Changing behaviour

With the change in temperature, consumers are switching on the heating even though winter hasn?t yet arrived and temperatures aren?t especially that cold. But because of the hot climate we have had recently it has caused temperature confusion & unnecessary energy spends.

?You will always have what you always had, if you always do, what you always did.?

But, it is important to remember ?change does not happen over night? and one of my favourite sayings ?you will always have what you always had, if you always do, what you always did.? Now to relate this to energy; changing behaviour is so crucial; it may take time, effort, management and money, but over time it will make a different and it will drive down your energy spends, if handled correctly. So rather than hoping for pricing to go down (which is not going to happen,) making pro-active changes now, will pay-off over time.

Your business needs a clear strategy as to what changes need to be made, who is going to manage the strategy, how is it going to be monitored and the likely time frame it is going to take to be achieved?

Here is a checklist of important points to consider:

  • Understand the energy usage at your business and identify where the major energy consumption is coming from.
  • What employees could do to reduce energy wastage and how major these factors are?
  • Would staff training on energy saving/ wastage be beneficial and cost effective? Or should someone in-house manage and run energy-saving workshops?
  • Should incentive schemes for energy savings be offered to staff, with goal setting & feedback given?
  • Do you have someone managing and monitoring the energy contracts?
  • Does air-conditioning/ heating really need to be on or is there an alternative? (i.e. close/open window/blinds)
  • Particular attention must be paid to lights; equipment, switches etc. and that they are turned off when not in use.
  • Would energy-efficient products help? Which ones in particular would be best for your business?
  • Are you eligible for an energy-efficient loan/grant?
  • Would light sensors help? *Are timers set correctly?
  • Could your thermostats be turned down slightly? (Different rooms will require different setting.)
  • Kitchen staff should be aware that fridges/ freezers are set correctly and closed when not in use.
  • Delivery doors should be shut when they are not in use.
  • Monitoring changes is equally important in order to understand how worthwhile your energy changes have been.

The above is a summary of what is needed overall within a business to change behaviour. It is clear that change will take some work, commitment and cooperation but the most important point to consider is changing habits are going to be hard.

A number of social studies have revealed that current energy consumption patterns; reflect that consumers are generally not aware of routine and habits. Social norms need to be influenced, discussed and changed through communication and engagement. More information, advice, training, goals and feedback should be offered and put in place to help make big change and energy savings.