Less than one-fifth (18%) of UK energy managers say hitting sustainability targets is their number one business priority, according to a survey commissioned by Npower Business Solutions, Energy HQ. Despite the recent global attention on the environment and net-zero pledges from a number of UK companies, 48 per cent of energy managers admit saving business energy costs still remains their primary concern.
These findings are potentially due to increasing political and economic uncertainty in the UK with three quarters of respondents concerned about potential business energy price hikes. Brexit is thought to be the greatest factor that will affect energy prices (32 per cent) with 40 per cent believing a no-deal Brexit will lead to consistently higher prices in the medium-term.
Over quarter, (28 per cent) do not feel prepared if this happens. Regarding a potential change in government, respondents believe that this is likely to lead to increased price instability (60 per cent), greater regulation (50 per cent) and the continued rollout of new energy-related policies to meet net-zero targets (56 per cent).
However, energy managers are already implementing a number of strategies and tools to help manage energy efficiency and better prepare their business for continued uncertainty. More than half (52 per cent) have employed employee behaviour change programmes and 41 per cent are focused on engaging in a long-term (5-10 year) energy management plan.
Ben Spry, Head of Flexibility Services at npower Business Solutions, Energy HQ says: “By incorporating demand-side response (DSR) schemes and other energy efficiency tools at their disposal into their longer-term plans, businesses won’t be forced to choose between cutting energy costs and hitting sustainability and decarbonisation targets.”
Employee behaviour change programmes are also highly effective in reducing business energy consumption, with 42.8 per cent of energy managers reporting they have led to the greatest reduction in energy use for their business.
Other energy-saving business tools referred to included LED lighting (30 per cent) and implementing energy monitoring tools/software (21 per cent).