Improving energy efficiency is currently a top priority for companies. Climate change and the energy transition had already put this topic on the agenda of many firms, but the war in Ukraine and the resulting energy cost hikes now pose an existential threat. What’s more, the German government drastically increased the requirements for businesses with its Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV), which took effect on 1 September 2022. While this is set to expire on 28 February 2023, a second ordinance, issued in October, will apply for a further two years.
However, companies can make five-figure cuts in their monthly energy bill by improving their energy efficiency – through just a few simple measures. So how exactly can energy efficiency be gained and costs reduced in the short to medium term? First, it’s important to distinguish between structures, systems and processes. Structural aspects are generally more difficult to modify because they relate to things like the type of energy supply. System innovations – i.e. to a company’s machines and equipment – likewise take investments of time and capital. Processes, on the other hand, are usually more flexible. After all, human behaviour plays a key role here.
Want to know more? Here are five steps that companies can take in the short or medium term to reduce their energy costs:
Companies can reduce their electricity costs by five-figure amounts every month, just by improving energy efficiency.
1. Optimise lighting
Most companies should by now be aware that by modifying their electric lighting, they can achieve considerable savings – up to 70 per cent of energy costs, according to the German Energy Agency (dena). But there is often still room for improvement. Modern LED bulbs allow substantial savings, even compared with regular energy-saving light bulbs, and they also boast an impressive lifespan.
Most LED bulbs will last for up to 20,000 hours. That’s the equivalent of two full years of uninterrupted light, or twice the lifespan of an energy-saving light bulb. Smart sensors that automatically switch off lights when no one is in the room can also significantly improve a company’s energy footprint.
2. Avoid standby mode
The standby mode built into most electronic devices remains an underestimated energy guzzler. Simply avoiding standby can reduce many devices’ power consumption by ten per cent. Larger devices such as printers and external screens should therefore always be completely switched off when not in use.
Small electrical accessories shouldn’t be overlooked either – chargers and adaptors continue to consume electricity for as long as they are plugged into the mains. Buying power strips with an on/off switch is a good way of getting these hidden costs under control. Especially in offices, steps should be taken to make sure electricity doesn’t keep flowing unnecessarily over the weekend.
3. Identify power guzzlers
In the manufacturing industry in particular, much of the power consumption comes from operating machines. Companies should therefore keep a close eye on older equipment and identify any power guzzlers. An abnormal increase in energy use often indicates a defect. If identified quickly, the problem can be solved in good time and a machine outage prevented. This not only reduces energy costs, but also improves machine efficiency and lowers maintenance costs.
4. Measure consumption precisely
The precise measurement of electricity use is key to being able to improve the company’s energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. Only then can the time and location of consumption peaks be determined and potential savings be identified. While for some companies regular meter readings are sufficient, for others continuous metering may be a better option. Remote metering is additionally relevant for certain businesses.
This metering should meet all the requirements set out in Section 8a of Germany’s Act on Energy Services and Other Energy Efficiency Measures (EDL-G), and in particular the requirements pursuant to DIN EN 16247. Energy audits have been mandatory for larger companies since 2015.
5. Optimise heat distribution
Another area in which companies can achieve significant savings is building heating. There are various options available here. For example, heat distribution can be optimised by means of hydraulic balancing. This measure can be implemented quickly and at little cost, and is to become mandatory for larger buildings anyway, as stipulated in the German government’s second Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV), which took effect in October.
Another option is to install a high-efficiency pump in accordance with the EU’s Ecodesign Directive. Heat pumps of this type are considerably more economical than older models, which often prove to be true power guzzlers.
Summary: smart energy management is the key
To be able to implement the above steps in a targeted and effective manner, it may be worthwhile to digitalise your company’s internal energy management. There are wide-ranging possibilities here, from an IoT-based solution to specific software applications.
Do you want to know what options are available for your company? We’re happy to help!
IoT provides transparency and efficiency