How businesses can future-proof their energy costs amidst the return-to-office

After many organisations introduced work-from-home policies during the pandemic, high energy prices are now bringing their workers back to the office. One study by price comparison website MoneySuperMarket suggests that 14% of British people are doing so. That percentage rises to 23% in the 18 to 24 age category.

People using offices as ‘warm banks’ might save money on their energy bills, but it will push their employers’ bills up. More people using more space in the office will also require more heat.

The good thing is: today, there are several advanced solutions to energy consumption, as well as the traditional efficiency tips. I’ve described three here, starting with the most effective one.

  1. Embrace energy-flexibility services

The more advanced way big organisations are coping with high energy costs is through ‘energy flexibility’ services. These are becoming more available in urban centres like London, used by multinational organisations like the Financial Times and law firm Pinsent Masons.

Energy flexibility services allow businesses to save money, and even earn financial rewards, for adjusting their energy consumption according to supply. It only takes the instalment of a small device to monitor a property’s energy consumption, ultimately identifying and modulating non-essential sources of demand.

Some service providers will even manage the installation and device at no cost, so businesses can receive the benefits without any obvious changes to a building’s operation. Companies who participate in these schemes – some of which run only during the winter – can receive money back from network operators for reducing their energy consumption at times of low supply. These rewards can rise to as much as £3,000 per MWh.

High energy costs will apply huge financial pressure to building owners and businesses this winter. Those who manage the facilities will need to use every tool in the box to reduce these costs and meet the available funds. Participating in energy flexibility schemes is an obvious and easy decision to make.

  1. Play with your interior design

Interior design is associated with aesthetics. Organisations want their offices to look good for employees and clients. But an office’s design can also affect its energy efficiency. If you want to reduce your energy bill, it’s a good place to start.

Try rearranging your office furniture so that the most popular areas exploit the office’s warmest spots. For example, you might choose to move a desk area that employees use throughout the day away from windows and doors. You might then move the kitchen, which people only use for a few minutes while making a cup of tea, into one of the colder areas.

Assess which areas your employees use most and least, and then make logical adjustments.

  1. Proof doors and windows from draughts

Some buildings are better protected from cold draughts of air than others. These draughts can often enter through loose fittings or cracks in doors that you might not have noticed, reducing the overall temperature of the building.

An easy method of checking for these drafts is to run a finger along the cracks between closed doors and windows and the frames that hold them in place. You’ll feel a breeze if a draught is coming through.

Fixing this often only requires small adjustments to latches and hinges. The doors and windows should fit their frames as tightly as possible. You could also invest in some draught-proof strips.