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Free apps can help UK SMEs of all types and sizes can significantly cut business energy bills quickly and simply. Find out how with our guide.
Nine in 10 small businesses are seeking to be more energy efficient according to research by the Federation of Small Businesses. One of the best ways to get control of energy outgoings is to monitor usage strictly. But, managing energy doesn’t have to dominate your working day.
Becky Toal is an energy app developer and MD of energy and environmental consultancy Crowberry Consulting. She is a firm believer that SMEs can make use of simple and accessible energy saving app technology.
Toal created a free iPad app to help businesses improve their energy-efficiency. Energy Review ranks devices that business energy power into high, medium and low energy categories. “All businesses, even small ones such as hairdressers and chip shop owners, can use the app to get an overview of what’s using the most energy at their site and can make behavioural and technology decisions about how to reduce and manage their energy consumption,” says Toal.
Business energy saving technology can work really hard for SMEs, storing information and calculating usage by simply maintaining a digital inventory of energy consuming items. “The algorithm behind the app does the maths and returns a red, green or amber rating for that device,” Toal explains. “Red means it’s using a lot of energy, amber means keep a watch and green means you don’t have to worry.”
Businesses can then consider energy-efficient options, says Toal. “If a device returns a red warning you can look at power management options, for example.”
In the lead up to a busy pre-holiday season, many SMEs will welcome the technology as it allows them to focus on increasing sales, rather than puzzling over which light fitting is haemorrhaging the most cash.
The automated number crunching means that the headache and daily grind of assessing excessive energy loss in the workplace will be a thing of the past. Toal’s app not only delivers energy consumption information in quick to action reports, it also distinguishes between devices and manufacturers.
“From a drop-down menu select the make and model of your device – computer, boiler or lights, for example. If your particular device isn’t listed you can add it as long as you’ve got the volts, amps or kilowatts for it – this information is normally on the plug.” The comparative functionality of the app will allow SMEs to directly see which products are poised to help them make savings.
Thanks to the user-friendly nature of apps such as Energy Review, small to medium sized businesses can nurture a culture of business energy awareness that anyone – not just business owners – can get excited about.
Asking employees to engage with data collection and assist with managing consumption is one way business owners can continue to manage their output without necessarily checking every switch at the end of a trading day. In fact, research has shown that employees want to be involved in energy saving.
By cultivating the awareness amongst employees, energy saving thinking will become second nature, explains Toal: “Does it need to be switched on 24 hours a day? Is there a power-down option? Can you look at the use of time switches? Look at the product specification so that when it comes to replacing that device you can look at more energy-efficient options.”
As SMEs gather energy consumption information from across their business, they’re plugging data into a wider inventory of energy consumption.
Without realising it, you will be taking steps towards an incredibly sophisticated energy management system, and comprehensively managing all of their outgoings from tiny spotlights, to floor buffers. With app technology aiding their energy savings, SMEs have the tools and data to become extraordinarily efficient and make significant savings.
Read more about the internet of things to discover how devices are becoming increasingly connected, and will help us understand more about energy consumption.
Apps are a great way to get cheaper business energy. But to cut business energy bills by 26%, the average saving of SwitchMyBusiness.com customers, is a tall order.
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