What is a business energy audit?
Business gas and electricity are huge business costs, so ensuring that your business uses energy efficiently is essential to controlling costs.
This guide examines how a business energy audit will improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.
What is a business energy audit?
Simply put, a business energy audit assesses how and where you use energy in your company. The audit allows you to identify areas where energy is wasted, and efficiency can be improved.
There are three ways to undertake an energy audit:
- An on-site energy audit.
- An over-the-phone energy audit.
- An internal energy audit using our checklist.
Here’s what you can expect from a commercial energy audit.
What are the different types of business energy audits?
There are three ways to conduct a business energy audit; here’s a breakdown of the options:
An on-site audit
An expert auditor will come to your business premises and review your operations to highlight any changes you could make to reduce business energy usage.
The auditor will examine lighting, heating, air conditioning and other systems on your premises that consume lots of energy.
Once your premises have been thoroughly reviewed, the auditor will provide you with an in-depth action plan on the changes you could make to reduce your energy consumption.
This is where an experienced energy auditor will call you and ask you various questions regarding your current energy usage. They use this information to build a custom plan for you to follow – the plan includes criteria of energy-saving ideas and the cost they entail.
This is the preferred method for SMEs looking to save money on their small business electricity prices.
The internal energy audit isn’t as in-depth as it would be from an external company; however, following a checklist can help you identify obvious energy consumption inefficiencies.
Conducting your own commercial energy audit
Have you considered conducting a business energy audit internally but need to figure out how to proceed?
This guide will show you why an energy audit is essential and why you should make it standard practice in your business.
The importance of business energy audits
The ultimate aim of a business energy audit is to save your business money by ensuring you are as energy-efficient as possible.
Carrying out a business energy audit will provide you with these benefits:
- Reduced energy use
- Save money
- Identify issues
- Improve appliance efficiency
- Reduced carbon emissions
- Increased property value
- Increase employee comfort
The benefits of conducting a business energy audit
There are plenty of benefits when undertaking an energy audit. Let’s look at the key benefits in more detail below: 👇
Reduced energy usage
Identifying where you are using the most energy is crucial to your business. Are you lighting unnecessary areas of your office? Do your staff leave lights on in empty rooms or keep equipment running when unused? An employee may open windows whilst the air conditioning is on; all of these things use unnecessary energy that can easily be rectified to reduce your overall energy usage.
Carrying out an energy audit will save you money from reduced energy usage and identifying appliances not running at optimum efficiency. Making your appliances work efficiently will save you the money you would generally spend on unnecessary replacements or parts.
The business energy audit will identify any issues that you may have. Small leaks could cost you unnecessary money, or under-ventilated equipment could carry serious health risks. Identifying these issues will not only save you money but will also help the health and well-being of your employees.
An energy audit might recommend replacing some of your appliances for maximum energy savings. Although this may be an upfront cost, you will have a longer life expectancy for your appliances, and improved energy efficiency will save you money in the long term.
Reduce carbon emissions
Performing a business energy audit will reduce your carbon footprint when you become more energy efficient. This will demonstrate to your customers and staff that you care about the environment, helping you stand out from your competitors.
Increased property value
Based on your energy audit, making the necessary changes could increase the property value. LED lighting, commercial solar panels and insulation are among the things that contribute to property value.
Increased employee comfort
Carrying out an energy audit can significantly increase employee comfort. Are there drafty areas, meaning that employees are often cold and need to put the heating on? Is there harsh lighting from old strip bulbs? Considering your employee’s views helps with their overall comfort and satisfaction.
The process of conducting a business energy audit
The task of conducting a business energy audit may seem daunting at first, but using our simple energy audit checklist will take the stress out of this and turn it into an easy annual task to conduct as a business.
Preparing for the audit
Here are some simple steps to prepare for your energy audit:
- Assess your current energy usage: Look at your energy bills; we recommend looking at the last five years to see if you can see any spikes due to the season or at certain times of the day. This will give you an idea of what and when is causing the most energy use.
- Determine future energy use: Are you considering upscaling your business or downsizing? This will impact your future energy use and should be considered before you start your audit.
- Download our simple PDF checklist: Download our checklist and pick the person or persons who could carry out the checks. This could be a different person per section to break up the task.
The audit itself
Using our simple energy audit checklist, you can conduct a walk around of your business, checking all items that can cause high energy usage:
- Review each item on the checklist: Conduct a walk around your business using our energy audit checklist. Make sure you have access to all areas of your business and equipment. It may be helpful to conduct the walkaround at different times to get an idea of energy usage at all times of the day.
- Make notes: Take as many notes as possible on what you observe and find. Have you identified any energy waste? Do employees leave the windows open while the air conditioner is on? Is the boiler over seven years old? When was the boiler last serviced? Are kitchen appliances being used in eco-mode? These notes will help you determine your next steps in the post-audit analysis. 👇
Once you have completed your energy audit, you will need to take some time to review your findings. We recommend reviewing the notes of your energy audit and splitting the results into these three categories:
- Easy to rectify: Easy things would be items like ‘turning off lights in unused areas and closing windows if the aircon is on. Are some people heating and cooling in the same places? You can take on these actions yourself, and they will make an immediate impact.
- Requires some work to rectify: This would be for ordering radiator thermostats, swapping to LED lighting and lighting sensors, ordering new energy-efficient equipment like printers or kettles, or simply cleaning windows to maximise natural light. These things will be more time-consuming but can be done in-house at a small cost.
- Will need a specialist to rectify: A specialist may be required to insulate the building or replace an older boiler. You will need a specialist, which may require an upfront investment.
Tips for maximising the benefits of a business energy audit
Here are a few tips for maximising the benefits of your business energy audit ⬇️
Plan your next steps so that you can quickly and methodically implement the recommendations from your audit. This will entail budgeting and ensuring you have the right people to act.
Employee engagement is critical when implementing recommendations, as some of the most straightforward steps could be staff awareness of their impact on energy efficiency and business costs. You could include this in your new employee training and have regular refresher courses for staff.
We recommend conducting an annual energy audit to ensure you stay on top of your business’s energy usage. This could be as simple as using the checklist once a year to ensure that it’s still relevant and that your staff are fully trained and understand the importance of energy efficiency in the workplace.
The AquaSwitch view
We encourage all businesses to conduct a business energy audit. Benefits include reduced energy use, saving money, appliance efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, increased property value, and increased employee comfort.
We can make this easy by using our expert energy audit checklist.
How much does it cost to have an energy audit?
An energy audit will cost around 1% of your total energy bills, according to the Department of Energy & Climate Change.
Occasionally, your current supplier will offer you an energy audit and action plan free of charge when you switch to a new business energy tariff with them.
Save on your business energy costs
Use our business energy comparison tool to compare the latest business electricity prices and business gas prices. Comparing energy prices allows you to review your current energy costs against the latest rates available in the market.
Our comparison tool is simple to use and will allow you to compare multiple business electricity and business gas suppliers in minutes. Make sure you are paying the most competitive rates with AquaSwitch.