How employees can help businesses save on energy

If you’re a small business owner, you’ll know that energy saving only works if everyone pitches in to do their bit. It’s your job to motivate and incentivise, and you’ll find that people are usually more than willing to put the effort into saving the environment and keeping costs down at work. Here are some simple ideas of things everyone can do to keep energy bills at a minimum – adapted from British Gas’s very handy business blog:

  • Close doors and windows – a simple but effective way to prevent HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) waste.  The longer a door/window is left open, the more of the building HVAC’s hard work is undone.
  • Heat lunch together – rather than one-by-one, heat meals at the same time if they’re small enough to fit into the microwave together. Also share kettles of boiling water if multiple employees are heating instant meals or breakfasts.
  • Solar phone charging stations – set up a line of solar-powered charging stations on windowsills that get drenched in morning or afternoon sunlight and encourage the team to use them.
  • Dress according to temperature – pay attention to weather forecasts so as to wear weather-appropriate clothing (as long as it conforms to business code) in order to avoid the need for power-hungry fans or space heaters.
  • Lights-off checks – get employees to participate in energy saving initiatives by not only reminding them to turn lights off at their own desks/offices but to also make checks as they walk through/out of the building, turning lights off along the way.
  • Encourage inventions – it’s possible that employees will be able to not just find inefficiencies but to invent new and more efficient ways to do things.
  • Shut down computers –computers and all their accessories can consume energy; simply turning computers off and switching off monitors can make all the difference.
  • Use Laptops – consider replacing some desktops with company laptops, which have their own batteries and are surprisingly more efficient with power.
  • LED bulbs – LED bulbs in desk lamps, is a small but effective way to save energy.

For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Why a wall-hung boiler could be the right option for your business

If you’re considering a new boiler for your business, a wall-hung (aka wall mounted) boiler might be the way to go. They have the benefit of being smaller than traditional boilers meaning they are easier to handle and can be installed side-by-side in a modular boiler arrangement.

A wall-hung boiler might look like a small hinged cupboard but it is a fully staffed boiler system, equipped with an expansion tank, safety valve, and a water circulation pump. It’s the perfect option for a small space in which there is no place for the installation of larger equipment.

Wall-hung boilers are also likely to cost less and don’t necessarily have to be mounted on an existing wall. In many cases where an existing wall wouldn’t support the weight of the boiler, steel floor standing frames can be used. This option comes with the advantage of factory built and tested pipe kits already in place.

There are various wall-hung boiler options available on the market but Vaillant has just announced the launch of its first high output boiler in over 10 years (available since May 1), which is being manufactured in the UK at Vaillant’s Belper headquarters. The ecoTEC 48kw and 64kw are described as lighter, smaller and more compact solutions than previous wall-hung models. Customers will also be able to reap the benefits of greater efficiencies, with the products being up to ErP A+ rated when installed alongside controls.

CH Systems is an approved installer for Vaillant heating equipment – if you’d like to find out more about wall hung boilers or if you have any energy queries relating to your home or business, contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.co.uk.

Sources: hvpmag.co.uk – “Vaillant launches new ecoTEC plus boiler”; Greenmatch.co.uk – “3 Important Things to Keep in Mind When Looking for Boilers”

Sainsbury’s Ashford

CH Systems recently carried out a pipework installation to two Air Handling Units, in Ashford for a major supermarket chain. The works involved upsizing the heating pipework to 2 of the roof mounted AHU’s. The coils on the AHU’s were replaced and the units, themselves, were ovehauled, at the same time that the pipework was being installed.

All the heating in this store is generated by air-source and ground source pumps.

All the pipework on this site was Geberit Mapress and due to the location, of the works, we carried out all the crimping with a Novopress XL pressing tool. This tool is cordless and enabled us to carry out the installation in a very timely fashion.

We’re really proud of how this project turned out. If you have any questions, please do contact us directly.

What is the ideal office temperature?

Too hot, too cold – you can’t please everyone when it comes to the perfect office temperature. A 2015 survey of 129 office workers in the US found that 42 per cent of people think their building is too warm, while 56 per cent think it’s too cold. And it’s a significant disagreement because temperature affects productivity – if you’re swearing at your desk, you’ll have trouble applying yourself to your tasks at work, and the same applies if you’re bundled up in jackets. So, what is the optimum working temperature?

