Energy-saving tips when working on site and at home

Energy-saving tips when working on site and at home
23 April 2020

This June marks the one year anniversary when parliament passed legislation requiring the UK government to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Since the announcement last summer, many companies have supported this stance and set out their plans to enable them to achieve net zero, positioning them as climate leaders and future proofing their organisation.

We recognise that in the current pandemic it's all too easy to lose sight of longer term goals, but we must look beyond the current situation and not lose focus. This health and economic crisis will end one day – and when it does, we will still be left with the devastating long term consequences of the ongoing climate crisis.

It's with this in mind that we have prepared the list of practical tips below as reminders of how we can all continue to be energy efficient not only at the workplace, but also crucially at this time, when working from home.

If you need further advice and support on energy and carbon management as well as how to put together a carbon management strategy, speak to one of our experts using the form on the right. We would also recommend registering to watch our free three-part net zero webinar series if your company is serious about slashing carbon emissions and taking a leading role in climate change. Our next webinar is taking place place on Thursday 14th May. Follow the link below to register your free place and join either at work or at home:


9 tips to improve energy efficiency at work and at home

 
TIP

WORKING ON SITE:

WORKING AT HOME:

1

Whilst occupancy levels are low, remember to remotely log onto your building energy management system to see how it is operating, and compare it to usual levels to get your baseline of low/no use at work. You may find that certain lights, heating systems or machinery may have been left on unnecessarily. 

If you don’t have a building energy management system, consider installing it once things are back to normal.
Do you have a smart meter at home? If so, use it to its full potential to track your energy use. Find out what the biggest consumers of energy in your home are and this will put you in a position to prioritise where to take action on saving energy.
 
If you don't have a smart meter, consider asking your supplier to install one - they can be fitted to electricity and gas supplies and should be provided at no cost. Additionally, having a smart meter fitted means having accurate energy usage and you can say goodbye to estimated bills.

2

Unused equipment
Walk round the office ensuring that no computer monitors, water heaters and other equipment are needlessly left on. 
Draughts
Go around your house to feel for draughts and seal them up. If you have an open chimney purchase a device such as a chimney balloon or a transparent Perspex fireplace shield to seal it up - but do remember to hang a ribbon or similar indicator as a visual reminder it has been blocked.

3

All together
If your office is open at the current time, and if safe and appropriate to do so, consider bringing together your remaining staff on site and operating on one floor to enable you to set back the services from the other parts of the building.

And of course, remember to make provision to enable all staff to observe social distancing guidelines. 
Heating the rooms you need
Rationalise your use of heating during the day. If you have rooms you aren’t using during the day then close the doors and turn the radiators down to the frost protection settings on the control valves. This will mean you’re only heating the rooms you are using at daytime and avoids wasting heat. This is easier if you have zoned heating in your house as you can then turn the radiators/zones back on in the evening. 

Alternatively, if you’re alone and just using one or two rooms during the day, consider leaving your central heating off during the daytime. To stay warm, you may wish to use a small portable electric heater to keep your room comfortable, or just wrap up warm and use a hot water bottle to keep the edge off.
 

4

Lights off
If it’s not necessary to leave display lighting on, turn it off. The same applies to other unnecessary lighting around your other buildings, in particular, as we are in the brighter spring months.
Natural light
Take a look at your lighting; if you are working from home, fully open your curtains and blinds to use natural light instead of switching on the lights. Remember to orientate your computer monitor to avoid glare. As ever, make sure lights are only on when needed and not left on in rooms not being used.

5

Compressed air
If your company normally uses compressed air equipment, check if the air compressors have been switched off, if they are not in use.

Where this is not possible, investigate whether air lines serving inactive areas been isolated.

nd now that it’s quiet, this is a good opportunity to take a walk around your site to listen out for air leaks. Tag them and update the maintenance list accordingly.

Fridges and freezers
Defrost your freezer if you haven’t done so in a while.

Not only will it run more efficiently, you will also free up extra space.

6

Energy meter
Review your energy metering and sub metering systems. Check if you have faulty meters or need extra meters. - this quiet period is an ideal time to access electrical panels to carry out repair and installation work.
Energy contract review
Look back over your energy bills; when did you last review your supply contract? Consider switching to a renewable energy tariff - you may even find a more competitive deal. Do note there are more than one price comparison websites to look at, and their offerings can differ notably.

7


Energy-efficient boilers
Inspect their condition of your boilers - when they need replacing with what will they be replaced with?

Do some background reading to be aware of the options when the time comes. Ensure you include domestic air source heat pumps in your research as this often gets overlooked as a viable option.
Energy-efficient boilers
Is your domestic hot water boiler starting to age? When it needs replacing, what will you replace it with?

Do some background reading to be aware of the options when the time comes. Ensure you include domestic air source heat pumps in your research as this often gets overlooked as a viable option.

8

Heating and cooling harmonisation
If gas or oiled-fired boilers are in use at your place of work, check that their controls are harmonised with other building services so that they don't run at the same time as the cooling services.
Air-dry laundry
As the weather gets warmer, save money through your laundry and put your washing outside or on an air rack to dry instead of using a tumble dryer.

9

Reusing waste heat
Heating is one of the most common causes of high energy use. Consider options on how your waste heat could be recovered and reused in the workplace such as:

- in-built heat recovery in the air handling plant to pick up waste heat from exhaust air and preheat fresh incoming air

- for those with heat pump systems waste heat could be used to heat domestic hot water

- waste heat from server rooms can be reused for space heating
Effective radiators
Check your radiators – take a few minutes to bleed the radiators around the house to ensure the whole system is operating as effectively as possible.