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Audit shows wastage of energy by UK businesses

19 August 2008

UK plc’s continue to wasting millions of pounds worth of energy, despite rising fuel prices, according to a recent Energy Bureau study covering 483 business.

A survey of 483 businesses across the UK has identified energy wastage of more than £7.5 million – more than £15,500 per year, per business. With 1.67 million VAT registered businesses across the UK the total amount of energy – and money – wasted each year could be huge.

The audit of businesses across the retail, commercial, manufacturing, education, health, financial, leisure and government sectors was conducted by The Energy Bureau, the energy consultancy division of global building and energy management specialists, TAC. TAC is now urging larger UK businesses with an annual utility bill of more than £1m to appoint their own ‘Energy Tsar’ to plug the haemorrhaging cost of waste and carbon emissions.

Keith Burnett TAC UK’s energy services manager says there is a ‘disconnect’ between the facilities managers whose remit it is to manage costs, and the accounts department where energy bills are traditionally sent. “UK companies should urgently put in place energy strategies that go beyond corporate posturing over their green credentials. Before you can improve your energy efficiency, you have to be able to measure it. All too often, the energy manager is typically someone who does the job as an add-on to their other responsibilities. In many cases they do not even see the bills so he or she has no idea on the consumption of energy; let alone how to improve it. Many organisations are looking to invest in initiatives such as wind turbines as part of their CSR drive, but a lot of this is to tick the green box – it’s a lot of posturing and gesturing, but amounts to very little in real terms.”

Conservative estimates from the study also reveal at least 455,443 tonnes of CO2 currently being needlessly emitted, although this is figure is believed to be much higher.

The Energy Bureau, which initially conducts free remote investigations of sites before carrying out a more detailed onsite analysis, says the return on investment for the energy audits is minimal. Most costs can be reclaimed in under one year.

Where the savings were:
• £1,114,132.87 worth of savings over 145 retail sites surveyed
• £780,782.19 worth of savings over 29 commercial locations
• £795,790.59 worth of savings over 14 manufacturing sites
• £534,340.27 worth of savings over 53 education locations
• £251,361.30 worth of savings over 18 health sites
• £1,345,286.76 worth of savings over 31 financial industry locations
• £619,734.59 worth of savings over 27 food industry locations
• £1,915, 450 worth of saving across 124 leisure locations
• £239,913.68 worth of savings across 42 Government locations

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