How Much Money is Your Business Losing Through Wasted Energy?

14 Nov 2013


When it comes to saving energy, businesses throughout the UK are working hard to ensure that they get the basics right. Energy efficient windows and doors, properly insulated buildings and large scale recycling have largely been embraced in this country following pressure from government and the need to reduce costs wherever possible in the face of difficult financial conditions.

However, we still waste millions of pounds every year on behaviours that would be incredibly easy to alter - and most importantly cost us nothing. By leaving appliances on when not in use, putting them into stand-by or leaving them plugged into the socket after turning them off, businesses are slowly leaking money.

So how much energy is your business wasting? Below Enerco High Speed Doors analyse some of the appliances that are the main culprits and calculate exactly how much money you could be losing.

Do the Math

Before we can understand how much energy your business wastes we need to know how to calculate the cost in the first place. A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the unit of measurement we will be using; if an appliance's energy usage is measured at 1kWh it basically means it uses 1,000 watts in one hour. One kWh will typically cost around 15.1 pence.

If we know the cost of a kWh then by finding out how much energy the most common appliances and equipment use when idling or in stand-by we can begin to get a picture of how much is being wasted.

Let's take each device in turn.

Desktop Computers

Nowadays, computers are used more and more in the workplace, and as a result they are on for much longer periods - even when they're not actually in use.

A desktop PC that is idling will typically use about 100 watts (tower and monitor combined) which is 0.1 kWh - 1.5 pence. Now let's say the PC is left on but not used for two hours per day, we can use this information to work out how much money is wasted for any period of time:

1.5 pence x 2 hours = 3 pence/day

That doesn't sound like much, but imagine you have 100 desktop computers on your premises each idling for two hours a day:

(3 pence x 100 PCs) x 260 days = £780 per annum (based on a 5-day week 52 weeks per year)


We can do the same kind of calculation for your company's lighting as well.

A light bulb typically uses 60w of electricity when on, which is 0.06 kWh, or 0.906 pence per hour.

Let's say that again your lighting is on for two hours unnecessarily, then for every 100 light bulbs you are wasting:

(1.812 pence x 100 light bulbs) x 260 days = £471.12 per annum


Many households and businesses put their TV sets into stand-by mode rather than switch them off completely, and this can waste hundreds of pounds every year.

Although a TV uses just 10 watts (0.01 kWh) when in stand-by they are typically left in this state for the majority of the day, and thus that small amount can add up quickly.

A TV that is in use for eight hours during the working day but then only set to stand-by for the other 16 hours wastes 2.42 pence per day - £8.83 per year. This may be a small amount when compared to the previous numbers, but if your site has multiple television sets this waste soon starts to look a lot worse.

Vampire Appliances

Believe it or not, even when completely switched off some appliances will still use energy if plugged in to the socket. These 'Vampire' appliances add between nine and 16 per cent to annual domestic electricity bills according to the Energy Saving Trust, costing UK households £1.3bn in wasted money, and the problem can also affect businesses.

The thirstiest of these 'Vampires' include:

- TVs;
- Laptops & desktop computers;
- Printers;
- Modems;
- Cordless phones.

To ensure your business is not losing money in this way always make sure your equipment and appliances are switched off and unplugged.

There are many things we can all do to save more energy and few are as straightforward as the ones we have outlined here, but by doing so you could potentially see thousands of pounds knocked off your overheads - so what are you waiting for?

This guest blog was written by John Rooney on behalf of Enerco High Speed Doors, providers of rapid roll and energy efficient roller shutters.

Cooling Tower Owners Urged to Consider Health Impacts

13 Nov 2013

Didcot Power Station cooling tower

Business owners with cooling towers on-site are being urged to consider the health impacts that can arise from these structures. With the Health and Safety Executive recently announcing plans to inspect 5000 cooling towers at sites across the UK from the start of 2014 to assess the risks of Legionnaire's disease as well as to educate owners on how to reduce such risks, it is clear that a significant effort is being made to lower risks.

After extensive research from the HSE, cooling towers were found to be the structure which posed the greatest risk to the development of legionella due to the often complex nature of the systems used, in addition to the number of cases of Legionnaire's disease with the source being a cooling tower in recent years.

Following visits to numerous sites, officials from the Health and Safety Executive highlighted a number of "matters of concern" which had become apparent from their cooling tower inspections. These areas of concern included some of the following;

- Leaks coming from the joints of cooling towers

- Clear areas of rust which can be a common breeding ground and food source for Legionnaires

- Exterior damage to cladding

- Growth of moss and grass in and around the cooling tower

In light of this research and their findings, the HSE feel a programme of intervention is required to promote improved methods of control against the risks of Legionnaire's disease and have since announced their plans to visit 5,000 cooling towers from the latter part of this year through until March 2014.

