Sustainable Advantage- Is Net Zero a cost-saving answer?

Sustainable Advantage- Is Net Zero a cost-saving answer?

According to reports this week, ‘more than 15,000 pubs and restaurants are reducing  opening times for one day a week or more, due to rising energy bills’. [LINK close-earlier-as-costs-bite].  

The spiralling cost of energy is forcing many SMEs in the hospitality sector and beyond to  rein in their operating hours in a bid to reduce costs. Some pubs are opting to stay closed  during the day, others have brought closing time forward an hour or two. Some have called  last orders for the last time this year.  

UK Hospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “Rising energy costs are having a  huge impact on hospitality businesses. Beyond the eye-watering increases we’re  seeing from every corner of the sector, businesses are having to go even further to  mitigate the costs and keep their heads above water.” 

But is reduced trading the only solution to addressing these skyrocketing energy costs? 

At Net Zero Now, we believe that, by embracing simple energy efficiency practices and  measures, SMEs have a real opportunity to make changes that work out well for pocket,  planet and punters.  

Many of the changes come with little or no cost, but can deliver significant energy- and,  with it, cost-reductions, whilst at the same time setting businesses on a pathway to Net Zero  {LINK}.  

Want to know 3 simple behavioural changes any SME can make to drive energy efficiency  and cost savings? Here you go. 

3 simple changes you can make to save energy 

1. Switch it off! Lighting, heating, ventilation and appliances left on overnight can quickly rack up energy use in your premises. Deal with this by introducing a clear ‘last person out’ shutdown schedule. 

2. Turn it down! Ensure that you’re not overheating your space by turning thermostats down, getting heating schedules sorted and dialling down the flow temperature on your combi boiler to 60°c or below. 

3. Show it some love! It’s surprising how something as simple as good housekeeping can drive energy efficiency. You’re less likely to turn the light on in a room that has clean windows, whilst regular cleaning can make your ventilation up to 25% more efficient. 

When money is tight, it’s difficult to think beyond the here and now, but investing in energy efficiency could be a smart move, and one which could reduce your exposure to volatile  energy prices.

3 investments with high energy-saving returns  

1. Lighting – Switching to LED lighting is a straightforward way to reduce consumption, saving the average pub an estimated £3,000 to £5,000 annually. 

2. Insulation – Draft proofing, insulating hot water tanks, lagging pipes and improving attic insulation are cost-effective ways to reduce heating costs. 

3. Generation – The soaring price of energy now makes investment in solar panels a real option for many SMEs, with payback at today’s prices being seen in around 3 years. A 12kW solar system generating around 10,000kWh a year costs around £14,000 to install, but could replace annual bills of £3,000. 

Net Zero Now founder, Simon Heppner, said: “The business case for pursuing sustainability  was always there, but it's become much clearer with higher energy costs. Today, whether  you’re a pub, a hairdresser or an accountant, the case is clear - if you make energy  efficiency a priority for your business, you will drive down costs. It’s as simple as that.  

“And if you commit to taking the next step by going Net Zero, you’ll see even more benefits.  On the Net Zero path you’ll be maximising energy efficiencies and stamping out waste – further lowering your costs. You’ll be connecting in new ways with your staff, customers  and suppliers, building loyalty and advocacy along the way. And you’ll be building a resilient  business that is future ready.  

“Critically, you’ll be driving down Greenhouse Gas emissions from your business and making  your vital contribution to the UK’s Net Zero commitment.”  

Every business’ journey to Net Zero is different, but energy efficiency is a great place to  start.  

Get in touch for a chat about your Net Zero journey.