Reducing energy costs for offices and SMEs in Brighton and Hove

With the many challenges facing small businesses in Brighton and Hove it’s vital not to add to costs through energy waste and inefficiency

Running a successful business or co-working space in Brighton and Hove can be difficult, especially as the city has some of the highest property rental costs and business rates in the UK.

Installing energy saving or energy generating technologies will minimise the amount of power and heat that your business uses and achieve a significant reduction in monthly outgoings, increasing your profit margin and leaving more money available for business growth and investment.

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Increasing business profitability by improving the energy performance of your office or co-working premises

In July 2019, The Telegraph conducted a survey which identified the top four concerns for UK businesses in 2019/20. These were Brexit, cybersecurity, keeping on top of innovations such as increasing automation and keeping up with legislation1. All four are still relevant to businesses of all sizes plus we can now add the previously unforeseen impacts of Coronavirus and the effects of ‘the new normal’.

Both Brexit and Coronavirus are likely to have a continued impact on the bottom line of most businesses, at least in the short-term. This means that now is a critical time to make sure that you’re managing all your business costs as carefully as possible.

The energy strategy of your business presents one challenge over which you have direct control and can take action to reduce costs. Installing appropriate energy saving or energy generating technologies will:

  • minimise the amount of money you spend to heat and power your building
  • deliver a significant long-term reduction in opertaional costs
  • provide insurance against future energy price increases
  • leave more money to spend in the core areas of your business

A carefully prepared energy policy based on a reduction of fossil fuel use within your business will also prepare you for the UK’s transition to a carbon neutral future and signal to your customers and employees that you are a visionary and forward-thinking organisation.

Understanding energy consumption and identifying areas for improvement with a BHESCo energy survey

To identify opportunities for improving the energy efficiency of a office or small business premises it is vital to gain a thorough understanding of energy demand and consumption patterns.

For this reason, a bespoke BHESCo energy survey should be the first phase of any planned building improvements, underpinning every other stage of your future energy strategy.

Our bespoke energy survey will provide a thorough and detailed examination of every aspect involved with heating and powering your building.

Our Energy Saving Team will conduct an on-site survey to capture all relevant data, using FLIR thermal imaging software where neccessary. We will analyse your energy bill data to gain an understanding of your energy usage and to identify if waste is occuring and where performance can be improved.

“We’ve long been keen to reduce energy costs but tight margins mean it’s very difficult to improve the buildings we lease. BHESCo's 'Pay As You Save' offer is a great opportunity to improve our infrastructure and get our energy costs down, as well as benefitting the community in which we operate.”
Ian Elwick
The Werks Group

Our Energy Saving Team will produce a detailed report recommending the most cost-effective solutions to remedy areas of significant heat loss and energy waste.

Our report will also measure and compare the anticipated reduction in demand that we can expect from installing different types of energy saving and/ or energy generating technologies.

In this way we can make conclusions about which combination of technologies will best meet the heat and power requirements of your property, as well as being able to provide upfront cost and future savings projections to help you make the best decision.

What typical upgrades can be made to improve the energy performance of offices, co-working spaces and small business premises in Brighton and Hove?

There are many ways of reducing the amount of energy your business uses. One of the first actions is to check that your roof, walls, windows and doors are adequately insulated and draught proofed.

Does your heating system have the latest efficiency controls such as smart thermostats and data-driven heat demand management? Have you switched to LED lighting and installed movement sensors or power down plugs? If lighting is left on overnight or IT equipment is left on standby you could be wasting significant amounts of energy and money.

Depending on the characteristics of your building, it may be appropriate to consider installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system which could be combined with battery storage technolgy. As many business premises are used during the day when solar power is generated they often make ideal candidates for solar power.

Some potential areas for improving the energy performance of your property night include:

In addition to helping you improve the energy performance of your property BHESCo can evaluate the potential for generating your own renewable electricity by installing rooftop or ground mounted solar panels.

Being able to generate your own electricity will significantly reduce the cost of your annual electricity bill and achieve a major reduction in your environmental impact.

