Saturday, September 23, 2017

Special feature: UK retailers are wasting £300 million worth of energy

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While change in retailing is constant, a continual flux causes crisis. 

Many stores in the UK are struggling to exist as the sector is buffeted by mounting costs caused by waves of change: from morphing shopping habits to the introduction of the National Living Wage, and now rising import prices post-Brexit.

A new energy retail whitepaper, commissioned by UK utilities consultancy Utilitywise and now available to download, will benefit small-to-medium sized retailers by showing how they can improve energy efficiency and make big savings without having an impact on their customers’ experience.

Is energy saving worth it?

Did you know a 20 per cent cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a five per cent increase in sales in many businesses? 

So if a shop’s turnover is £20,000, that’s the equivalent of an extra £1000 – enough to create a website, train staff in sales techniques or upgrade to LED lighting: all ways retailers can improve their offering and attract customers.

Monitoring = Control

Only 20 per cent of retailers monitor their use of energy and water, but without data it’s impossible to gain a detailed picture of where savings could be made. 

Guesswork is not enough, because different retailers have different business practices and equipment. 

Existing circumstances can have a huge impact on the energy used and saved. Refrigeration systems, for example, can account for 30-60 per cent of electricity used in convenience stores that sell mainly food. On average, lighting is responsible for 28 per cent of a retail outlet’s electricity costs. But for most retailers the biggest cost (around 40 per cent) is room and water heating. 

Business energy monitoring devices keep an eye on energy consumption and are easy to install. They take data from meters and other systems and retailers can monitor consumption on charts on their desktop. 

The Utility Insight product can reduce energy consumption by 33 per cent and water by 50 per cent. As the first step in identifying waste, monitoring can lead to major savings, as Utilitywise’s case study shows.

Shut that door

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) is the biggest energy expense for most retailers.

Yet according to non-profit organisation Close the Door, shops in the UK waste £300 million worth of energy just by leaving their doors open and letting heat escape. 

Closing a shop door in winter can save up to 50 per cent in energy usage, according to research by the University of Cambridge, and 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – that’s three return flights to Hong Kong from London.

Download the full Utilitywise retail whitepaper for free.

Free WiseLife Connect for 1,000 businesses when they receive a competitive energy contract with Utilitywise.

*Sponsored story

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