Many businesses still not doing the basics on energy efficiency

12th April 2016

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Management/saving ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • General services ,
  • Manufacturing


Matthew Powell-Howard

The most common recommendations to improve energy efficiency are for technologies that area already well understood by many businesses, according to the Carbon Trust.

The trust analysed a sample of audits it conducted for businesses needing to comply with the energy savings opportunity scheme (ESOS). It found that firms spent an average of £1.8 million a year on energy. The average energy saving achievable through cost-effective measures was around 20%, or £360,000 per company, the trust said.

A large number of the businesses audited by the trust were manufacturers. Although the largest proportion of their energy consumption was typically related to industrial processes, it found that potential savings tended to be in improving lighting, metering and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) plant control. The trust said average saving in these areas amounted to 23%.

Changes to lighting and HVAC systems also dominated energy saving recommendations for office-based businesses. Replacing traditional lighting technologies with LEDs was a very common suggestion and investment was generally found to pay back over two to five years, the trust found.

Construction companies spent most energy, with average annual costs of around £4.9 million, the audits revealed. Energy management, lighting, heating and metering were again common recommendations, with an average potential saving of 25%.

One area of ESOS that most businesses struggled with was assessing the energy used in transport. The trust found that most companies outside the transport and logistics sector were not effectively managing vehicle energy consumption, despite the fact that it accounted for 28% of overall energy costs on average.

Fleet audits carried out by the trust typically identified savings of around 15% on existing transport energy expenditure. The most frequent recommendations were for better vehicle procurement and replacement, taking into account the efficiency of a fleet or vehicles used for business travel but not owned by the company.

The trust also provided a large number of recommendations to improve company strategy, policy and training programmes to help monitor and reduce vehicle mileage and fuel consumption.

Overall, the organisation said that many of the companies it supported were new to energy management, indicating that the ESOS regulations had cast a wider net than some other schemes by forcing businesses to understand their energy use rather than just encouraging better management through higher costs.

It hopes that the scheme will have a bigger impact than that originally suggested by the energy and climate change department (Decc), which estimated that it could collectively save businesses £250 million if a 5% reduction in energy use was achieved.

However, the real proof of success will be in rates of implementation of recommendations, since this is not required by the regulation, it added.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Hosting the energy transition

Sarah Spencer on the clear case for stronger partnerships between farmers and renewable energy developers

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Although many organisations focus on scope 1 and 2 emissions, it is vital to factor in scope 3 emissions and use their footprint to drive business change

31st May 2024

Read more

Joe Nisbet explores the challenges and opportunities of delivering marine net gain through offshore renewables

31st May 2024

Read more

IEMA submits response to the Future Homes Standard consultation

31st May 2024

Read more

Hello and welcome to the June/July of Transform.

31st May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close