The costs of solar panels have fallen dramatically in the last ten years, with a typical system costing £800 – £1,100 per kilowatt (kW) of generation capacity installed.

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For properties that have solar panels installed the addition of battery storage technology enables owners to store electricity for use at a time of their convenience.

Battery storage can also enable users to take advantage of ‘Time Of Use’ Tariffs, whereby a battery can be charged during times when energy prices are low and discharged at when prices are high. Alternatively, they may choose to sell any surplus electricity back to the electricity grid at times of high demand.

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Switching from traditional incandescent or halogen lighting to energy efficient ‘Light Emitting Diodes’ (LEDs) can reduce electricity consumption by up to 90%.

Adding motion sensors for lesser used rooms or corridors can further help to drive down energy bills.

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Chances are that your heating consumption makes up the lion’s share of your monthly energy bill.

Generating your heat more efficiently can greatly reduce your bills and dramatically improve comfort in your property. Examples include installing radiant heat panels, air conditioning, or underfloor heating.

Depending on the the type of building in question and the aspect of the roof you may be able to start generating your own heat using an air source heat pump.

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The cost of heating in the UK can be very expensive.

If you are losing heat through draughty windows and doors then your property will not only be uncomfortably cold but you will be wasting huge amounts of money as well.

Improving your windows and doors will make your property feel much warmer in the winter and much cooler in the summer.

Furthermore, as well as helping you cut down on energy bills, new windows and doors will reduce levels of noise pollution from outside.

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Any floor that is above an unheated space (like a garage or a basement) can easily lose a great deal of heat to the colder area beneath.

In some properties heat can be lost throught the ground floor as well, so it is important that floors are properly insulated wherever possible.

The type of floor in your property (concrete or suspended timber) will determine which solution is most appropriate.

Hot air rises, which means that up to a quarter of heat loss in can occur if your roof is not properly insulated.

Fortunately, topping up your loft insulation is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make a big difference to the energy efficiency of your property.

Increasing the depth of your loft insulation to the recommended minimum of 270mm will immediately improve comfort and wellbeing while helping you to dramatically reduce energy bills.

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The majority of heat loss in the home occurs through the walls – in some cases heat loss though uninsulated walls can account for up to half of all heat loss in a property.

There are a variety of solutions for improving the energy efficiency of your walls which can depend on the age and the type of the property.

Possible solutions could include Cavity Wall Insulation, External Wall Insulation, or Internal Wall Insulation.

If neccessary our energy assessment can include a boroscope survey to identify the current state of the walls and what insulation there may or may not be already.

In many instances there is no need for lights to be left on continually. Adding motion sensors to turn lights on automatically whenever an employee is in the vicinity will cut down on waste and can achieve savings of up to 30%.

It is also advisable to install remote heating and lighting controls, enabling specific heat and light levels to be set for different zones of the building and in relation to time and seasonal variations.

Integrating remote monitoring and controls will enable facilities managers to continually gather and analyse data about a building’s energy use, adjusting heat and lighting settings in reaction to the information available, and creating a business case for the adoption of new measures where necessary.

Why energy efficiency improvements make for a successful business and a better working environment

In 2019, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy carried out research which showed that many SMEs have a very low awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency2. This lack of awareness could unwittingly be affecting the success of these businesses. While it’s fairly obvious that improving the energy efficiency of your premises will drive down operating costs, many of the benefits described below are less obvious:
  • An energy efficient building is more comfortable for your employees and visitors, driving up productivity and enhancing your reputation.
  • Money saved on energy can be used in areas that improve employee loyalty such as training and benefits or to boost revenue through marketing campaigns and product development.
  • If you own your premises and are able to generate your own renewable energy (from solar panels for example) you’ll make significant savings compared to buying from a supplier and will increase the value of your property. You may also open up new revenue streams by selling excess electricity to energy suppliers, via peer to peer trading or through electric vehicle charging.
  • By paying attention to energy efficiency, you are reducing the climate impact of your business, demonstrating social and environmental leadership. Positive action on reducing carbon emissions is increasingly appealing to investors, customers and employees and, as such, can attract funds, revenue and staff to your business.

