Using less energy to run your business doesn’t just reduce your environmental impact and help you satisfy the requirements of increasingly environmentally conscious customers, it can also save you a packet on your energy bills.
Key areas to consider when assessing the efficiency of your energy use are heating, electricity and staff and consumer engagement.
Effective heating is vital for your business to maintain comfort levels, especially with Scotland’s climate, and for many businesses heating is their largest energy cost.
Lighting can account for up to 20% of all energy used in many commercial and public buildings. If you operate evening shifts, like many retail operators, or have late operating hours as seen in the hospitality and tourism sector, this can mean an even higher lighting spend to accommodate the longer operating hours.
Engaging your staff and customers can be a great way save on your bills, and also demonstrates your organisation’s commitment to the environment.
If you are a small or medium-sized enterprise, Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service has a team of specialist consultants that can visit your site and undertake a free energy assessment. They’ll provide you with a detailed report highlighting the best actions you can take to save energy, money and carbon. They also provide access to interest free loans to help you undertake energy savings projects, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although we might take it for granted, energy is critical to the success of our small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland. It enables us to operate effectively, to power our IT equipment, to light up our premises, and to heat our buildings for guests and staff. Because energy is so critical, it is often seen as a necessary cost of business and therefore, energy management is often neglected. However, leading SMEs have already realised the immediate benefits that energy efficiency offers, while also preparing to face rising energy prices, increasing climate change and the growing market demand for environmentally responsible suppliers.
To realise cost savings, the first step is to identify and prioritise your organisation’s energy saving opportunities through an energy audit to identify all your energy saving opportunities across the organisation, prioritise the opportunities, and where necessary, secure the support and funding needed to make them happen:
A full energy audit guide provides advice and support for organisations in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
Carrying out an energy audit should not be viewed as a one off event. The best way to continually improve your organisation’s performance and reduce energy costs is to carry out audits at regular intervals.
Zero Waste Scotland’s free guide contains great advice and guidance on how you can conduct an energy audit for your business, it provides step by step instructions and signposts to lots of useful resources along the way.
Brothers Scott and Glenn Squires are happy with the decision they made seven years ago to make their business more energy efficient, especially now they have paid off their loan and are enjoying the benefits of the savings.
The pair look after the day-to-day running of the family’s Ardlui Hotel, Marina & Holiday Home Park that sits on the northern shores of Loch Lomond.
The property was built in the early 19th century as the hunting residence of the Colquhoun family before opening as a hotel in 1886. The main building has been extended over the years with east and west wings added at the turn of the 20th century.
The Squires family took ownership of the Ardlui in 1978 with the brothers the third generation to run it. As well as the hotel, they also own an adjoining caravan park, marina and self-catering lodges.
In 2013, they approached Zero Waste Scotland for independent advice on making their business more energy efficient. At the time, electricity was being used for kitchen equipment, lighting, extraction fans, heating pumps, campsite pitches and the effluent treatment plant. LPG fuelled the central heating boiler, campsite tumbler drier, campsite hot water and additional kitchen equipment.
Their annual energy bills were more than £60,000 with carbon emissions reaching almost 300 tonnes.
The report they received had several recommendations, including installing a biomass boiler, insulating loft space, metering electricity for all caravans, optimising voltage on some appliances and introducing an energy management policy. The cost for all changes was estimated at £107,000.
But the projected savings were just under £40,000 and it was estimated that the carbon output would be brought down by 113 tonnes each year, a 39% improvement.
With a payback period of just over four years, and the benefit of a Scottish Government interest-free SME Loan, it was a no-brainer for the two brothers who implemented all the suggested changes, as well as continuing their programme of switching all lighting to LEDs.
Scott said: “It has been one of the best things we have done. It’s all paid for now which is great. It has made a big difference to the business.
“A big thank you to Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service. Their help was invaluable and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
The family-run Inverardran Guest House sits in the north of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in Crianlarich, the gateway to the Scottish Highlands.
John and Janice Christie are the proud owners of the seven-bedroom B&B and the separate two-bedroom holiday cottage next door.
In 2018 they approached Zero Waste Scotland for help in making the properties more energy efficient. At the time, heating in the main house comprised two coal-fired stoves connected to the central heating, while the cottage was heated with two storage heaters and two panel heaters.
Their annual heating bill was £6,700 with more than 40 tonnes of carbon emissions.
The couple were keen to switch to a biomass boiler that would not only save them money, but would be a carbon neutral alternative.
It was estimated that the heating bills could be cut by around £2,700 with their carbon emissions reduced by 26.7 tonnes a year.
The couple made the £35k investment with the help of a Scottish Government SME Loan, which gave them a payback period of seven years, and it has been money well spent.
John said: “The bills have been cut and the house has never been warmer.”