Tourism businesses spend a fortune on energy bills every year, and these costs cut into your profits. Simple steps can be implemented to save money dramatically. More importantly, saving energy will reduce environmental damage and CO2 emissions.

Your first action will be to reduce your consumption by changing your behaviour. Very simple acts can reduce your energy consumption and save money on your bills. This will not cost you anything, because you’re only changing your behaviour. The cheapest energy is the one that’s not consumed.

Work for everyone in your business (you, your staff and your visitors) and be involved in these following acts:

  • Turn devices and lights off if not in use
  • Set the right temperature
  • Carefully position appliances so they do not block any heat sources
  • Avoid standby mode
  • Make the most of the natural light
  • Keep doors and windows closed when heating or cooling
  • Prefer to use cold water rather than hot water to save energy whenever it is possible
  • Encourage your staff and visitor to take part in your actions.

Next you can reduce your consumption by having more efficient appliances for your business such as low energy light bulbs or in doing some insulation work and install double gazing. This may seem like an expensive option to implement, but the system would pay for itself within an estimated few years.

  • Install low energy light bulbs, they consume less electricity and have a longer usable life.
  • Use lighting timers (not needed if everybody remembers to turn off the light if not used)
  • Use light sensitive systems (if a room is well lit by natural light, no electrical lighting may be required – can also be used in outdoors) and movement detectors for lighting
  • Look out for energy labels that provide information about energy consumption and performance and aim to buy ‘A’-rated appliances, which mean more efficiently.
  • Install High efficiency boiler
  • Insulate roof, insulate hot water tank
  • Install double glazing and sufficient window sealing

When you have reduced your energy consumption in your business, switching to renewable energy sources could be the next step. You can install your very own source of renewable energy to become more self sufficient or even switch your energy provider to one that is greener.

  • Install solar water heating or solar panels. Grants are available
  • Use a sustainable energy supplier, there are several in UK, you can compare the prices

You can find further advice via the following websites (resources):

Better Tourism (Visit England): The tools on Better Tourism have been designed with an English Stakeholder in mind but all tourism businesses in UK are free the site (some resources may only be relevant in England). The website includes a useful tool to develop your own action plan (assess your business and then get an action plan proposition), visitor charter, green policy and a great resource zone. Requires login which is free and quick.

Energy Saving Trust: This public sector site contains all kinds of information on reducing energy usage, insulation and purchasing energy efficient products with a well explanation of the possible grants and discounts. New advice services will be available in April 2012. Energy saving tips (Top ten, for kids, in the kitchen, bedroom) and a Home Energy Check

NI direct government services: government services which provide energy efficiency tips (and also about saving water in your garden, water and energy efficiency in your home, reducing waste, greener shopping and products etc)

Energy Wise

Environment and Greener Living

Carbon Trust: provides guidance to implement energy reduction projects and funding information through their Energy Efficiency Financing. You can find a lot of tools, guides and reports to download such as Creating an awareness campaign, An introduction to energy management, Green your business and Energy management self-assessment tools (excel document).

Power NI: energy provider with explanations of the various renewable energy sources (offers grants for solar PV and commercial solar water heating) and a Home energy check.

Green energy supply: Provides Transparency and Clarity on Green Electricity Tariffs and different suppliers.

ECA Scheme: The Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) Scheme allows businesses to gain tax cuts and an ‘enhanced’ 100% capital allowance on qualifying investments in equipment in the first tax year.