28 January 2020 Energy Management

Inefficiency of UK offices fuelling climate change and higher energy costs for businesses

tall building full of offices

Energy wasted every year by a few thousand office buildings across five UK cities is costing businesses £60 million in unnecessary energy bills, according to a new report by think-tank, Green Alliance.

Inefficient use of energy in just 953 offices in City of London, for instance, is equivalent to the amount used to power over 65 thousand homes – costing the City’s businesses £35 million a year and generating the same level of carbon emissions as 46,000 cars every year.

As the UK targets net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the environmental impact of such inefficiency is particularly concerning, and underlines the enormity of the challenge at hand for government and businesses.

Besides London, the problem is widespread across other British cities too. Energy currently wasted by less than 3,300 office buildings in the cities of Manchester, Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham could power over 42,000 homes, costing businesses across the four cities £25 million a year in unnecessary bills.

Citing the Committee on Climate Change’s recent report, Green Alliance points out that there have been limited efforts to address this by policy makers, with most of the UK’s commercial buildings energy inefficient and, overall, energy consumption per square metre having flatlined since 2002.

Alongside better policy, the report highlights that better use of technology is one obvious solution to save both money and carbon. Examples of how it can help reduce energy use include smart sensors and optimisation software to track and modulate energy use in different parts of a building. Evidence shows that these technologies can vastly improve the energy performance of commercial buildings.

Caterina Brandmayr, senior policy analyst at Green Alliance, said:

“There are substantial opportunities for immediate and easy gains. Energy optimisation systems already on the market could cut energy use by as much as 14 per cent in commercial buildings with pay back in just a few months. For the City of London, for example, businesses could save £13 million on their collective energy bill within a year.

The SMS view

As we explored in our recent blog series on energy efficiency policy, if we are to reach our climate targets there is a very significant risk that current policy does not put us on track to do so.

Climate change is the biggest challenge we face together and to avoid its most catastrophic effects considerably more needs to be done. Therefore, government, energy experts and businesses must come together and do more than minimum requirements to improve the efficiency of the UK’s commercial building stock.

At SMS, we have helped a large number of business to understand their energy through better data, enabling them to optimise their buildings’ energy use through the use of energy optimisation technology and smarter controls.

These are not necessarily expensive measures to undertake yet should underpin any future energy strategy a business may want to develop. Through such measures, a business can wrestle back control of their energy consumption and identify opportunities to reduce energy use through their operations or through carrying out energy efficiency projects.

From quick-return implementations such as LED switchover to large-scale zero-carbon solutions such as self-generation, electric vehicles and battery storage, we can help finance and deliver these transformative projects to significantly reduce energy use and the carbon emissions associated with it.

Work with a net-zero partner

At SMS, we are committed to providing the services businesses need to tackle energy costs and carbon emissions, and reduce the threat posed by climate change. Our years of experience, industry intelligence, and unrivalled support make us the smart choice for any energy project, for any organisation.

To find out how we can help your business with energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies, talk to one of our experts today.

Call 02920 893 882 or leave your details and we’ll get back to you.