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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

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.

Top business energy users in the UK

The more people there are, the greater demand there is…on everything; goods, services and, yes, energy. Businesses have to keep up and in 2017/18 the amount of energy used in the UK grew by 1.1 per cent; the highest amount of energy since 2013. The Government stats are in and the UK’s top 10 biggest business energy consumers are:

  1. Commercial and miscellaneous services – 14,575 ktoe
  2. Public administration – 5,647 ktoe
  3. Manufacturing and industrial services – 3,774 ktoe
  4. Chemical manufacturing – 3,668 ktoe
  5. Food, drink and tobacco manufacturing – 3,110 ktoe
  6. Mineral products manufacturing – 2,689 ktoe
  7. Printing and publishing – 1,890 ktoe
  8. Agriculture – 1,584 ktoe
  9. Mechanical engineering – 1,567 ktoe
  10. Iron, steel and metal manufacturing – 1,507 ktoe

And here’s where it was used:

  • Transport – 40 per cent
  • Domestic – 29 per cent
  • Industry – 16 per cent
  • Services – 15 per cent

Where does your business sit in the stats? And are you using more energy to meet service/industry demand?

The good news is that although energy consumption is on the rise (due to an increase in population), consumption of natural gas grew by 1.6 mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) and the consumption of bioenergy continues to increase. The consumption of natural gas has also increased more than tenfold from 3,662 ktoe in 1970 to 43,787 ktoe in 2018.

As business owners it’s important o do what we can to mitigate our impact on the environment. For all your energy related questions, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Source: Gazprom-energy.co.uk

Boiler Installation

A recent commission saw the team at CH Systems working in a small plant room to replace two floor standing Potterton Kingfisher boilers with two 50Kw Potterton Sirius condensing boilers. As the existing system was of some age we also installed a plate heat exchanger along with new pumps and gas line. Check it out…

The effect of Bank Holidays on business revenue

Bank Holidays are a wonderful opportunity for respite in a busy work schedule – whether you’re spending time with family or taking time out for yourself. And yet interestingly, research suggests that bank holidays (although there are only eight of them in the UK) can cost small businesses thousands in revenue.

According to a report by Yell Business, UK small businesses could potentially lose £2,250 each if they opt to close on every bank holiday. In spite of this potential for loss, just 26 per cent of businesses open their doors on bank holidays – despite 86 per cent of the public saying they specifically use the day to shop around (making it worth a business’s while to stay open!).

Of course, the effect of a bank holiday on a business depends largely on the type of business in question. For example, just 42 per cent of retail, catering and leisure businesses operate as normal – though it’s suggested many more should consider opening too.

Essentially, knowing your business and your customer base will help you determine whether it’s in your best interest to stay open on a bank holiday. Also have a look at your sales data and make an informed decision. And if you decide to close you business; plan for it – let your employees know whether they are working or not and log opening and closing hours on your business website.

As for the team at CH Systems – we’re always available to look after your heating and plumbing needs. 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 and Is4profit.com

Four ways to cut energy costs and grow your business

Following a survey of over 1,000 energy decision-makers around the world, new research by Centrica Business Solutions has found that, more and more, organisations are starting to take control of their energy. Data shows that:

  • 1 in 3 businesses are exploring how energy can contribute to growth, greater efficiencies and reduced business risk.
  • Organisations with a well documented energy strategy are 2.5x more likely to be efficient, well run and financially robust.
  • 40 per cent of companies have significantly reduced energy costs after investing in advanced energy solutions.

In response to this information, Centrica has highlighted four proven opportunities that can be woven into business strategy in an effort to transform energy performance:

  1. Energy Insight – using energy data to create deeper insights and improve operational efficiency. By monitoring equipment with low-cost, wireless sensors, customers can quickly gain deep and insightful energy analytics, enabling them to pinpoint where energy waste is occurring and spots potential equipment failures before they happen.
  2. Energy Efficiency – reduce energy costs with innovative technology and solutions. An example of this is: replacing traditional light fittings with LED lighting, which is 90 per cent more efficient!
  3. Reduce your reliance on the grid with Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Using CHP on-site generation can reduce energy costs by up to 40 per cent, and unlock greater sustainability benefits by using renewable methane rich bio-gas to fuel the CHP process. By providing a stable, secure energy supply your site resilience is enhanced, protecting you from energy supply disruption.
  4. Improve sustainability with Solar and strengthen your brand reputation. Solar energy is one of the most cost effective methods of improving both financial and environmental performance.

Lastly, here’s a nifty little stat to cajole you onto the road of energy transformation: if you cut your energy costs by 20 per cent, you can gain the same bottom-line benefit as a 5 per cent rise in sales.

To find out more about how to implement any of the above energy opportunities, read: “Rethinking energy for better business performance” on Centricabusinesssolutions.com.

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

Why self-sustaining gyms are on the rise in the workplace

As a business owner, have you ever thought about a self-sustaining gym? As in…you and your employees expend energy and save the business energy with simultaneous effect?

Britishgas.co.uk recently wrote about a health club in Bristol – The Cadbury
Club – that has become one of the first gyms in the world to the ARTIS Technogym machines.

ARTIS uses unique technology that reduces energy use, recycling and renewing energy. The energy expended by people using the equipment is rerouted into the network and renewed to feed the gym – hence the term ‘self-sustaining’ gym.

