Businesses could help cut the UK’s energy demand by three quarters just by turning off non-essential equipment such as air con, heating and lighting at times of peak demand.
A study by researchers from the University of Reading working with KiWi Power found electricity demand from some industry sites including telecoms centres could be slashed by more than 75% at times of peak load on the national grid.
In many cases this was because businesses switched from metered electricity to stand-by diesel generators. However in some of the sites studied – particularly in the hotel sector – demand was trimmed by nearly 25% when air-conditioning, heating and lighting were turned down. Researchers claim this did not impact or discomfort customers.
The University’s School of Construction Management and Engineering used half-hourly meter readings supplied by KiWi Power from 176 non-domestic sites including warehouses, hotels and offices.
Yoav Zingher, director and co-founder of KiWi Power said: “This research shows the clear potential to reduce energy demand by encouraging businesses to turn down non-essential power for short periods of time and that’s a far more environmentally friendly option than building more power stations and will reduce peaking power issues as the grid becomes increasingly congested.”
The study also found that if businesses are given more warning (four hours or more) to cut their electricity use, demand reductions could sometimes be doubled.