With such a large number of sites and structures to visit, priority for inspection needed to be determined, so a questionnaire was sent to all cooling tower operators to complete and return, with the following priority being given;

- Sites with a cooling tower where a completed questionnaire had not been received would be visited first.

- If a completed questionnaire had been returned but any of the key questions had been answered incorrectly, those sites would be visited next.

- Those sites with high scores in all remaining questions would be next to be visited.

- Sites with lower scores from their questionnaire but high population densities within 2km of the cooling tower would then be inspected.

- Any remaining sites would be the last to be visited by the HSE.

This intervention programme should make a considerable difference to the knowledge and awareness cooling tower owners have as to the risks that can develop from the structures and how to prevent these arising in future. One of the most effective ways of achieving this is through the use of professionals to conduct cooling tower maintenance on a regular basis and cooling tower repair whenever required, with COVAC being a leading name in this field.

A well maintained, fully functional cooling tower will undoubtedly be of benefit to any business setting as running costs will be lower and energy output will be reduced, therefore having a positive impact upon the environment. Alongside all of this, a cooling tower lined with a coating that offers environmental, economical and technical benefits will provide a long lasting solution that maintains efficiency and performance as well as practically eliminating the risk of harmful bacteria growth and development.

With the latest plans from the HSE urging cooling tower owners to consider the health impacts of their structures and implement various initiatives to reduce risks, the hope is that the number of Legionnaire's disease outbreaks attributed to cooling towers will soon start to lower.

This article was provided by COVAC

Prepare your business for the wet season

06 Nov 2013

A man shelters from the rain - photo Liquivault

During the winter, we are often hit with storms and excessive rain. If you own a business you will want to make sure that this weather causes as little problems for your staff and property as you possibly can. You will therefore be able to carry on as normal and will not be wasting money on repairs or losing out on staff hours. There are a number of ways to do this that will not break the bank and will keep your business as safe from harm as possible.

Have a clear-out

One of the main problems when a storm hits is the amount of water that our drains have to cope with. This can be made far worse if your drains and gutters are completely clogged up with leaves and debris as the water will have nowhere to go and will overspill. This is when issues will start to arise and damage could be caused to a number of aspects of the building. The brickwork may suffer and grout could become loose if water is constantly hitting an area. It could also seep in through a number of areas, causing internal damage. Also remember to have any trees trimmed so that if one is blown over, it is unlikely to cause significant damage or be a danger to any of your staff.

Move sources of power upwards

Heaters, electrical switch boards and boilers are all essential to keeping your building warm and in working order. To make sure that if there is a case of flooding, these are all intact, a good idea could be to move them higher and away from the risk of flood damage. This could definitely be a good decision if you are situated within an area that is often flagged as at risk from flooding. Year on year the same properties can be hit and it can cost a fortune to not only sort the structural damage but the problems with wiring and heating.

Do not leave existing problems

If you are aware that the area around any of your windows has been a little bit wet on occasion and are worried that there could be a leak, get this fixed immediately. Other problems such as loose guttering, missing tiles on the roof and a dodgy boiler could all become a disaster in times of high speed winds and torrential rain.

Install attenuation tanks

Attenuation tasks are able to retain a large amount of water and can be installed within the grounds of your property however big or small it is. They significantly reduce the risk of flooding for many people as they are able to store a large amount of water for a long time. Being a far more economically friendly option than water pumps or other water extraction devices, this option means you are helping the environment as well as keeping your business safe from flooding.

This post was written by Amy Bennett who experienced significant flood damage last year to her business. She has invested in attenuation tanks from Liquivault to prevent the same issues occurring again.

Are businesses doing enough to improve green credentials?

04 Nov 2013

Skip Hire UK

Environment. Efficiency. Green. Energy.

These are all buzz words at present, with businesses up and down the UK attempting to play their part in becoming a more energy efficient company to in turn become greener and protect the environment for generations to come. Are businesses doing enough to improve their green credentials though? Could more changes be made to commercial premises or how the business operates to have an even bigger impact on how they perform?

Detailed below are a few tips, tricks and pieces of advice that could be applied within all manner of different businesses to improve performance and ensure you are reaching your green business goals.

In the office

-Make sure all computers and other electrical items are turned off at the end of the working day as opposed to simply being put on standby to save energy during the night when the equipment is not in use.

-Open plan office spaces can be more economical to heat than those with a number of different rooms, so consider partitions to separate the area yet still benefit from heating one bigger room rather than a number of smaller ones.

