The energy crisis is having a major impact on businesses and homes all over the UK. It is so concerning that it makes the headlines on every news bulletin. It seems no business is able to escape its impact as energy use is fundamental to the production and transportation of goods and services of all kinds in all sectors.

The cost of operating a business is rising to unprecedented levels and consequently businesses are searching for ways to avoid soaring energy bills. While the government works on how to ease the pain for businesses and households, we can take steps towards reducing the level of energy we use in our businesses and mitigate the impact of energy costs in some areas.

There is a lot of advice and great suggestions for how to reduce energy in a business.

How to benefit from an Energy Audit

Conducting an energy audit is an important place to start. Many companies offer these and so getting third-party help in finding out exactly where your energy is used and wasted, is a good investment. Other suggestions for reducing energy usage and therefore business costs often include installing added insulation, solar panels and electric vehicle chargers and investing in electric vehicles. As air conditioning installers and expert electricians ourselves, we would add install occupancy sensors to ensure lights only work in occupied workspaces and keep lamps dust free (preferably LED lamps).

Interestingly, the use of air conditioning as a method of heating in a workplace, is very rarely listed, as a good way to reduce energy usage and avoid the use of gas. Many businesses already have air conditioning systems installed and do not always realise firstly, how efficient they are and secondly that they can be used for heating a business premises.

Always check the energy efficiency ratings

Air conditioning units are rated in terms of their heating and cooling efficiency. The term COP or ‘Coefficient of Performance’ is a measurement of the energy efficiency of an air-conditioning unit’s heating performance.

Air conditioning units have a coefficient of performance of up to five, meaning that they can generate up to 5kW of heat from 1kW of electrical input. The most efficient units, those with a COP rating of five or close to it, are incredibly efficient when used for heating.

Similarly, the term EER or ‘Energy Efficiency Ratio’ is the ratio of a unit’s cooling output relative to its input power. If your air conditioning unit generates 5kW of cooling from 1kW of electrical input its EER would also be five. These ratings are important to consider when choosing which air conditioning units to install in a commercial building, since the more energy efficient the unit, the cheaper the energy bills.

Choose air conditioning for total flexibility

Such energy conversion efficiencies in heat production, is on a par with green technologies such as air source heat pumps, but yet air conditioning offers the added advantage of flexibility on top. An efficient air conditioner is capable of being switched from heating to cooling instantly as the indoor temperatures change.

To gain further savings, your air conditioning installer can incorporate controllers designed for energy-efficient regulation of Air Conditioning systems. Apps can also be used to control and monitor systems via a PC or smart device.

Air conditioning is an established system for keeping buildings comfortable and occupants productive. It should not be overlooked as a method of lowering the energy consumption of buildings, reducing carbon emissions and minimising running costs.

As we approach winter, the sharp rise in the cost of heating buildings, is a major consideration for business owners and energy efficiency and reducing energy usage need to be top of the agenda.