Five tips to cut energy costs at work

By Gurjit Degun, 7 January 2014,

Businesses could save £300 million a year in encouraging employees to adopt greener behaviour, according to a report by the Carbon Trust.

The research, produced in collaboration with Populus, found very few employers are engaging with staff over green behaviour. Just 23 per cent of the 1,135 UK employees surveyed have been asked to help save energy at work, and just 13 per cent say they are rewarded for good practice.

It also found there is a significant gap between willingness to take action, and actual results. Some 96 per cent are willing to turn off lights in unoccupied rooms, but only 52 per cent do so.

The study advised business leaders to give staff the knowledge and licence to take action. Only 22 per cent of employees said they are confident they know what actions to take to save energy at work, and just 16 per cent are sure they have the authority to do it.

The Carbon Trust listed five top tips to encourage employees to save energy:

● Understand where the energy is being consumed. The greatest potential for savings may not always be where you think. Look at energy consumption across your organisation and where behaviour is a factor before taking action.

● Prioritise the behaviours you want to change. Look at where you can realistically have the greatest impact. Balance potential savings against the probability of achieving change.

● Define the outcomes you want to achieve. Decide what goals you are aiming for, so that you can actively monitor performance and feedback on results.

● Research what motivates or prevents good behaviour in your organisation. Find out what is important to your staff and how they think, behave and interact with the building, technology and others around them.

● Secure senior support to unlock necessary resources. Get permission to act. Although it is not always necessary for senior leadership to act as role models, it is vital they are brought into the project early on. They will be able to facilitate – or block – what you’re trying to do.