The demand for goods and services is rising as the U.K.'s population continues to grow. According to a 2018 report by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the 'Services' sector accounted for 15% of the U.K.'s total final energy consumption. 67% of this was accounted for by the 'Commercial' sub-sector.
What do organisations use energy for?
The types of energy used by organisations include solid fuel, petroleum, gas, bioenergy and waste and electricity. Organisations use energy in many ways, for example:
- Powering equipment, lighting and computer networks with electricity
- Using gas to provide heating
- Using petrol or diesel for vehicles
The services sector mainly uses energy for heating, lighting and appliances (for example computers) in buildings. Financial and business services are responsible for the biggest expansion of energy consumption within the sector. According to a 2014 study, the highest consumed fuel in the public administration and commercial sectors was gas, which accounted for 58% and 43% respectively.
How can you use energy efficiently?
In order to use energy in a more sustainable way, organisations could choose their energy sources based on environmental consideration. Renewable energy sources include solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal. Fossil fuels such as coal and oil, however, are non-renewable. Burning these fuels for energy also releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which enhances the greenhouse effect and contributes to global warming.
A business can also reduce its impact on the environment by evaluating how efficiently they use energy. As our non-renewable energy sources begin to run out (for example fossil fuels such as oil and coal), energy costs have increased. Therefore, if a business reduces the amount of energy they waste, it will not help the environment, but also save money. There are several areas to consider, for example:
- Vehicles: Organisations can reduce the amount of petrol they waste by encouraging employees to use public transport, organise car sharing schemes or walk whenever possible. Teleconferencing is also a great way to avoid using transport for meetings.
- Equipment: A business can find out if the dishwashers, fridges and air conditioners on the premises are 'A' rated for maximum efficiency. They can also check if the heating boiler is modern and efficient.
- Buildings: There are many ways that a building can be designed for energy efficiency. For example, if the walls and ceilings are insulated and the windows are double-glazed, there is less chance that the heating will need to be turned on. Infrared reflective glass can also be used in the windows to minimise heat loss or gain.
The Indian restaurant Curry Garden, a small business, committed to improving energy efficiency in response to rising energy costs. The owner installed 'E-Cubes' over the thermostats in the fridge, which mimic the temperature of the food. This means that the refrigeration unit only activates a cooling cycle when necessary. The Guardian states that the expected reduction in electricity consumption will not only reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but also generate a £200 annual saving.