Energy consumption remains low as businesses face lockdown

As many businesses face yet another lockdown it comes as no surprise that energy consumption in the UK remains low as Covid-19 restrictions affect economic output, leisure, and travel – as reported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Whilst consumption has trended upwards since the record low in May it is still substantially below the same quarter of 2019.

Energy requirements for industrial use and services (shops, restaurants, offices etc.) are both down nearly 10 per cent on last year but the most notable fall is in transport demand, down 30 per cent. In particular, air transport demand has been affected, and is down nearly two-thirds on last year. It will certainly be interesting to see how this statistic fares in the first quarter of 2021, as the world isolates England to prevent the spread of the mutated coronavirus.

Covid-19 disruptions have resulted in a drop in oil and gas production. Coal production reached another record low and electricity generation from coal was down nearly 30 per cent on the same period last year, and now comprises just 0.7 per cent of total generation.
It’s always good to look on the bright side in the midst of a pandemic and economic recession, and the good news is that business energy bills should be lower and the environment slightly greener.

If you’d like to know more about how hydrogen boilers work, check out Boilerguide.co.uk or feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302
8149 or info@chsystems.cc for all your energy related questions.

Why Hydrogen Boilers will be the next big thing for eco-friendly industry

We’re living through a pandemic and are about to exit the EU – pretty dramatic – but there is still that pesky ‘world dying because of climate change’ thing looming in the periphery.

This month (thank goodness!) the Government announced a Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution (and the associated creation of 250,000 jobs). It’s an ambitious plan (that can be viewed on Gov.uk) but what will be of certain interest to business owners is what looks to be a massive investment in hydrogen as an alternative to gas.

Working with industry, the Government aims to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes, as well as the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade. Hydrogen is kinder to the environment, which is why the Government is trialling it as a heating fuel, and if all goes according to plan, it is very likely that your business will be asked (or required) to ‘go hydrogen’ in the not too distant future.

When our boilers burn fossil fuels carbon is released into the atmosphere which is damaging to the planet. When hydrogen is burned, it produces only water and heat with no carbon. Even if one was to use a combination of natural gas and hydrogen, carbon emissions would be significantly reduced. Not only that: hydrogen could be delivered to properties through the existing gas network, and hydrogen boilers would be installed in the same way as a gas boiler and look very similar too. They would be connected to the gas network, with fuel being delivered to the unit as and when heating and hot water is needed.

There are, however, some challenges to hydrogen as a solution to carbon emission – it is expensive to produce in large quantities and the production of hydrogen can produce carbon if not captured. Which is why, in the UK, we’re still in the testing phase. It is not yet possible to buy or install a hydrogen-ready boiler. However, manufacturers such as Baxi and Worcester Bosch have developed working prototypes – and if you’re interested, you can read more about the H21 Project (that is currently demonstrating how existing natural gas networks can be repurposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen) HERE.

In the meantime, if you need to replace your boiler, a modern condensing gas boiler will be able to be powered with the proposed 20% hydrogen supply and as and when a 100% hydrogen supply is ready in the future your boiler will be able to be modified.

If you’d like to know more about how hydrogen boilers work, check out Boilerguide.co.uk or feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302
8149 or info@chsystems.cc for all your energy related questions.

Are online meetings better for the environment?

Online meetings. Who knew that this is what would keep the world ticking over in 2020. Prime Ministers and Presidents have made decisions by Zoom vote and businesses have stayed afloat by engaging employees and clients onscreen. Many companies have gone as far as shutting office doors in favour of cyberspace after discovering that they can, in fact, get the job online as they did in person, pre-pandemic.

Whilst there are many cost-saving advantages of running a business rent-free, an interesting question that is gaining in momentum, is the cost of online meetings on the environment? It might seem quite obvious that if you’re not driving (or catching public transport) to a meeting you’re not polluting the air, which would make online meetings better for the environment (than meeting in person). Except, it’s not as simple as that.

Check out these following stats relating the to the streaming costs for online meetings (put together by digital expert Gerry McGovern):

  • A one-hour audio call consumes about 36 MB of data per person.
  • A one-hour standard-definition video call consumes about 270 MB per person.
  • A one-hour high-definition video call consumes about 540 MB per person.
  • A one-hour ultra-high-definition video call consumes about 1.3 GB per person.

Assuming an average of one one-hour meeting a day involving two people, 250 days a year, then:

  • The audio-only calls would emit 0.08 kg of CO2.
  • The standard-definition video calls would emit 0.6 kg of CO2.
  • The high-definition video calls would emit 1.1 kg of CO2.
  • The ultra-high-definition calls would emit 2.8 kg of CO2.

An average tree can absorb about 10 kg of CO2 per year. Here’s the equivalent number of people calling that would be required in order for it to be necessary to plant one tree in order to offset the pollution:

  • 270 people for audio only
  • 36 for standard-definition video
  • 18 for high-definition video
  • 7 people for ultra-high-definition video.

