As the news are rife with information about the acceleration of climate change and the intensification of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, energy efficiency has become a priority. In mainland Europe, countries are preparing for soaring prices and possibly energy shortages in the coming months. The first measures are taking shape as gas and electricity prices are capped, super-profits are taxed, and steps are taken to reduce demand. As regards to this last measure, governments are calling for collective mobilisation. Like the public sector, communities and individuals, companies also have a role to play in achieving business energy efficiency. For advice on how to adapt to the current situation, read our guide to energy saving in businesses.
10 ways to move towards business energy efficiency
Before embarking on an ambitious energy plan, each company can already initiate simple, quick, and effective actions that have immediate effects on the environment.
However, business energy efficiency must not be synonymous with stopping altogether or reducing production. The idea is more about reducing energy waste in building management and work structures, without affecting the business or working conditions of employees.
Lighting accounts for 15% of global electricity consumption and 5% of global carbon footprint. In this area, implementing the following two measures is particularly effective in terms of business energy efficiency:
1. Turn off lighting inside and outside buildings when they are closed or dim the lights at specific times.
2. Choose the right equipment: LED lights, low-energy lighting, and motion detectors all can help companies to become more energy efficient.
With digital energy use growing at around 9% per year, there is an urgent need to put together an energy efficiency action plan through three main levers:
3. Turn off all equipment (printers, photocopiers, vending machines, ventilation systems, etc.) when the premises are closed.
4. Avoid oversizing equipment for employees (number and size of screens, power of equipment, etc.).
5. Cut down on non-essential audiovisual systems, such as screens in lobbies or social areas, for example.
Heating and air conditioning
Heating and cooling account for almost 40% of the energy consumed by homes and buildings worldwide. It is therefore essential that companies focus on:
6. Adapt the temperature in departments based on the season: In winter, it is generally recommended not to heat occupied rooms above 19 °C (this threshold decreases for spaces unoccupied for several days); in summer, a certain gap can be tolerated between the inside and outside temperature.
7. Cut down on heat loss or heat increase (depending on the season) by making sure to close the doors and windows.
8. Provide employees with personal protective equipment suitable for both very low and very high temperatures.
Committing to business energy efficiency means driving a real change process and involving employees in the project. It is therefore essential to:
9. Share eco-friendly best practices that should be applied on a daily basis: Turn off equipment when not in use, set a standby function on your computer, favour soft mobility to get to work (public transport, shuttles, carpooling, etc.), etc.;
10. Introduce, or even increase remote working where possible: the International Energy Agency (IEA) recommends remote working up to three days a week.
Moving towards the energy transition
In order to overcome the ecological challenge, companies must implement long-term projects.
For this approach they can use three complementary levers:
- Business energy efficiency to optimise the performance of their equipment. This involves prioritising the use of low-energy or very high-energy performance devices.
- Energy saving to reconsider usage in favour of a more streamlined, shared consumption without any excesses. This may involve profound changes in their production and distribution patterns.
- Renewable energies (solar, wind, etc.) for freedom from dependence on fossil fuels.
Companies building their strategy are well advised to carry out a comprehensive energy audit of their business. This will give them an inventory of the existing production processes, buildings, facilities, and equipment. The aim of such an approach is to assess energy use in each area, to identify areas for improvement and to set clear targets.
They will then be able to implement these appropriate actions:
- Thermal renovation of buildings;
- Change of heating, air conditioning, lighting, or energy production system;
- Renegotiation of the contracts with your energy supplier and maintenance provider;
- Mobility transformation;
- Sustainable procurement development;
- Training for employees about business energy efficiency so everyone is on the same page…
An energy-saving approach with multiple benefits
The concept of business energy efficiency echoes the current crisis. However, there are many long-term benefits for companies that implement such an approach as they will:
- Reduce their carbon emissions and other pollutants such as fine particles (as a reminder, the energy sector, which is dominated by fossil fuels, accounts for 73% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions!);
- Help support natural resources preservation (coal, oil, gas, water, rare metals, etc.);
- Future-proof themselves against upcoming regulations concerning business energy efficiency, whether these concern buildings, production systems, car fleets, etc.;
- Make financial savings through reduced energy costs (post-crisis);
- Improve their brand image and stand out from the crowd in the eyes of their stakeholders (customers, suppliers, and employees);
- Create new business opportunities.
Committing to business energy efficiency and sustainable development is a great opportunity to rethink your whole organisation, while aligning with your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. In this way, every stakeholder involved will be able to initiate the transition to a low-carbon society, in line with new social and environmental requirements.
- Download our white paper about "Purchasing Policy and CSR".
 European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Global Lighting Challenge: Changing the world through public-private partnerships, 2017
 The Shift Project, "LEAN ICT: TOWARDS DIGITAL SOBRIETY": OUR NEW REPORT ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ICT, 2019
 Thibaut Abergel, Maxine Jordan, Heating and air-conditioning: Issues and opportunities in France, Europe and the world, 2019
 United Nations, Theme report on energy transition towards the achievement of SDG 7 and net-zero emissions, 2021