With the growing uncertainty in the electricity and natural gas prices, and increased awareness of energy conservation, many facilities managers of UK companies are exploring every option to reduce their costs and decrease their impact on the environment.
Until very recently, when it came to energy usage, the primary concern of facilities managers was to solely concentrate on securing the lowest rates for their electricity and gas. But now they are finding growing pressure from upper management to lower costs via conservation and to be more “green” with their decisions.
“In the past everyone just wanted to know who had the cheapest tariffs,” explained Rebecca Smith, Director at Direct Power Associates Ltd. in the United Kingdom. “But now we are getting more and more questions about green energy. Green energy prices are comparable to that of normal “brown” energy, while giving a company a piece of mind that they are having less of a negative impact on the environment. In addition, it reflects positively in the publics’ eye, and this is just the sort of image companies feel they need to portray.”
Energy conservation in another buzz word often heard throughout the market. In response to the growing threat of climate change, the UK government set up a program to help businesses reduce their carbon emissions. “This is real simple one, I’m not sure why more people don’t take advantage of this,” commented Smith. “If your company qualifies, you can receive government funding for energy conservation projects.” Many recommendations do not require capital to implement, and there is a typical 20%-30% site savings potential identified in energy costs and usage.
UK businesses will always be most concerned with the bottom line and keeping costs at a minimum. But with increased chatter regarding climate change and energy conservation, facilities managers are faced with changing their thinking when securing their energy contracts and planning for the future.