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Energy regulations may be mandatory, but that’s not to say they should be viewed only as a stick – there’s a carrot for the taking, too.

Brendon Airey, Energy Manager at Cloudfm, explains how businesses can exploit the cost-cutting opportunities to be had, rather than merely view compliance as a way of avoiding a ‘green tax’.

Compliance certainly isn’t the first area of business you’d associate with growth and profitability, but to ignore the potential it offers in terms of money saving is definitely missing a trick. Admittedly, ESOS, Part L and the EU directive on energy labelling for lighting might cynically be viewed as a way to wring yet more money out of UK business – a ‘green tax’ if you will – and it could be considered that they’re more a way of paying lip service to the UK’s carbon reduction commitment than actually engendering a positive attitude. However, flip your perspective and the picture becomes a lot more positive.

The energy efficiency measures required for compliance can often pay for themselves fairly quickly, and after the payback period the savings build up, which can then either be used to fund further energy saving measures, or be redirected to another part of the business requiring investment. Indeed, it can even be worth considering projects that go over and above basic compliance requirements if they offer an opportunity to make further significant savings, to have an even more positive effect on the business’s bottom line.

EXPERT ADVICE An important first step in the process

is to engage a consultant with the knowledge and experience to tailor all their recommendations to your operation’s needs – industry- specific expertise is important, on top of solid technical credentials. This will make sure all suggested


energy saving measures will be business appropriate, compliant, and are presented in a way that is business-relevant – always an important consideration when there are decisions about expenditure to be made at board level.

“Consider a better

lighting control system; another 60% can be squeezed out of the

energy consumption that way.”

Since many companies find themselves on ‘rollover’ contracts once their fixed rate has ended – and are therefore paying higher tariffs than necessary – negotiating a new deal with their energy provider is often the best first step, as it can save significant amounts of money (and it’s often just a case of asking the supplier to transition the business to a better-value tariff). This may not be a compliance issue, but given falling wholesale energy prices it makes sense to begin an energy efficiency drive with the lowest hanging fruit, and use the resulting savings to fund further projects (whether for compliance, or to raise efficiency levels even further), starting with the options that deliver the biggest bang for their buck.

In fact, only a relatively small initial capital expenditure is required, provided this sort of savvy approach is taken and the energy-efficiency

roll-out is well planned. By focusing on the most inefficient areas first, and using the saved funds to pay for the next step in the programme, you will eventually reach a point where the whole estate has been upgraded and runs at optimum efficiency, at minimum monthly cost. Of course, after this point, the reduction in OpEx will still continue to be of benefit, as the savings can be reinvested in other parts of the business, perhaps even to fund growth.

LOW HANGING FRUIT In terms of energy efficiency projects,

LED lighting is a good place to start, and could be split into two (or more) phases, depending on the particular circumstances found across the estate and the amount of OpEx savings generated by the tariff renegotiation. The key to success is to tackle the most inefficient areas first, then measure the savings made by doing the initial tranche of works – taking into account the amount spent on lamps and maintenance, as well as the energy bill saving – and use this to guide the budget for each subsequent phase of upgrades.

Once light fittings have been upgraded (or maybe at the same time as these works are being carried out), consider a better lighting control system, since up to another 60% can be squeezed out of the energy consumption that way. HVAC systems should also come under scrutiny. Could the boiler be renewed with a more efficient model? If you don’t already employ a best-practice maintenance

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