Increasingly, the UK’s largest energy suppliers are leading communications with their business customers on energy.
This is to position themselves effectively in the market, and to lead low carbon change. It’s an encouraging sign of more open dialogue.
So, in this enlightened age of supplier communications, what news lies within Eon’s whitepaper: Switched On; The Business Of Energy Efficiency?
The headline takeaways
For a start, of the 752 companies surveyed by Eon, a fifth spends more than £250,000 a year on energy. But worryingly, plenty still see energy as a fixed cost.
Even more remarkably, Eon finds that ESOS hasn’t altered this. “ESOS is meant to encourage large businesses to undertake low- and no-cost measures identified by the energy audits,” says Charmaine Coutinho, Principal Analyst at energy research consultancy Delta-ee.
“However, our understanding is that there hasn’t been a lot of uptake of the recommendations. It has been more of a tick-box exercise.”
At Greenlite, this is concerning news. We know that implementing ESOS recommendations, especially in the field of smart LED lighting, is one of the quickest and easiest wins your ESOS report throws up.
Therefore, we make it clear; we are happy to talk to customers, anytime, who are struggling to discover how to put ESOS recommendations on lighting into practice.
The business bottom line
Eon also finds that while the benefits of sustainability are becoming more universally accepted, it appears many still hold the belief this comes at a cost to their business bottom line.
“This commonly held belief simply isn’t true,” comments Bob Hall, Managing Director, Greenlite. “Every investment in energy efficiency has a cost, but one sets this against the payback of the more efficient lighting technology as you move into the future.
“The Telegraph, which partnered up on the Eon report, writes that LED lighting if implemented, offers a typical payback period of 2 to 5 years,” he continues.
So the problem for UK efficiency is it’s still the simple things that firms are missing out on. The Telegraph advises that most businesses could reduce energy costs by up to 20% just by making simple changes.
Hope lies in retail
Clearly there are worrying elements within Eon’s findings. But the whitepaper also quotes Munish Datta, Marks & Spencer (M&S) Head of Plan A.
“We have experienced huge benefits from engaging our store colleagues in energy efficiency,” he tells Eon.
Mr Datta added that the company goes “beyond compliance” when it comes to energy efficiency, having reduced its energy use by 39% per sq ft in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
M&S is a known leader on energy efficiency, but why does Eon find such a disparity between this firm and other sectors?
“We work with a lot of retailers,” comments Hall. “Eon’s research says that energy plays such an important part in the overall costs of retail, that two-thirds of those in the sector think it should be a board level issue.”
And herein lies the key. Retail customers can’t be too hot, cold, or too brightly or harshly lit. They simply won’t buy; energy spent on heat or light therefore directly impacts profit and turnover.
This direct business imperative leads retailers to engage with energy efficiency, and LED lighting, where other sectors don’t; they don’t see the immediate cash and business need.
“This, for me, is the key finding from Eon’s work,” says Hall. “If retailers are up to speed on efficient lighting, why are other sectors failing? And what can we do about it?
“Come and talk to us at Greenlite. We can simplify and explain how energy smart lighting can help every operation, regardless of your business sector.”