As a construction business owner, you’ve likely considered how much energy your business is using, and how much it’s costing you. But trying to reduce your consumption and, in turn, costs, can seem like a mammoth task. However, there are lots of simple steps you can take now that will make a big difference going forwards. In this blog, we’ll break things down into 6 easy steps, so you can reduce energy consumption in your construction business today.
Reduce Energy Consumption with Considerate Construction Machinery Usage
Heavy machinery and tools are indispensable on construction sites, but their power-hungry nature can lead to excessive energy consumption. Using machinery in a considerate way is key to reducing the amount of power used. Here are some tips to help reduce energy usage from machinery:
- Clearly label all switches and controls on machinery and ensure that all staff members understand their operation. This will enable them to operate the equipment more efficiently and deactivate machines when appropriate.
- Always switch off motors, fans, and conveyors before leaving the site or at the end of the workday.
- Conduct regular checks on construction equipment, to stop any energy wastage caused by faults. Air compressors are one of the main culprits of this, with leaky compressors wasting up to 30% of the compressors output and costing a significant amount in unnecessary electricity.
Use Energy Efficient Appliances Where Possible
Replacing current appliances with energy efficient ones may have to be a gradual process, but start with smaller items like kettles and toasters and work your way up. There are still some quick-to-implement processes you can adapt though, to help reduce the amount of energy your existing appliances consume.
- Encourage your team to switch off laptops and PCs when not in use, and check the switches yourself at the end of the day. Most modern devices also feature a power-saving setting, which can reduce energy consumption even when in use.
- Switch off and unplug the kettle when not in use, and consider upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient model. Encourage ‘tea rounds’ to reduce the amount of times the kettle is boiled and cut down the amount of water boiled unnecessarily.
- Reduce the brightness of computer monitors from 100% to 70%. This can cut their energy consumption by 20%. If you use CAD software or have an office team to look after admin duties, this could be a quick win.
- Wait until the dishwasher is fully loaded before running it, rather than washing utensils as soon as they are finished with by staff.
- Invest in appliances like fridges and freezers with a good energy rating, ideally A-rated or A+++ for older appliances. The Energy Saving Trust can provide useful advice for finding energy-efficient appliances.
Try These Heating Tips to Reduce Construction Energy Costs
When you’re working in the UK, cold weather is a given, so it’s inevitable that heating will contribute significantly to your energy costs. However, by controlling your heating and implementing some regular processes, you can start to reduce your energy consumption. Here are 7 quick ideas:
- Winter insulation is a great way to reduce heating bills. Consider the type of insulation that is best for your building.
- Insulate your water tanks and piping. Heat reflectors can also help to prevent heat from escaping your office space.
- Regular maintenance of your heating systems ensures that your heaters and boilers function efficiently.
- Ensure that your radiators operate effectively by keeping them free from obstructions such as furniture or storage boxes placed directly in front of them.
- Prevent individual staff members getting too hot or cold, by keeping desks away from radiators and air conditioning units.
- Make sure that you turn off air-conditioning after staff leave the office. You can also use smart heating controls to heat your office space only when necessary.
- Assign a designated person to manage the heating. This will reduce waste, stop temperature being constantly turned up and down, and ensure that your office is heated appropriately throughout the year.
Make Quick Lighting Changes to Help Reduce Consumption
Efficient use of lighting can significantly reduce your energy bills. Start with a few simple steps:
- Maximise natural light by repositioning shelves, storage units, or machinery to unblock windows in your office or warehouse spaces.
- Turn off lights when not in use. Contrary to popular belief, turning lights on and off does not consume more energy than leaving them on for long periods.
- Install motion sensor lights in areas with low occupancy, or areas used for short bursts of time, such as kitchens and staff rooms.
- Replace older bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting. According to the Renewable Energy Hub, LED lighting can save up to 90% on energy compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. LEDs also have a longer lifespan, are eco-friendly, and produce maximum illumination immediately.
Educate staff members on energy efficient processes
Educating your staff on how to save energy will increase the effectiveness of your efforts and help you see results sooner. You can start to roll out processes among staff by:
- Conducting a staff meeting or sending an email to inform everyone about energy-saving measures they can take.
- Delegating energy management tasks to your site managers to ensure everyone is on board and taking responsibility for reducing waste.
- Sharing your successes and challenges in saving energy to motivate your team and foster a culture of energy conservation.
- Putting up ‘Best Practice’ posters in communal areas.
- Rewarding staff who go the extra mile to help reduce consumption.
Reduce Energy Consumption in Your Construction Business with Regular Energy Efficiency Audits
Regular energy efficiency audits are essential for construction businesses looking to reduce their energy consumption and save money. By identifying which aspects of your business consume the most energy, you can take steps to become more energy efficient over time. Using the tips above, you can start to create energy efficiency plans to implement across your business.
One way to conduct business energy efficiency audits is to evaluate your energy usage throughout the day. For example, you may notice that staff use more power during certain times of the day, such as when they arrive at the office to check emails, charge tools, or make coffee. By identifying these patterns, you can encourage your staff to be more mindful of their energy use, or consider alternative ways to reduce energy consumption during peak times.
Another way to reduce energy consumption in your construction business is to assess your in-house operations. If your business has a workshop or warehouse, you may be using a lot of energy to power tools and equipment. By keeping an eye on energy efficiency during these projects, you can save money on your energy bills over time.
It’s a good idea to have a single person in charge of running your energy audits, such as your facilities manager or an admin assistant, as they will start to notice patterns and have a good grasp of where energy is being used. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour each month to meet with this person, and start to formulate plans to lower energy usage.
Ready to Start Saving?
As well as implementing the tips above, you need the right energy supplier to help you reduce costs and create a more sustainable construction business. If you’d like to get a quote, just visit our online business energy quote page or call 01159 711 171.
For more information on how we can help your construction business, check out our page on business energy for construction companies.