, companies can stay warm and productive while reducing energy consumption and costs. Preparing for winter isn't just a matter of staying cosy; it's also about making sound energy decisions that benefit both the bottom line and the environment.
SEFE Energy is one of the UK’s leading business energy suppliers, helping thousands of businesses manage their gas and electricity contracts. To find out more about what we can offer your business, visit the homepage or request a quote today here.