Energy bills in the UK have been rapidly increasing in the past year, leaving many wondering what they can do to reduce the amount they are paying. With this in mind, many workers are using this as an opportunity to halt their remote working and return to the office as a means to save money.
Truth is, the remote working lifestyle introduced during the pandemic has become less attractive now that it has become more expensive to use energy at home. So how can facility managers monitor and keep their buildings / offices at the right temperature, whilst keeping energy bills low and employees comfortable?
Luckily, there are several sustainable ways companies can make sure they’re responsible for their energy consumption.
Take advantage of off-peak electricity times
Some energy suppliers charge lower rates for electricity used at night. If your energy supplier does this, then the price of electricity will increase or decrease depending on the time it is used. It’s cheaper when demand for power is at its lowest, known as off- peak hours, generally somewhere between 10 pm and 8 am, or when there is a higher output of renewables compared to demand. The remaining time is considered the peak hours, the period when energy demand is at its highest, although the tariff changes vary from location to location. It is worth looking into this for your specific region and your specific contract terms.
If you have a time-of-use tariff, you can take advantage of heating the building before everyone comes into the office. This way the building will already be warm and body heat takes over, rather than waiting for everyone to come in first. Facility managers and business leaders could turn the heating on between 5 am and 6 am, to get energy at a cheaper rate.
Not all energy suppliers follow these time-of-use tariffs, with many offering fixed-rate tariffs which stay at a flat rate, regardless of the time it’s being used. Make sure you find out what tariff you have before.
Flexible energy solutions
With the onus being to reach net zero by 2030, many leading organisations are looking ahead for energy-saving solutions before it’s too late. As a result, ‘energy flexibility’ services have become increasingly popular in urban areas, due to their effectiveness in reducing overall energy consumption, playing a vital part in balancing the local electricity networks.
New technology that addresses commercial buildings’ non-essential energy consumption is enabling businesses to reduce their expenditure on energy, without sacrificing performance or comfort. Demand side response (DSR), for example, is a method that is being employed to reduce non-essential energy consumption, especially in larger buildings. DSR uses flexibility within a building to balance electricity networks through aggregators that operate virtual power plants connected to National Grid or Local Distribution networks.
During a DSR event, the ‘Box-on-the-wall’ technology interfaces with a building’s management system to instruct it to lower electricity consumption where usage can be lowered for a short window of time, with no adverse effects on the building’s environment. Therefore, a DSR event has no impact on the operational running of the building or the working conditions of the people who are in the building.
Employing DSR generates a consistent income, with businesses receiving money for taking part, as well as benefiting from energy and carbon savings. This way, businesses can meet their energy optimisation goals, helping the country to reach its net zero targets.
With everyone returning to the office, the responsibility is on business leaders to play their part. By following these tips, companies can ensure that they keep everyone happy in the most cost-effective way possible.