Although arts, entertainment and leisure cover a wide range of business types, they all have one thing in common; they can benefit from reduced energy consumption. From saving money on your business utilities, to boosting your brand perception, an energy efficient and environmentally friendly business is much more apt to succeed in today’s climate of economic uncertainty and eco consciousness.
Our guide will cover some general energy saving tips that everyone can take on board, as well as industry-specific advice, so you can get the most out of your energy supply.
Why Reducing Your Energy Consumption is Important
For businesses in the arts, entertainment and leisure industry, reducing your energy consumption can have a positive effect on your financial outgoings. By ensuring buildings are well maintained, employees are up to date on best practices, and machinery is regularly serviced, you could see significant savings on your energy bills. Sustainability is also a good look for any business, regardless of your visitor demographics. According to the Office for National Statistics ONS, 77% of people aged over 70, and 67% aged 16-29 described themselves as ‘very worried’ about the threat of climate change and would be more inclined to support businesses that are seen to be implementing sustainable practices.
Understanding Your Energy Consumption
Whether you’re a music venue, cinema, art gallery or a gym, before you can make any changes, the first thing you need to do is understand how you use your energy. What are your biggest outgoings? Does your usage fluctuate throughout the year? Do you have any non-negotiables when it comes to your equipment/facilities and the energy they use? By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to create a plan of action and identify the area(s) for you to start making your savings.
A great way for you to monitor your energy consumption is with a smart meter. Smart meters allow you to gain insights into your usage, whilst also providing accurate readings to your supplier without you having to manually take and submit readings yourself. This means you will only be paying for the energy you use, with no estimated extras.
You could also consider undertaking an energy audit of your business. This is an in-depth assessment of your premises to evaluate your current levels of efficiency and highlight the areas you should work to improve on.
General Energy Saving Tips for the Arts, Entertainment and Leisure Industry
Regardless of the specifics of your business, one of the most important things you can do to reduce your energy usage is to keep on top of your maintenance and repairs. Faulty appliances can be big culprits when it comes to overusing energy and could even cause fires and further damage if not properly cared for. Scheduling regular maintenance and safety checks is vital, both in ensuring energy efficiency and general safety.
Changing your lighting is an easy and cost-effective way to bring your expenses down. By introducing light sensors in areas that are not always in constant use, such as toilets, changing rooms and corridors, you can avoid wasting energy lighting up spaces that aren’t being used. You could also set these lights to auto-dim, if you want to avoid dark spaces in your building.
Whilst heating and air conditioning remain one of the largest contributors to energy usage, improving your building’s insulation and ventilation can help reduce your reliance on them. For example, investing in draft insulation strips is an inexpensive and effective way to block out cold air, meaning you may not have to use your heating as much. Ensuring that your air vents are unobstructed and functional in warmer weather can also help reduce your need for air conditioning.
Think about switching to a renewable energy supply to reduce your impact on the environment. You may want to install solar panels or wind turbines on your premises to help reduce your energy bills. Alternatively, if installing your own generators is too big of an initial investment, you could source a green business energy contract. Look for contracts that are backed by official accreditation, such as REGO, to ensure your energy is either generated by renewable sources, or carbon offset.
Energy Saving Tips by Industry
Sports and Leisure Centres
Leisure centres and sports facilities are one of the biggest energy consumers in their industry, with long opening hours, large premises, and lots of energy-intensive equipment., It comes as little surprise that the University of Cardiff found that energy costs can account for up to 30% of running costs for leisure centres.
- If you have a swimming pool in your leisure centre, a pool cover is a great way to reduce your heating costs. By using a pool cover, you will be able turn your heating down or off overnight, slashing your heating costs. It may be a relatively costly investment, but the money saved in energy bills could pay back the cost of the cover in as little as 18 months to three years.
- Fitting cardio-vascular gym equipment with clear on/off switches and encouraging customers to turn their machines off after use is another great way to save energy, whilst demonstrating to your customers that you have sustainability in mind.
- Introducing variable speed pumps (VSPs) for your pool is another effective way of reducing your outgoings. VSPs are growing in popularity as they can adapt their speed depending on the demand required of them (Lower speeds equal less energy used) as opposed to fixed speed pumps which operate at a set speed.
Theatres and Cinemas
Whilst it is important not to economise on luxury too much – you still want to provide a comfortable, immersive, and maybe even magical experience for your guests – there are still things you can do to cut your energy bills without compromising on customer experience.
- Try switching your lighting to LED, not only does LED lighting use up to 75% less energy, but they can also be used to create vibrant and customisable effects, enhancing your visitors experience.
- Be selective about your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system usage by ensuring you are not wasting energy on heating or cooling cinema screens or auditoriums that aren’t currently being used.
- If a lot of your screenings or performances only sell to half capacity, consider reducing the number of screenings you show, and move your performances to more popular times, to try and increase head count per screening whilst reducing your energy costs significantly.
Art galleries and museums
Although not directly related to saving on costs, museums and galleries have the opportunity to educate visitors on sustainability. For example, showcasing art using recycled materials, or exhibitions detailing the history of renewable energy.
Some ways museums and art galleries can reduce their consumption include:
- If you have very old or fragile art that requires a certain temperature to stay preserved, consider moving them to different spaces so they are not affected if you start changing your HVAC, or consider using display cases instead.
- Encourage visitors to use stairs rather than lifts, you could even place art on the walls leading up the staircase to make things more interesting.
- Try adding automatically closing doors leading from room to room – don’t leave or prop them open as this will mean your HVAC systems will have to work harder to maintain your desired temperature.
- Fit certain rooms or exhibitions with light sensors. Not only will this reduce your consumption but could help visitors to focus on one piece at a time.
Libraries and community centres
Often seen as ‘pillars of the community’, libraries and community centres cater to a wide range of visitor demographics. They also often provide free services, meaning that reducing the money spent on energy bills can be paramount to sustaining the business.
- If you have areas with lots of computers, make sure you change the settings so that they go into sleep mode after a period of inactivity. You could also consider swapping some of your PCs for laptops, as they use significantly less energy.
- Consider hosting workshops for the local community to get involved in, teaching them ways they can save energy in their homes and fostering a culture of sustainability. Children’s workshops during school holidays are a great idea to help educate them about the environment from a young age.
- If you have large spaces that you hire out, such as community halls or meeting rooms, make sure they are not still being heated, lit, or cooled when not in use.
According to a study conducted by Julie’s Bicyle, the music industry alone is responsible for around 540,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. While much of this in unavoidable, there are still changes you can make to help cut your costs.
- Stage lighting and sound systems are huge contributors to energy consumption in music venues, so make sure that nothing is left running when it’s not needed.
- Lighting can also generate a lot of excess heat, meaning you might be tempted to use air conditioning. Try using alternative ways of cooling your space before resorting to AC, such as improving building ventilation and opening windows.
- A very easy way to save both paper and a bit of energy is to swap printed paper tickets for digital barcode tickets. This will eliminate your need for printing and may also save you money on postage costs if you’re usually responsible for mailing tickets out.
- Switch to an energy efficient sound system – If your sound system is getting a little dated, consider upgrading your equipment to more energy efficient versions.
Conclusion: Reducing Energy Consumption for Arts, Entertainment and Leisure Businesses
Whilst cutting down on your energy consumption may seem like a daunting task at first, with consistent efforts and small changes, you will be able to see reductions in your usage and financial outgoings over time.
If you’re looking for more ways to save money on your energy bills, try switching to an energy supplier who understands your business needs. At Yü Energy, we specialise in working with businesses of all sizes and industries, get your free energy quote in under 30 seconds with our online quote tool and find out how you could save.