5 ways to save water at work

It’s just been World Water Day (22 March) – as good a time as any to remember that not only is saving water a moral responsibility and good for the environment but it can save your business money, too.

Climate change is driving a global crisis in water shortages and the Government has advised that England will face a severe water shortage by 2050 unless we start saving this essential resource. Companies – small and large – can play their part. Here’s how:

  • Boil what you need – hot drinks are an essential part of a working day; save money, water and energy by only boiling the water you need.
  • Reduce food waste – it takes a lot of water to produce food and we waste a massive amount (4.5 million tonnes of food a year); when you are catering for lunches, events, conferences, don’t over-do it. Cater for what you need based on the numbers rather than an ‘in case you need more’ scenario.
  • Dishwashers save water – studies show that filling up a dishwasher so it’s a full load uses three to four times less water than if you were washing the same dishes by hand.
  • Turn off taps – a really obvious one but how often do you come across a dripping tap in your working day? Also be sure to fix leaks as drips cost resource, time and money when left too long.
  • Low flush toilet – old-style single-flush toilets use 13 litres of water for each flush. Modern dual-flush toilets use just 6 litres for a full flush, or 4 litres for a reduced flush.

These five simple tips can apply in a work-from home context as well as in the office, and whilst they might seem microcosmic in the grand scheme of water-saving they make a massive difference if everyone commits doing their bit.

For more water saving tips, visit Mirashowers.co.uk.

For more information on the survey, read “Which? Energy survey results” and for
all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302
or info@chsystems.cc.

Top 20 energy companies for 2021

Small businesses have had a tough time (to say the least) over the last year and although the end is
in sight, patience is never an easy thing when livelihoods are concerned. Small cuts in overheads can
make a difference to your company’s sustainability in the face of adversity, and it is worth keeping
track of top performing energy companies to make sure you are getting the best deal and best

Which? Recently rolled out its list of top energy providers for 2021, based on an annual survey of
nearly 8,000 respondents. Points of consideration when ranking providers were: bill accuracy, bill
clarity, customer service, complaints handling and value for money. Check out the results:

1. Outfox the Market
2. Octopus Energy
3. Avro Energy
4. People’s Energy
5. Pure Planet
6. So Energy
7. Utility Warehouse
8. Ovo Energy
9. Sainsbury’s Energy
10. Bulb Energy
11. Green Network Energy (*closed)
12. Green Energy UK
13. Utilita
14. Ecotricity
15. Utility Points
16. Bristol Energy
17. Shell Energy
18. Boost
19. British Gas
20. EDF Energy

Eon, SSE, Scottish Power and Npower make up the rest of the list.

According to the survey, price is the most important consideration for most people when choosing a
new energy supplier; it therefore makes sense that the highest-scoring energy companies are
considered good value for money by their customers. It is important to note that being rated good
value for money by customers doesn’t mean an energy supplier is the cheapest on the market – a
provider may have good customer service, which saves customers time and makes the company
more valuable in their estimation.

For more information on the survey, read “Which? Energy survey results” and for
all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302
or info@chsystems.cc.

How to create a business energy strategy for 2021

With green recovery driving the government’s economic policy and the UK on a mission to decarbonise all of its sectors, businesses will need to be strategic and forward thinking in their energy use and policy. Here are some top tips to help businesses achieve this great goal of sustainability:

  • Understanding – what are the needs of your business? To make predictions on how much power you will need now, and in the future, you must first understand how energy drives production and value in your company.
  • Assessment – how much energy does your business use? Who supplies this energy? What is the environmental impact of your business?
  • Targets – once you have figured out the why and how, you can begin to adapt. Setting both short-term and long-term targets for your business is essential to reducing your carbon footprint. The ultimate goal is to be a carbon-neutral business.
  • Engagement – employees, from senior management down to executives, need to buy-in to the business’s ‘go green’ policy for targets to be met. Communication is key here.
  • Leadership – assign the ‘energy reduction/management’ project to someone in the business, who can lead and champion sustainable energy use across the entire organisation.
  • Creativity – it’s likely that your business will have to balance economic and environmental priorities, which might require some lateral thinking to meet targets. Alternative sources of energy, like battery storage or solar power, can minimise costs and reduce carbon emissions – be open to using different sources.
  • Accountability – track your progress (there is great software available to monitor energy use) and assess the results at regular intervals, adjusting your strategy in order to meet targets.

The reality is that businesses don’t really have a choice in the matter – the country is going green and companies (as well as homeowners and road users) need to get on board; it is exciting to be a part of an initiative to save our planet.

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

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.