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Achieving a more sustainable business starts with energy strategy

Alan Barlow, Director of UK&I for Centrica Business Solutions, talks about how a comprehensive energy strategy can help you achieve your sustainability goals.

How a comprehensive energy strategy can help you achieve your sustainability goals


Six-steps to smarter, greener energy performance

Energy is no longer an immovable cost and fixed business overhead. The days of centralised generation are changing as the UK moves to more intelligent and responsive distributed energy solutions.

It's more affordable than ever before for organisations to take control and develop comprehensive energy strategies that can lead them to a lower carbon, lower cost future.

Optimising energy performance

There's many different ways of optimising energy performance, but where should you focus?

Failure to understand precisely where, how and when energy is being used across your operation will undermine success. A piecemeal approach is also likely to limit environmental progress.  

Those who are serious about sustainability are taking a smarter, more holistic approach to energy management. They are using innovative tools, technology and insights to achieve a real step change in their performance.

Six Steps to build a comprehensive energy strategy

Centrica Business Solutions uses a six-step approach in helping organisations to build a comprehensive energy strategy.

  1. Data analysis - using advanced software analytics to gain deeper energy insight across your entire operation, including energy consuming devices and equipment. This will precisely and accurately inform where to focus energy saving measures.
  2. Demand Reduction - improving energy efficiency throughout buildings and processes to reduce total energy demand, should be one of the first steps of any energy saving strategy.
  3. Distributed energy - using combined heat and power (CHP), solar, batteries and other decentralised energy solutions to generate and store lower carbon energy - helping to improve business resilience as well as improve cost and carbon performance.
  4. Demand Side Response -  unlocking value from electrical capacity by using energy producing or consuming assets to balance the electricity grid and support decarbonisation. Businesses can earn revenue and achieve savings by increasing, decreasing or shifting power usage in response to market signals.  
  5. Digitalisation - connecting distributed energy assets and balancing energy resources to achieve even greater efficiencies and contribute to smart grids.
  6. Decarbonisation - the end goal of a comprehensive energy strategy - that succeeds in balancing cost and carbon reduction.

Energy saving in action

Centrica is using these methods to help all types and sizes of organisations to take a smarter approach to energy usage and to deliver on their carbon saving and sustainability goals.

Zero-capital carbon savings

We created a new energy strategy for St George's Hospital Trust, in London, which is projected to save the hospital £1 million per year, while reducing annual carbon emissions by 6,000 tonnes. This involved replacing the 40-year old energy centre to incorporate low carbon CHP and new boilers. We also reduced energy demand with the installation of new high efficient lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. A building management system was installed to optimise energy control. The energy centre delivers recurring savings on energy costs year-on-year – while helping the hospital meet it carbon reduction goals.

High efficiency energy supply

Our CHP solution for Alton Towers Resort, the UK's largest theme park, is generating energy savings of 12% per annum. The cogeneration system generates electricity on-site and recovers heat for use to achieve 80% energy efficiency. That's twice as efficient as the traditional energy generation supply it replaces – contributing to the impressive cost and carbon savings.

Power of solar

We've created the UK’s largest factory-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) system for Toyota, which is powering the company's first European Model Sustainable Plant at Burnaston. The 17,000 solar panels are supplying 5% of the plant's electricity. This was a funded project, with project costs recovered via Feed-in-Tariff revenues – proving that going green doesn't have to be costly. 

Why do you need a comprehensive energy strategy?

Your customers, employees and wider stakeholders all expect your business to be greener. This pressure is growing and can be the difference between winning and losing orders or tenders, and can influence your chances of attracting and retaining talented employees.

There's also a raft of environmental policies and regulations – driven by the Climate Change Act and other global accords, such as the Paris Agreement – that are driving ever higher carbon reduction targets. The UK government has recently taken global leadership in exploring ways of delivering on the Paris Agreement, which raises the possibility of a net-zero emissions target.

Countering third-party charges

Climate change targets are increasing the imperative to decarbonise UK energy supply. This is driving sharp rises in third party energy charges that incentivise lower carbon generation and support network stability, as well as covering costs for distributing and transmitting energy. These costs account for more than half of today's energy bills and are expected to increase further, including huge increases in Climate Change Levy (CCL) rates in 2019 following the demise of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).  This creates an even more powerful business case for investing in energy efficiency and distributed generation, which can mitigate the cost impact of these non-commodity costs, as well as increasing business sustainability.

See how Centrica can help you power your energy performance to cut costs and carbon by getting in touch here.