Europe is now in the middle of winter and the cold temperatures as well as the situation between Russia and Ukraine continue to add to the global energy crisis.
The increasing demand for energy (particularly during winter months) is leading to the depletion of non-renewable resources, which will eventually run out. This can lead to economic and social instability as the cost of energy rises and countries compete for dwindling resources. Access to energy is of course essential for human development, as it is needed for everything from lighting and heating homes to powering industry and transportation. It is now absolutely crucial that every organisation works to maximise its energy efficiency to help mitigate the negative effects of climate change, ensure a more stable energy supply, and promote sustainable development.
The energy crisis also has the knock-on effect of being a major contributing factor to the cost of living crisis. Energy is used to produce and transport goods and services, so when the cost of energy increases, it can lead to higher prices for these goods and services. For example, when the cost of oil, which is used to power transportation and manufacturing, increases, the cost of fuel and products that are transported by truck or ship will also increase.
Energy is also used to heat and cool homes and buildings, so when energy prices rise, it can lead to higher heating and cooling costs for homeowners and renters. This can be particularly challenging for low-income households, who may have to choose between paying for energy and other basic needs such as food and healthcare. Also, when energy prices increase, it can also lead to higher inflation, as energy is one of the components of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is used to measure inflation. When the CPI increases, it can lead to higher interest rates, which can make borrowing more expensive and slow down economic growth.
Ultimately rising energy prices can contribute to the cost of living by making goods and services more expensive. However, there are a number of ways that organisations can reduce their energy consumption and save money, some of which include:
- Conduct an energy audit: An energy audit can help a business identify areas where energy is being wasted and provide recommendations for improvements.
- Replace old equipment: Upgrading to energy-efficient equipment can significantly reduce a business’s energy consumption and costs.
- Implement a lighting retrofit: Replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with LED or CFL lighting can greatly reduce energy usage and costs.
- Adjust thermostat settings: Implementing a programmable thermostat can help a small business control heating and cooling costs. And a full smart energy management system can help businesses to monitor, analyse and optimize their energy consumption, and can be a cost-effective solution for energy management.
- Implement manual power management: Encourage employees to power off equipment and unplug chargers and adaptors when not in use. These small savings will compound over time.
- Invest in renewable energy: Investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, can help a business reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and reduce energy costs.
- Encourage remote working: Encouraging employees to work from home can significantly reduce a business’s energy consumption and costs by reducing the need to heat, cool, and light an office space.
- If possible, then consider partnering with other organisations. Businesses can partner with other businesses in the community to share resources, reduce energy consumption, and save money.
- Schedule regular maintenance: Regularly maintaining equipment and systems can help ensure that they are running efficiently and reduce energy consumption.
It’s worth noting that the best approach will vary depending on the specifics of the business and its operations, a comprehensive energy audit is always a good starting point. An audit based on a recognised framework such as ISO 50001 will help you maximise your energy efficiency.
ISO 50001 offers organisations a framework for methodically controlling their energy use and lowering energy costs. The standard focuses on establishing objectives for energy efficiency and continual development. Organisations can identify and prioritise possibilities for energy efficiency, track and measure energy performance, and set up policies and processes to achieve energy savings by putting in place an energy management system based on ISO 50001.
Vassallo Associates can advise on all aspects of energy management as well as the implementation and ongoing support of an ISO 50001 system. Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion of how we can assist you.