THERE has been much debate in the media recently about finding new sources of energy to keep up with demand.
The fracking row south of the Border has caused local communities to take action and wind farms in Scotland remain a divisive issue.
This growing demand is reflected in the latest figures which show that UK businesses have seen a 60 per cent rise in energy bills between 2010 and 2012. This means companies are now spending an average of £1,278 more than they were two years ago on their energy bills.
As fuel prices continue to rise, many businesses are prepared to search for the most competitive tariffs on offer, but from our experience few have recognised the potential savings from eliminating unnecessary energy consumption.
So how can Scottish businesses cut their fuel spend without switching tariff?
First, companies need to monitor how and where energy is being used in their building.
Staff then need to be educated about the significant savings that could be made by eradicating wasteful practice.
Our research shows that simple measures such as making sure all but essential devices and appliances are switched off at the end of business hours can easily reduce energy waste by up to 20 per cent per site.
Technology being developed in Scotland can play a key part in educating staff on where energy is being used and highlight where it is being wasted.
This means staff can be given the opportunity to react to inefficiencies before they become costly problems.
Changing the behaviour of employees in this way can make a huge difference when it comes to cutting fuel bills, particularly for SMEs which represent more than 99 per cent of Scotland’s private sector enterprises.
It makes sense for businesses to challenge the cost of energy offered by the main providers, but if they’re serious about reducing overheads and emissions they need to be smarter in the way they use energy.
Scotland has set some ambitious climate change targets which employees can make a significant contribution to.
After all, the most cost-effective KW of energy is the one you can avoid using.
• George McGhee is chief executive of Edinburgh-based energy management technology firm Ewgeco.