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Working out your business’ energy usage

Disclaimer: The information on this page was correct as of June 29, 2021.

All businesses have different energy demands, no matter how similar they are. You may not have thought about calculating your business’ energy usage before, but it’s important to know nowadays so you can see where to cut back and better your impact on the environment.

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What affects business energy usage?

There are a lot of things that might affect your energy usage as a business.

  • Business type – The type of business you run will determine your opening hours, footfall, and machine usage, all of which will affect your energy use. For example, a manufacturing company would use more than an office-based company, which will use less than a retail company, all because of the type of business it is.
  • Opening hours – Your opening hours will determine how long you’re using your energy. For example, if your business is open 24/7, you’ll still be using the same or a similar amount of energy overnight as during the day. However, if you’re a 9-5, most of your appliances will likely be turned off between 5 and 9, using almost no energy.
  • Location and premises – If you’re located in a small, rural town, your premises are likely to also be smaller while if you have a lot more room, you might want to expand into a larger building. Generally, the bigger the building, the more energy it will use, especially when heating or cooling.
  • Number of customers/footfall – If you have a lot of customers in at a time, it will keep the room warmer through their body heat, meaning you won’t need the heating on in the winter, but it’s more likely you’ll need the air conditioning on in the summer. However, the number of customers also determines the workload. For example, more customers in a restaurant will mean that the ovens will be on more.
  • Number of employees – The more employees you have, the more appliances, machinery, and space you’ll need, all of which will add to your energy usage. For example, if you have 10 employees in an office-based company, you’re probably using 10 PCs, while if you have 20 employees, you’ll be using 20 PCs, doubling your usage.
  • The weather – The weather plays a huge part in any business’ energy usage, mainly due to heating and air conditioning, but the weather can also impact footfall depending on your business. For example, a cafe might have more customers when it’s cold and raining for some shelter and hot food or drink.
  • Appliances and machinery – Power-hungry machinery will skyrocket your energy usage, however, you can decrease this with more energy-efficient models. You also have to take into account appliances which need to be on all the time, such as fridges, freezers, and alarms.

How to calculate your business’ energy usage

Energy usage is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), which is how many kilowatts you use per hour. You can easily work out how much energy your appliances are using with:

(watts x hours)/1000

For example, the average PC uses 100W. If you have your PC on for 8 hours per day, your PC will be using (100 x 8)/1000 = 0.8kWh per day.

Say you have 10 employees all using their PCs for 8 hours a day, the energy usage of your PCs would be (1000 x 8)/1000 = 8kWh per day.

Assuming you’re open Monday to Friday, there would be around 260 working days in a year. So, we take the 8kWh from your PCs and times by 260 to find out your average PC usage for the year: 8 x 260 = 2,080kWh per year.

To find out your total usage, you would have to do this with everything that uses electricity rather than just your 10 PCs.

Alternatively, you could simply take your meter reading for the month and times by 12 to create a rough estimate of your yearly usage.

What is the average business electricity usage in the UK?

As different businesses are all different sizes, the average usage isn’t one-size-fits-all. Below, we have the average business electricity usage for the different sized businesses so you can compare with your own.

Business size No. of employees Average usage
Microbusiness 1-9 10,000kWh
Small business 10-49 20,000kWh
Medium business 50-250 40,000kWh
Large business 250+ 65,000kWh

If you use over 100,000kWh of electricity per year, providers will handle your electricity supply differently so you should talk to them directly to find out which supplier and tariff are best for you.

What is the average business gas usage in the UK?

Depending on your business, you’ll use a different amount of gas too. Compare your business to the UK average and see if you match up!

Business size No. of employees Average usage
Microbusiness 1-9 10,000kWh
Small business 10-49 25,000kWh
Medium business 50-250 45,000kWh
Large business 250+ 75,000kWh

If you use over 200,000kWh of gas per year, providers will handle your electricity supply differently so you should talk to them directly to find out which supplier and tariff are best for you.

How to cut down on your business’ energy usage

Everyone is trying to cut back their energy usage and improve their impact on the environment. As a business, this is a major issue you should be tackling and can also be a great way to encourage new customers.

There are a number of different ways businesses can cut back, including:

  • Using laptops instead of PCs
  • Upgrading to newer, more energy-efficient machinery
  • Using LED or energy-saving lightbulbs
  • Switch things off when you close
  • Keep doors closed as much as possible to conserve heat
  • Only use printers where necessary
  • Conduct regular energy audits
  • Ensure your employees are on-board

If you need some more help...

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0203 992 7717

This page was written by...

Polly Tyler

I've loved writing since I was a child and have worked on a number of different projects since I left school, including journalism, copywriting, and marketing. Utilty Switchboard has given me the opportunity to grow my knowledge and experience and I've loved every minute!

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