Because energy prices have been at record levels over the past year, schools, universities, leisure centres and businesses have been hit by sky-high bills. And as these higher costs are passed on to customers, the difficulties of the cost-of-living crisis have only been compounded further.
But the UK’s net zero targets, and the need to transition to a greener economy, hold the key not only to cutting carbon emissions, but also to saving costs.
In this special podcast episode, sponsored by Honeywell, a panel of expert guests discusses what organisations can do to save costs for themselves and for their customers, and to cut energy use as they transition to net zero. What challenges do organisations face in making energy savings? What practical steps can they take? What hidden solutions could cut costs and ensure sustainability? And what support can policymakers provide?
For this discussion New Statesman host Jon Bernstein is joined by Gillian Brown, vice-chair of the Energy Managers Association, the chartered energy manager and energy consultant Jon Cranefield, and Neil Brown, global product manager at Honeywell.
“It’s quite a struggle,” says Cranefield of the energy bills that the businesses he works with are facing.
“The costs are increased by 30 per cent,” he adds, “but the actual budgets for most businesses working in 2023 would have been set some years ago. So back in 2009, we would have set the budgets or expected budget for the energy usage. The costs have risen by 112 per cent since that budget was set, despite the usage actually being about 5 per cent lower in units itself.” In hospitality, a sector Cranefield specialises in, “you can only pass on very little costs of energy” to the customer.
There has “been a massive shift”, said Brown of members of the Energy Managers Association. “It wouldn’t be uncommon to see energy bills doubling, tripling, quadrupling in different organisations. And for a lot of people, that is becoming very problematic.”
“We’ve been focusing on where can you actually make [energy management] easier,” say Brown of where Honeywell has been focusing its energies – “where can you look at reducing their energy usage and controlling it, giving better, better insights to how it’s being used?”
Listen to the episode above to hear the full conversation.