So, why a gym at work when there’s one around just about every corner? Well – just becausethere are gyms, it doesn’t mean people will use them. A healthy lifestyle may improve workforce productivity and by hosting a gym at work, the ‘convenience factor’ could encourage employees to get fit, which in turn should increase work ethic – exercise produces endorphins aiding employees with more self-confidence and energy. As long as it’s fun and
voluntary.

The idea behind self-powering gym workstations is that you can use them easily to include a ‘little and often’ exercise routine into your normal working day. And if they don’t cost the business money to run…why not?

If self-sustaining gyms take off in the office environment, they could reroute workforce energy to feed the business, not just the gym! Certainly something to think about.

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

Source: Britishgas.co.uk – “Worlplace workouts: Self-powering gym workstations”

What if Wimbledon could power your computer?

Federer did it again. Of course he did; the man’s a machine! With eight Wimbledon championships under his belt Roger Federer has broken the record for most championship wins.

It’d be interesting to know exactly how much energy the tennis star has had to produce over the years as he’s wacked his way into the annals of sporting fame. In fact, Britishgas.co.uk has investigated this very idea. OK, not relating to Federer per se; more about the amount of energy generated at Wimbledon from crowds cheering in the stands to tennis pros burning mega calories as they play.

Apparently, men’s finalists burn an average of 2100 calories per championship match; an energy output of over 2.50kWh! A woman’s final produces more than 150kWh. How does this translate practically (hypothetically)?

Well – on average, your laptop computer uses between 50W – 100W when in use, which means that the power of seven men’s finals would generate enough energy to power your laptop for a year! Five men’s finals could keep an LED lightbulb (typically lasting between 20,000 to 50,000 hours) shining for more than two years!

One woman’s final could keep your iPad charged for a year.

Impressed? Just wait. The London marathon – you know it, right? Before the race (which took place on April 23), a total of 253,930 people were expected to participate. With this statistic in mind; if a single participant competing in the marathon uses an equivalent 3.045 kWh of energy, then the total amount of energy consumed by the entire marathon is a mammoth 752.3 mWh.

Imagine your business could employ its own personal Roger Federer or better yet; a team of pro runners, to create enough energy to power the workstations on your premises? Sustainable and cost-effective, surely? Nice to dream. But who knows – we live in a world where anything and everything is possible!

If you have any energy queries relating to your home or business, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Sources: Britishgas.co.uk – “Wimbledon: How much energy can tennis pros generate?” and “The power produced by runners competing in the London Marathon”

Keep the air cool and cost-effective in your business this summer

One might assume that because winter’s over and the heating is finally off, that energy costs will take a dip but this is not necessarily the case! There’s nothing more uncomfortable than working in a scorching hot office, which is why businesses tend to crank the air conditioning with little hesitation – and cold air costs! But there are ways to help your business save money this summer:

  • Service and repair (if necessary) your current air conditioning system, to keep it running smoothly and efficiently; preventing inconvenient costs from cropping up throughout the summer months.
  • Keep the cool air in by insulating your business premises, and if using air conditioning remember to keep windows and doors shut to keep the cool air from flowing out.
  • According to the Energy Department, you can save as much as 10 per cent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 3°-4°C for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.
  • The days are longer, which presents the perfect opportunity for businesses to take advantage of natural lighting. Fluorescent bulbs use around 75 per cent less energy than the standard light bulbs but apart from that, why not figure out where the sun will be and when, and rearrange the layout of your business space accordingly? Move desks around so that they are not in direct line with the main window when the sun is beaming in throughout the afternoon. This way you can keep your blinds open and your lights off.
  • Using a fan can help increase the efficiency of an air conditioning system.
  • If you’re not using an air conditioner, open windows and doors to ventilate the office and relax business dress to keep staff cool and happy at work.
  • Turn off anything that creates heat when not in use, such as printers and monitors.

For more excellent tips on how to cut down on energy costs this summer, read “Summer energy tips: How to cut down on costs” on Britishgas.co.uk.

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

Business leaders share tips on how to minimise energy use

New smart meter data has revealed that small businesses use 46 per cent of their total electricity between 6pm and 8am – when no one is at work (usually). The experts from Britishgas.co.uk reckon that a few simple changes could cut office energy bills by up to 20 per cent!

In an effort to help companies save costs on energy, business leaders taking part in The Business Show, the UK’s largest business exhibition, discussed the importance of saving energy as well as what they do to cut down on their energy use at work, and here’s what they came up with:

“We had a survey done of hoe energy efficient we are and, off the back of that, we changed a number of things; we changed the way our light switches work so if you leave the room they’ll turn off automatically.” – Steven Bartlett (social media agency Social Chain).

“I think energy efficiency is vital. Not only does it save you money but, in this world that we live in, we have to preserve energy.” – Touker Suleyman (Dragon’s Den).

“It’s never been an easier time, with the internet and mobile apps, that you can monitor [energy use] in real time.” – Jonathan Dowden (Sage One)

“I think that there are huge savings that you can make in smart metering. You can actually take really big steps to cut your bills.” – Bill Morrow (founder and CEO of Angels Den investment platform).

“Even if it’s just a start and you roll things out in a sequence…make sure everything is on standby or switched off.” – Annie Hunter (Consultant, How2)

“If you can be energy efficient and reduce your energy costs then, absolutely, every penny counts in a small business, in a growing business; therefore [energy saving] is vitally important.” – Brett Akker (Founder, Lovespace).

If you’d like further information on how your business can cut down on energy costs, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Source: Britishgas.co.uk – “Business leaders discuss how they cut down on energy bills.”