The average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars registered in the European Union in 2018 was 0.1204 kg of CO2 per kilometre. Thus, on a yearly basis:

  • The audio-only calls would be the equivalent of driving 0.7 of a km.
  • The standard definition video calls would be the equivalent of driving 5 km.
  • The high-definition video calls would be the equivalent of driving 9 km.
  • The ultra-high-definition calls would be the equivalent of driving 23 km.

Surprised? Probably. Although, the payoff doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable; 9 km for a year’s worth of meetings. Yet, McGovern suggests that streaming may represent no more than 5 percent of the total costs. There are also processing costs – like, saving and storing meetings, and viewing them at a later date, and what about costs relating to the devices used for the meetings?

The overall point is that digital is not necessarily green or greener. For example, what happens if far more meetings now occur online than were held offline? And more people attend these meetings – because they can; because it’s as simple as the click of a button?

Something we can do in our working life to limit the impact of digital meetings on the environment, is to be essential (holding only as many meetings as are necessary) and efficient (meeting for only as long as is necessary) – this consideration could make all the difference.

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

Top tips for downsizing your office space

With home-working a way of life for the foreseeable future, many businesses are downsizing their office space to save on overheads. Relocating is a great chance to re-evaluate your workspace; here are some top tips that will help you go smaller, easier:

      De-clutter – ditch equipment that no longer serves a purpose (and is not essential in your new, smaller space); you won’t want to waste time and money transporting IT equipment, desks and other office supplies that you don’t need.
      Space Saving Storage – if you need new furniture, maximise your smaller office space with pieces that have multiple uses; that double up as storage space, for example.
      Upgrade your tech – a new office is like a fresh start; if there’s any outdated IT equipment that you’ve been putting of updating, do it! Not only will it improve efficiency but it is also likely to be smaller and more streamlined, which will suit your reduced workspace.
      Outsource – think carefully about the function of your office, meetings in particular – how frequent they are and how much space you need – and decide whether it might be more cost-efficient to hire a conference room or meeting space in your local area.
      Clever design – you can make your new, smaller office appear spacious with some clever interior design tricks, such as bright or light paint, clear partitions, light-reflecting surfaces etc. that can create the illusion of space.

Importantly, don’t forget to alert your service providers when you move, and set up new accounts at your new address. Likely, smaller premises will also result in a reduction in energy – another handy business saving!

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

Sources: Xpoitservices.co.uk and Budgetandthebees.com

Government advice on ventilation in the workplace during coronavirus outbreak

With lockdown easing and the workplace adjusting to a new version of normal, offices that have managed to open back up for employees are doing so under the guidance of government. There are social distancing restrictions still in place at work, as well as procedures around movement in and around the office, hygiene and hand sanitisers, and the sharing of office equipment and lunch stations.

Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. Businesses were already required by law to ensure adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace – this continues to be the case. Considering ways to maintain and increase the supply of fresh air, for example, by opening windows and doors (unless fire doors) is of paramount importance during the current coronavirus outbreak, as it was before the pandemic.

The risk of air conditioning spreading coronavirus in the workplace is extremely low as long as there is an adequate supply of fresh air and ventilation.

The government advises that the continued use of most types of air conditioning systems is fine but if you use a centralised ventilations system that removes and circulates air to different rooms it is recommended that you turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply.

The government also advises that air conditioning systems that mix some of the extracted air with fresh air and return it to the room do not need to be adjusted, as this increases the fresh air ventilation rate. Also, systems in individual rooms or portable units do not need to be adjusted as these operate on 100 per cent recirculation. You should still, however, maintain a good supply of fresh air ventilation in the room.

Ultimately, the focus should be on improving general ventilation, preferably through fresh air or mechanical systems.

All government advice and guidelines can be found on hse.gov.uk and if you’re unsure, ask the advice of your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer or adviser.

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

Effects of lockdown could see UK emissions drop but climate change is still a threat

Over the strictest period of lockdown (March to May) in the UK, when people were confined to their home other than for essential purpose, analysis states that carbon emissions were reduced by 36 per cent. No cars on the road. Public transport at a minimum. Buildings not in use.

Sky News goes on to report that if we progress in a linear way, carbon emissions will reduce by 11 per cent this year – a much bigger drop than the 3 per cent target set by the Committee on Climate Change (based in the assumption that schools and businesses be back as usually by the beginning of October).

Whilst this is some good news in what has been (and continues to be) a dire situation for many, socially and economically, it is important to acknowledge that the dent we’ve made is just that – small. Richard Betts, a scientist at the UK’s Met Office, told National Geographic that the disruption in carbon emission only results in a tiny drop in the overall concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere because of how long the gas effectively lingers and accumulates.

This is no time for businesses and individuals alike to give up on green solution strategies. Working hard to deplete our carbon footprint is imperative, with the focus on three main areas: power, transport and buildings (accounting for 84 per cent of UK emissions) – reducing, reusing and recycling. Every business can do it – no matter how big or how small.

