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      Upgrade your tech – a new office is like a fresh start; if there’s any outdated IT equipment that you’ve been putting of updating, do it!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.

Five minor boiler problems that you could solve yourself

With businesses and home owners restricted by the rules of social distancing, isolation and lockdown, it might not be as easy to get a heating engineer to tend to your boiler emergency at the minute. The good news is that whilst it is always advisable to have a professional take care of most boiler repairs, not all problems need an engineer’s expertise. You might be able to solve the problem yourself.

The pros at British Gas highlight five common boiler problems that could be resolved by you at home or work. Have a look:

  1. Low pressure

Symptoms

  • Your boiler switches itself off
  • Your central heating makes banging sounds
  • Your upstairs radiators, or those furthest from the boiler, stop heating.

What to do?

Fixing this usually takes little more than a tweak of the filling loop on your boiler. So if the pressure gauge on your boiler control panel reads less than 1 bar, carefully use your valve to increase it to between 1 and 1.5.

Just bear in mind that you might have to reset your boiler once you’ve re-pressurised the system, so check your manufacturer’s guide for details on how to do this.

  1. Problem with settings

Symptoms

  • Your boiler doesn’t come on when it should, or comes on erratically
  • The boiler doesn’t fire up
  • You have an error displaying (or a blank panel) on your thermostat.

What to do?

Your timer settings may have changed if you’ve had a power cut, or someone’s accidentally knocked the panel. So double check and adjust them if you need to, using your boiler manual if you’re unsure. Check that the central heating dial on the boiler control panel is turned up too.

Next, check the thermostat settings. If the temperature is set below 21℃ your boiler might not fire up, so increase the temperature to see if this helps. If there’s nothing displayed on the thermostat panel you might need to replace the batteries.

  1. Pilot light gone out

Symptoms

  • There’s no visible pilot light on your boiler
  • Your boiler won’t fire up.

What to do?

A pilot light can blow out for a number of reasons, but you should be able to reignite it by following the instructions on your boiler.

  1. Boiler locks out and needs resetting

Symptoms

  • The lock-out (red) light on your boiler keeps coming on
  • Your boiler control panel displays an error code
  • The boiler won’t fire up

What to do?

Sometimes a simple reset is all that’s needed. You should find your boiler reset button somewhere on the front control panel. If you can’t locate it, take a look at your boiler manual then follow the instructions on how to reset the system. If this doesn’t work you could try switching the boiler off and then on again.

  1. Frozen condensate pipe

Symptoms

  • The boiler makes gurgling sounds when you try to use it
  • Your boiler won’t fire up
  • The temperature outside has been particularly cold

What to do?

Try thawing it yourself by applying hot (but not boiling) water and a warm compress – like a hot water bottle – directly to the pipe.

If these simple solutions don’t work it could mean that you have a more serious problem with your boiler. Also note that it’s only safe to perform the most minor boiler repairs yourself. If you’re in doubt about any of the above do not hesitate to call your trusted technician, who will be able to advise you on the best course of action, perhaps even as your make the repair yourself.

For further details on any of the aforementioned repairs, visit Britishgas.co.uk which has videos and more detailed explanations on how to conduct these minor repairs.

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

Where are boilers more likely to break down?

New research suggests a link between hard water areas and the frequency of boilers breaking down. After a thorough examination of properties across Great Britain, 2020’s UK Boiler Breakdown Study ranks areas from best to worst when it comes to boiler reliability:

  1. Scotland (1.79%)
  2. Yorkshire and the Humber (1.97%)
  3. North West (1.92%)
  4. South West (1.97%)
  5. Wales (2.05%)
  6. South East (2.11%)
  7. East (2.17%)
  8. East Midlands (2.21%)
  9. North East (2.42%)
  10. West Midlands (2.75%)
  11. London (2.91%)

Interestingly, boilers in Scotland are the most resilient against breakdowns, in spite of the fact that average temperatures across Scotland are decidedly lower when compared than the rest of the UK mainland. In 2019, the average temperature north of the border was just 7.9 °C, compared to England (10.4 °C) and Wales (9.7 °C), suggesting that: either Scottish boilers are more resilient to the colder conditions or residents are more reluctant to turn them on when it gets cold.

London properties are shown to have experienced the largest number of boiler-related problems over the course of last year. In general, Northern regions fared better than the rest of the UK when it came to reliability.

Just behind Scotland in the rankings are North West (1.92%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (1.97%) – also the areas with the softest water in the country.

There is also a link between home ownership and the percentage of boilers breaking down, according to the study, with areas dominated by rental properties (such as London, the North East and the West Midlands) experiencing more frequent breakdowns. This is likely due to tenants not keeping a close eye on the condition of their boiler or not living in a property for a long enough time to notice any changes.

David Holmes, the founder of Boiler Guide, says: “…when looking at areas towards the other end of the scale, London is synonymous with having an abundance of ‘older’ residential and commercial properties, with many containing older heating systems that are in dire need of repair. Coupled with the higher occupancy rates and the dense population of the region, the strain put on boilers and other home heating systems is hard to ignore.”

It’s imperative that boilers are serviced at least once a year by a Gas Safe engineer so that irregularities can be picked up and fixed before any major breakdown occurs. Whether you’re a home owner or managing a commercial property; maintaining  your boiler will ensure that it works efficiently, effectively and safely.

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

Source: Pham News

How does your business consume and spend money on energy?

Do you feel like you’re overspending on energy? Check out the latest stats to see where your company sits in comparison to the average:

The cost of running your office is dependent on many factors but what is the average cost for a micro, small and medium office? Check out the following stats:

Business size:

Micro 5,000-15,000 kWh
Small 15,000-30,000 kWh
Medium 30,000-50,000 kWh

** A kilowatt-hour (or kWh) is the unit of energy utility companies use to measure how much gas and electricity you’re using.

The factors (mentioned above) that contribute to how much energy your company uses…here’s a breakdown of appliance usage based on a standard variable business tariff (c. 18p pkWH):

Air con 29.15%
Light fittings 26.12%
Computers 10.91%
Vending Machine 6.05%
Water Cooler 6.05%
Kettles 4.66%
Fridge 3.33%
Printers 3.02%
Hand dryers 2.59%
Microwaves 1.73%
TV screens 1.71%
Laptops 1.27%
Dishwasher 1.04%
Toasters 1.04%
Coffee machine 0.86%
Desk fans 0.48%

Electricity is a necessity for running an office, but what might surprise you is which appliances are costing you the most. The total cost of running this model office was £10,423 in energy bills alone.

Your business might be a lot smaller but the above model provides an idea of what appliances are costing you the most – and where you might be able to cut down on use.

Another really interesting statistic is that 46 per cent of business energy is consumed outside of 8am-6pm – as found by British Gas. This highlights a need for improved energy efficiency such as ensuring computers, lights, kitchen appliances are turned off. And to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible, compare energy providers regularly to see how much money you could save!

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

Source: Finder