Britain’s high street businesses are using energy to gain a competitive advantage on rivals, according to new research by E.ON which advised that old or inefficient appliances could be punishing their attempts to increase revenue.
The study revealed that more than half (58%) of small businesses observe the efficiency habits to learn from neighbouring stores and more than one in ten (12%) use electricity as a tactic to lure customers from competitors – such as through the use of shop-front gadgets and attractive lighting.
But while businesses say energy can boost prospects, many may be wasting far more than they realise. Nine in ten (91%) believe others in their sector are less efficient than they are, whilst still admitting that their industry sectors are beset with inefficient energy practices.
Overuse of equipment or machinery is the most common energy ‘mistake’ identified by small firms (49%) as well as the use of inefficient or outdated appliances and fixtures (42%). Excessive use of lighting (38%) and air conditioning and/or heating (29%) were also highlighted as regular pitfalls.
Anthony Ainsworth, business energy director at E.ON, said: “This research paints a picture of British businesses sitting side-by-side on the high street, competing not just amongst rival firms in the same sectors but also against neighbours in order to attract customers.
“Using attractive lighting can be a useful way to exhibit goods or attract customers but it may not be cost-effective if you rely on outdated or inefficient fixtures to light your store through the night. One of our customers – a small supermarket – told us he’d managed to save £600 a month by replacing his older lighting with new LED fittings.
“Small behavioural changes can significantly improve efficiency, such as upgrading equipment and the systems for controlling them. This needn’t be costly for small businesses. At E.ON we have a package of help and advice on offer so customers can identify areas of waste and help implement changes, showing the potential cost savings against any investment required. Improvements can often be made for free.”