Energy: How to prepare for 2020

With the onset of Brexit, the start of a crawl towards sustainability targets and more savings needing to be made than ever before, James Longley, Managing Director of Utility Bidder, suggests now is the time to review your energy as a business.

It can seem tempting to treat 2020 like any other year, with a majority of SMEs cautiously setting out goals and aims for the year. However, for those that are not aware, sustainability and energy efficiency should be the standout aims for the year.

Targets have been set by the government of being carbon neutral by 2050. This may seem far into the future, after all, 30 years is a long time, but it is those that start to make the changes now that will reap the most benefits.

The considerations of energy efficiency for vendors and retailers need to be two-fold, on one hand, measures to ensure equipment being created is energy efficient, but also that having the best procurement in place is also vital to ensure businesses are saving money in the long term.

There are many strategic ways businesses can reduce costs and their carbon footprint at the same time, all it takes is a mindset and a commitment to change:

Conduct an energy audit

This is a relatively simple step most companies can set up for themselves. Simply taking a detailed look and review of energy efficiency can make all the difference. It can identify where excesses are being spent, where improvements might be able to be quickly actioned and also gives you an idea of whether you are paying too much for your energy. For retailers, this could make a huge difference to outgoings when considering that brick and mortar locations are some of the most expensive elements of a business to maintain. For manufacturers or production facilities, any costs shaved from overall running costs contribute to the bottom line.

Set up an energy efficiency team

On top of any changes businesses make to their energy policies or any advantages they can find from an audit, having a bought-in group within your business can help encourage culture change when it comes to energy. A monthly, informal meeting to discuss and set targets can really foster a sense of collective responsibility. Having targets shared will also help.

Outsource data storage

Taking steps to store data offsite or secure information to specialist companies can often be cheaper and more carbon-neutral than adding to already power-sapping and costly data servers. Although maintenance is relatively low-demand, the sheer amount of power being used to simply maintain something which could be exported to cloud providers is astonishing.

Cloud providers are now so secure, the fear over losing often confidential or business-specific information should now not be so much of a concern.

It is sometimes baffling that businesses do not address this as an issue earlier. In regard to the 2050 targets, many individual regions are bypassing this 30-year wait and are addressing their carbon footprint aims earlier.

For example, the Greater Manchester region’s Mayor, Andy Burnham, has even announced that the region will be aiming for more than a decade earlier in 2038. This is mainly being achieved through encouragement of behaviour change amongst residents but will be a great tool to motivate SMEs and larger concerns in the area to take action too.

The biggest hurdle we often have to overcome is apathy and mindset. Unless SMEs take this issue of carbon neutrality seriously, then the fight to make it happen is difficult before it even begins. Once major players get involved, it should be a relatively easy win, but until then we simply do not know.

Add to this the uncertainty on the energy industry as we approach Brexit and you have more than reason enough to sit up and take notice of what could be a very interesting year indeed.

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