-Consider where you are buying office supplies from and upgrade to environmentally friendly products that may cost you slightly more but will undoubtedly be a small price to pay for the benefits they offer.

-Going paperless can cut costs considerably at the same time as reducing the impact that using significant amounts of paper on a daily basis can have on the environment.

On the road

-Reducing fuel costs and consumption is the order of the day for businesses with vehicles out on the road on a daily basis, so improved driver training where they can discover how to adjust their driving styles to achieve this can be highly advantageous.

-Improved management of the condition of vehicles can also impact on how they perform, with a well maintained fleet likely to reduce running costs in the long term.

-Better route management can see multiple jobs being completed on the one trip, therefore avoiding empty vehicles travelling on the roads and enabling you to make more money from increased work whilst saving money on fuel costs due to the reduced number of vehicles making journeys.

There are many greener, more economical and environmentally friendly vehicles being produced by the leading manufacturers which can save a large amount of money in the long term in addition to performing in a much greener manner than old alternatives.

Waste and recycling

-The three Rs- reduce, reuse, recycle- can be applied across the board to businesses of all sizes in all industries. Reducing the amount of waste thrown away is the first step, reusing as much as possible is the next and then ensuring as much waste that you do throw away is recycled is the final step in improving green credentials.

-When making any improvements to your setting, perhaps in relation to energy efficiency, utilising the services of experienced providers to manage waste is a must. Companies like Skip Hire UK can provide waste management solutions before ensuring all waste produced is sorted and that which can be recycled or used again is.

With the government pushing for the country to be more energy efficient as a whole, businesses have a key role to play in the success of this both in the short and long term. If you've noticed a few features within this list that your business isn't currently practising, make now the time when you make the change to become a greener, more environmentally friendly organisation.

This article was written by Skip Hire UK

Carbon emissions tied to stock valuations?

31 Oct 2013

Stock market

After a report from the CDP last month found a correlation between high scores in reducing carbon emissions and increased stock prices, investors are adding a new calculation to their stock valuation and pricing schemes.

While advanced environmental initiatives have been long heralded as an expense that must be kept down to keep a company profitable, there is substantial evidence that in reality it is in investment a company can choose to increase its stock value and performance. The reasons for this are many and complicated but the resulting increase in value and long-term benefit to the environment is not.

What is pushing stock prices higher?
Traditional stock valuations are all about price to earnings ratios, net profits, and corporate debt or obligations. Using strictly this narrow scope of criteria, it can be argued (and often is) that additional regulation increases costs, causing businesses to be less competitive and reducing both profits and stock prices. But the actual facts do correspond to these assertions, regardless of the simple logic behind them. There are numerous reasons why the unexpected result.

Speculation on future energy costs- Carbon emissions are measured in numerous ways. The direct correlation between energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions makes it easy to presume companies with lower carbon emissions also will have lower future energy costs. Since there is no easy way to track exactly how much energy or how energy efficient a corporation is for considering the implications of future energy cost increases, carbon emissions make for an easily tracked and measured way to estimate. There is little no energy costs will continue to rapidly increase, but low carbon corporations may be presumed to be in a better position to deal with future increases in cost.

Cost of compliance with future regulations - Rather than placing the emphasis on the current cost of compliance, investors are working off the presumption that regulatory requirements will become ever more stringent in future. Corporations which are already ahead of the curve will be well placed to absorb these future costs with minimal impact. Companies that are marginal now have very predictable large compliance costs coming in the future that depresses their future value.

Sign of innovation and technological advantage - While every company boasts that it invests in infrastructure and the best technology available in its field, it is difficult for anybody but a true insider in the specific industry that has access to the plants and facilities to determine if that is a factual statement or simply words on a press release. Lower carbon emissions is a clear indicator that there is fact supporting that claim and that basic infrastructure and machinery is modern and up to date.

Investor price support - There is an ever growing segment of affluent investors and well capitalised investment groups which place an emphasis on green investing. The CDP Global 500 Report as an example lists 571 investment groups with over $70tr in assets that make green technology and performance a key indicator in stock and investment selection. While that is the biggest compiled set, many mutual funds and many private investors have made it their own priority as well. That type of financial backing is having an effect.

With stock values increase for major companies and corporations that not only adhere to but are proactive to regulation, when combined by the thousands of jobs created by the smaller companies like Mark Group that perform work with businesses and individuals to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency, it is a clear indicator that these regulations may be a net positive to national and global economies as opposed to the drain many have claimed.


BusinessGreen's Industry Voice blog offers experts from across the low carbon economy the opportunity to present their views, opinions and analysis on the latest green business developments

Browse posts by date

Cal_navigation_previousOctober 2014Cal_navigation_next