Government website Gov.uk says that there’s no law for minimum or maximum working temperatures, other than a suggested minimum of 16°C or 13°C if employees are doing physical work. There are, however, stipulations that during working hours the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be reasonable and that according to health and safety at work law, employers must keep the temperature at a comfortable level, and provide clean and fresh air. Helpful but also vague.

To give a more pointed answer out to the conundrum that is office temperature, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory collected productivity readings and temperature recordings from 24 different studies and found that the perfect temperature should be between 20°C and 25°C. This might seem a tad too warm but another study that looked at the thermal effects on office productivity by measuring the activity of clerks in an insurance office, found that at 25°C the clerks were typing non-stop with an error rate of just 10 per cent. When the temperature dropped five degrees, they were half as productive, more than doubling the number of mistakes.

It seems that, as per research (and there is so much more of it than the couple of studies mentioned here), 21°C-25°C is a sensible temperature range to aim for in the workplace. Along with that, employees should be encouraged to dress appropriately (on an effort to moderate their temperature) and to verbalise their concerns if they feel that the office temperature is affecting their concentration and productivity.

Contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.co.uk if you have any energy queries relating to your home or business.

Sources: bbc.com – “The never-ending battle over the best office temperature”; “How temperature affects productivity in the workplace

Louthus Romford

CH Systems were recently commissioned to assist on a very challenging project. The project involved a block of apartments directly above a parade of shops, with the plant room above the stair well. There is a pair of Vaillant boilers serving a Vaillant Buffer vessel which then in turn serves the district heating scheme providing LTHW to the Heat Interface Units in each flat.

The primary pipework required modification from the boilers to the buffer vessel as there was not sufficient flow. The secondary pipework also required modifications to ensure we got the required flow rates.

Our team managed to complete all the works with only one day of down time to the tenants and with little disruption.

Midsomer Norton

CH Systems recently carried out a Plant room upgrade in Midsomer Norton.

We removed an old floor standing shell and tube boiler, which was fitted with a still functional Nu-Way burner. We also removed a gas fired Andrews water heater and Stockvis Domestic hot water plate exchanger.

As you can see from the pictures below, it is extremely important to inspect flues during services as the inner wall of the flue had completely collapsed and was completely blocking the flue way.

These appliances served a Leisure centre so we had to maintain services for the duration of the works. We fitted 4no Remeha boilers complete with frames, low loss header and mixing pot which then goes out to feed the system. The LTHW system was installed in Geberit Low carbon steel Mapress and the gas was fitted in Stainless Steel. We also had to pipe up the new air handling unit which was replaced as the previous model had no heat recovery option.

Overall this project was completed punctually with a minimum of down time to the centre and they should soon see the benefits of a much more energy efficient system.

BEFORE

Walthamstow SSL

We recently carried out a Plant room Upgrade for a National Supermarket Chain in Walthamstow. The works comprised of fitting 2 new Hamworthy Wessex ModuMax mk3 boilers alongside the existing Hamworthy boilers.

Our welders had to fabricate a number of spool pieces to enable us to connect to the Imperial Table D flanges. We also had to fabricate a 6inch header to which all 4 boilers then connected on to. The gas run on this installation was all carried out in 108mm Geberit Mapress Stainless and was slightly challenging as we had to run this on the underside of the first floor slab, this was all carried out on a SkyJack SJ19 which greatly helped in reducing the installation time.

The heating coil that serves the shop floor air handling unit was also changed over during these works and we’re happy with the finish of this project.

Why UK businesses are switching supplier

The latest news from <a href=”http://www.energy-uk.org.uk/” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Energy UK</a> is that more than 660,000 customers switched their electricity supplier in February 2018; a 60 per cent rise on February 2017. This is the highest number yet, according to industry figures, which reference both home owners and business customers. The trade association also said that the figure continues to rise, as over a million customers have switched so far (12 March) this year.

Energy UK cited one reason as the cold weather during the month, and another reason for the record number of switchers as the publicity campaigns by suppliers and switching websites. <em>Read between the lines:</em> businesses want to save money!

Interestingly, a fifth of the switches in February were away from the so-called Big Six energy firms to smaller or mid-sized suppliers, and according to Ofgem; the biggest savings are achieved by moving from the expensive standard variable tariffs to cheaper fixed-term deals.

Like so many other businesses, are you thinking about switching energy supplier in order to save money? Fortunately, recent changes to legislation mean that this switching window (and the rules surrounding it) has been altered, giving businesses more leeway.