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

Why every business should manage their energy bills online: 5 benefits

Since the outbreak of coronavirus businesses the world over have been forced to adapt and survive – this has meant different things for different companies but one change that has been universal for most businesses, is managing your business energy online. It’s an obvious way to streamline procedures in a time when a quick chat over the desk to sort out a glitch or clarify an issue (right at the minute) is no possible.

Have a look at these five benefits of managing your business energy online:

1. You will have Global Access to your bills – whether you’ve vacated the city for time in the countryside or you’re on a business trip (or perhaps even on holiday), with internet access and a device, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your account and make payments if necessary.

2. With an online account there will no longer be a need for paper bills, which eliminates paper waste and is a great way for your company to Go Green without much effort. All the information you will need to run your account – see your bills, make payments, make changes – will be available online.

3. With many businesses running at reduced capacity, there is far less time to deal with endless call-waiting if you need information about your energy account – online chats might be a quicker option and you should be able to find a lot of the information you may need by accessing your account online. This is a massive Time Saving for you as a business owner or manager.

4. Submitting metre readings online could be the best way to Avoid Overpaying while your business premises are empty – this is very easy to do online, and especially useful when energy providers have stopped sending someone to read your metre as a result of lockdown restrictions and personnel shortages.

5. Managing your energy online gives you the option to check your balance at any time so there are no surprises, which helps you Stay In Control of your finances. You will be able to search specific payments, view consumption amounts, check balances, access payment history and oversee any irregular charges.

For more benefits, check out Britishgas.co.uk.

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

Reduced energy costs might encourage remote working out of lockdown

As lockdown measures ease up a little and employees start to make their way back into the office, many businesses are choosing to continue to implement remote working strategies, having realised that they can function effectively with employees working from home.

Whether this is to become the new norm remains to be seen but what is certain is that flexible working conditions have resulted in reduced costs, including a more energy efficient business operation.

Flexible working can average small organisation can save up to £7000, according to the Carbon Trust. Cutting energy costs by 20 per cent has the same effect on the bottom line as a 5 per cent increase in sales. Research also shows that a 10 per cent reduction in one person’s office hours leads to a 15 per cent decrease in their individual carbon footprint.

The cost saving resulting from reduced energy is significant but is not the only reason that business owners are more likely to continue with flexible working conditions going forward; physical and mental health is one of the most critical considerations when deciding on remote working flexibility.

In a recent survey by Flexjobs.com, respondents said that remote work could help them reduce stress and improve productivity by: reducing distractions during the work day (75 per cent) and interruptions from colleagues (74 per cent), keeping them out of office politics (65 per cent), allowing for a quieter work environment (60 per cent), and giving them a more comfortable (52 per cent) and personalised (46 per cent) work environment. With reduced exposure to pollution and germs, employees will also be healthier, physically, and less likely to take sick days.
Companies that give employees more control over when, where, and how they work through flexible work options are supporting the health and wellness of their workers – happier employees are more productive and this enhances not only the profitability of a business but a culture of positivity at work and amongst colleagues.

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

Sources: Britishgas.co.uk, Employernews.co.uk and mhanational.org

Gas Run in the North West

We carried out a commercial gas run for a client in the North West and thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase our work.

Massive thank you to Twelve Eighteen for putting this together.

Do businesses still have to pay for their energy during the coronavirus lockdown?

Coronavirus lockdown has resulted in the temporary suspension of many businesses (both small and large) or at least, reduced operations. Does this mean that companies still have to pay their energy bills?

The simple answer is yes. All business utility and energy bills are expected to be paid as normal including standing charges.

The good news is: your business is likely to be using less energy, which will reduce your energy costs! – Especially if no one is at work. (Just make sure all of your energy-sapping equipment is turned off at the mains, and turn off your heating!)

What if your small business is struggling to stay solvent and paying your bills is threatening the survivability of your company? – Good question.

Although there’s no financial help available for energy bills, suppliers have agreed with the government that no meters will be cut off during the coronavirus pandemic. As a business owner, your best course of action is to your supplier as soon as possible to explain the situation and work out an arrangement, which could include either of the following:

  • Debt repayments being reassessed, which could see them paused or cut.
  • Bill payments being reassessed, which could see them paused or cut.

It’s worth noting that whilst your energy supply might not be cut off during lockdown, if you don’t pay your bills you will fall into debt with your supplier – and steps can be take n to reclaim the debt (like put in a pre-payment meter).

There are a couple of things you can do to avoid falling into debt with your provider:

  1. Change supplier if you can get a better deal elsewhere. Just remember:
  • If you’ve been in debt with your supplier for more than 28 days, you won’t be able to switch until the debt is paid off.
  • You won’t be able to compare business energy deals until your current deal enters its switching window, which is usually between one and six months before its end date.
  1. Submit a meter reading. If you still have access to your business premises, and it’s safe to do so, you should provide a gas or electricity meter reading online. This way, if your business is closed, you’ll receive an accurate bill which will be lower because you’re using less energy. If your business is open, but on reduced operations, you’ll only pay for the energy you’re using.

Thank you to Britishgas.co.uk and Bionic.co.uk for the advice! Do visit these sites for further details.

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