According to a survey carried out by McKinsey in 2010 sixty-three percent of businesses say they are working towards reducing energy usage.
And the market and the shareholders are demanding it in threes: social accountability, environmental stewardship and economic growth. Of course, assessing a company’s energy usage is the best place to start and no sector is invulnerable to environmental regulation.
Welcoming energy efficiency into a business can generate growth, improve fundamental processes, reduce bills and increase profitability. However, there are still many companies who say economics and environmental performance do not mix. What’s the solution? Innovation. For that reason, we are going to look at the technology that is helping businesses to save money and improve energy efficiency.
Light Emitting Diodes can help companies to reduce their energy bills when replacing discharge and traditional fluorescent lights. It is suitable for cold store and food locations, comes on instantly and there is no warm or cool down period. They are seen as being the most energy efficient type of lighting – but this is not exactly true. It will ultimately depend on your business and it is vital that businesses work with suppliers to choose the right light source. For example, LED lighting uses around eight percent less electricity than a tungsten halogen source, but it is not as energy efficient as some ceramic metal halide (CDM) lamps. The future looks bright, though, with the electronics company Philips promising the most energy efficient LED lighting system by 2015 that will use half the electricity as standard business lighting.
The majority of energy suppliers use smart meters. It gives an insight into energy usage and wastage, helping companies to efficiency and save money. Smart meters offer usage data that can be used to make efficient decisions. In the UK there is the option of half hourly meters, also known as “00” meters, which are read every half hour and suitable for manufacturing plants, department stores and assembly plants. Half hourly meters work much the same as standard smart meters, but the data is automatically transmitted to power suppliers by a fixed data line. This means bills need never be estimated and that contracts can be negotiated accordingly. This helps in analysing usage and making saving decisions, with half hourly meters proving influential in environmental stewardship and economic growth.
Renewable technology can be a good addition to a business but certain aspects must be considered, including cost, viability and future goals. There are different options and not all of them will fit in with your requirements. Solar energy technologies convert sunlight into the energy a business needs. Any surplus electricity can be used to offset the costs of usage when the system is not producing as well during dark days or the night. This can also help to make sure that your company is generating power free of many greenhouse gases.
This is another way to reduce business’ energy usage and can be cost-effective. Even though it can cost more to implement than a traditional air conditioning system, it will allow you to pay less time-of-use rates and reduce energy demands. How does it work? Thermal energy storage produces and stores cold water or ice at night, which is then used to cool a building during the day. This is an advantageous way to reduce on-peak electricity usage and to lower energy costs.
What new technology do you see as playing a part in the future energy efficiency developments of businesses? LED lighting, smart meters like half hourly meters, solar panels and thermal energy storage are just the beginning to a sustainable, low carbon economy. So where do you see the next innovations being made to make businesses more green?
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