The new rules mean switching windows have effectively been abolished. As such, businesses are free to inform their current supplier that they’d like to switch – and free to arrange that switch – at any point from the beginning of a contract up to 30 days before it expired (the notice period, mentioned above).

What’s more, the process of rolling businesses onto more expensive contracts – and tying them into these contracts if they hadn’t arranged a switch or renewal – has been stopped.

To take full advantage of these freedoms, read “<a href=”http://www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity/business-energy/switching-supplier/” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Switching your business energy supplier</a>” and contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or <a href=’ma&#105;lt&#111;&#58;&#37;69&#37;6&#69;fo&#64;&#99;&#104;sys&#116;%65m&#115;&#46;c&#99;’>&#105;nfo&#64;ch&#115;ystems&#46;cc</a> if you have any practical energy queries relating to your home or business.

<em><strong>Source:</strong> bbc.co.uk – “<a href=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43349644″ rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Record numbers switching electricity supplier</a>”</em>

Top business trends for small businesses in 2018

When planning your business strategy for the year it’s important to affiliate your goals with current industry trends. Technological advances, hiring practices and marketing strategies, for example, will all have an effect on the ambitions you have for your company and how you go about achieving them. Have a look at these topical business trends as you rethink your strategy for the forthcoming year:

Micro-influencer marketing – Micro-influencers are influencers with less than 100K followers, who can actually be a more effective marketing tool for your small business (as opposed to macro-influencers) as they have a more attainable lifestyle, and are thus easier for your target audience to relate to. It might be worth reaching out to this type of influencer as a marketing partner in 2018?

Artificial Intelligence – AI is the next big thing, everyone’s talking about it. If predictions are correct – that by 2020 AI will be a top five investment priority – then it’s time to start strategising. As a small business owner, this could mean investing in data collection, integrating AI into your small business and training your team for AI.

Cashless payments – While cash is currently the most popular means of payment, mobile payment is on the rise (and checks on the decrease), with 56 per cent of customers likely to pay in this way by 2020. Your business can keep up to date by adopting mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay; also offering in-app, in-browser and person-to-person (P2P) payment platforms.

Outsourcing – A growing trend, outsourcing is particularly useful for small businesses, which can outsource work in areas that are beyond allocated expertise – a bookkeeper, accountant, marketing strategist or social media manager are all examples of some such skills that might thrive on a pay-as-you-go hiring initiative.

Hiring ‘Gen Z’ employees – Born after 1998, Gen Z is making its presence known in the workforce but unlike ‘needy’ Millennials, Gen Z is more likely to be motivated by a steady salary than the pursuit of happiness, and will adapt quickly to technological advances (more so than any other previous generation).

Employees working remotely – This has the potential to save your small business money, as a result of an increase in employee productivity and a decrease in employee turnover (as per resent research).

For more information on any of these topics as well as other business trends to watch out for this year, read “10 Small Business Trends to Watch Out for in 2018” – Huffingtonpost.com.

Contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.co.uk if you have any energy queries relating to your home or business.

How energy efficient lighting can save your business money

We might be on our way to summer but in spite of the fact that days are getting lighter we’ll be using lights for a while yet because let’s face it; the days are still dark (morning and evening especially). But that doesn’t mean we can’t be thrifty!

Lights left on at night and a lack of attention to the number and placement of fittings in an office or business premises can not only be the cause of light pollution (no, really!) but is likely to hike energy costs way beyond what is necessary.

According to the buffs at the Energy Saving Trust; for the individual business, a lighting upgrade can bring quick payback. On average, 25 per cent of an organisation’s electricity costs come from lighting but a switch to lower-consuming LEDs can reduce this amount, in some cases by as much as 80 per cent.

A further benefit of LED lighting (as opposed to other options) is the controllability factor, which is great in an office where, for example, lights left on when everyone has gone home can be dimmed or even fully switched off remotely to make huge savings on overheads.

Whether you’re a coffee shop, a school, an office block or the local Oxfam, the benefits of LED lighting are tantamount to exceptional savings. Businesses and many local authorities are currently engaged in LED upgrades, and if you’d like to find out more the Energy Trust is running a series of workshops in 2018 through the Premium Light Pro project. The workshops aim to equip installers, planners and decision-makers with the knowledge and tools to drive an LED upgrade plan to completion – CLICK HERE to register.

Source: Energytrust.co.uk – “Bringing a brighter start to 2018”

If you’d like further information, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.