So, if you’re ready to take action, what should you do next?

In Brighton and Hove, small business premises and co-working spaces are based in a wide variety of buildings. Some are relatively new, some are very old, and each will require a unique approach when it comes to maximising energy efficiency.

The best way to start is with an energy survey that will examine the particular characteristics of your small business property and identify the most effective and economically advantageous solutions.

The importance of buy-in from everyone working in the building

In order to gain maximum benefit from any physical energy efficiency improvements that are made to your office or co-working space, it’s vital that you have the support and co-operation of your colleagues or tenants.

Educating colleagues and tenants on effective energy management and efficient behaviours will help to embed sustainability practice into your business. When end users have a good understanding of the financial and environmental benefits of the improvements, they will be better placed and more emotionally invested in supporting efforts to reduce energy consumption.

As well as reducing costs, encouraging colleagues and tenants to reduce energy consumption within the business premises demonstrates environmental responsibility and shows leadership within the wider community.

Switch Your Energy Tariff

One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce the cost of your monthly energy bills is by switching to a cheaper supplier or tariff.

BHESCo work with our trusted commercial energy broker to secure the best deals available on the market.

Check the details of your current tariff and give us a call.

Case Studies

Year: 2016

Technology Installed:

12kW roof-mounted solar PV

261 LED lamps

Lifetime Financial Saving: £30,793

Lifetime CO2 Saving: 165 tonnes

Read Full Case Study

Junction Studios, Brighton

Year: 2016

Technology Installed:

4kW solar PV, 2.5kW air source heat pump,

30 LED lamps, secondary glazing, ceiling insulation

Lifetime Financial Saving: £37,763

Lifetime CO2 Saving: 42 tonnes

 

Funding Your Energy Saving Measures

At BHESCo we understand that the upfront cost of installing energy saving measures for your business or organisation can be expensive.

That’s why we make our innovative ‘Pay As You Save’ financing available to all of our customers.

We cover the upfront project cost on your behalf which is then paid back over time using a portion of the savings achieved on your monthly energy bills. Once our loan is repaid you become the owner of your energy saving measures and will enjoy 100% of the savings for the lifetime of the equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

We make our Energy Saving Service available to everyone in the community whether they are a member of BHESCo or not.

Many BHESCo customers go on to become members but this is not a prerequisite.

Recent regulations in the property rental market have greatly increased the importance of having an up-to-date and accurate Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

From April 2023, all commercially rented properties must meet government issued Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) or they will be ineligible for new lettings.

An energy survey usually takes no more than 1-2 hours depending on the size of your property.
We aim to have your completed Energy Saving Report to you within five working days following the survey.

Your Energy Saving Report includes details of all the ways you are wasting heat and energy in your home in addition to our suggestions of how to address any issues with the most cost-effective solutions available.
Our suggested energy efficiency/ energy generation measures include details of typical upfront costs and anticipated payback time, as well as the expected financial and carbon reducing benefits.

Our report will include an analysis of your current gas and electric bills plus a recommendation of cheaper energy tariffs if applicable. Usually the savings made from switching tariff alone will cover the cost of the energy survey.

It is preferable that our energy surveyors are able to view each room of the property including the loft so some clearance may be required if neccessary.

It is also beneficial to have access to any meters, boilers, or hot water controls.

A copy of your most recent gas and electric bill is essential for helping us to understand yoru energy use and current costs.

If you are interested in taking action to reduce the energy costs and environmental impact of your business premises or co-working space in Brighton and Hove then request an energy survey using the booking form link below.

Our Energy Saving Team will contact you within the next few working days.

References

1 – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/ready-and-enabled/uk-business-challenges-2019-2020/

2 – https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/energy-efficiency-scheme-for-small-and-medium-sized-businesses-call-for-evidence