Deborah Meaden calls for the hospitality industry to invest in energy efficiency this winter


  • Three quarters (76%) of small hospitality businesses are concerned the rise in energy costs will affect their ability to operate this winter
  • 9 in 10 (92%) are trying to be more energy efficient this winter
  • Entrepreneur and star of Dragon’s Den, Deborah Meaden, has teamed up with Smart Energy GB and Energy Saving Trust to help hospitality businesses prepare for winter and reveals new energy efficiency advice 

Energy efficiency is a hot topic at the moment and with winter almost upon us, the use of heating and lighting is on the up. This is a concern for many small businesses in the hospitality sector, which could see increasing bills eat further into profits.

New research by Smart Energy GB has revealed that three quarters (76%) of small businesses in the hospitality sector are concerned the rise in energy costs will affect their ability to operate this winter. 

And nearly all of (92%) have instructed employees to be more mindful of the energy they use on the premises whilst trying to be more energy efficient this winter.

With 94% of small hospitality businessowners frustrated with energy waste, Smart Energy GB and Energy Saving Trust have teamed up with star of BBC’s Dragon’s Den, Deborah Meaden who began her career in hospitality, to offer new energy efficiency advice for the sector.

One simple step decisionmakers can take is to get a smart meter installed on business premises. Smart meters give you accurate bills, so each month you only have to pay for the energy you actually use, ensuring you have more control over your business’s energy spend.

Deborah Meaden said: “British businesses have really been through the ringer recently and the fact that many smaller ones are now facing closures as a result of rising energy bills is another colossal blow. 

“With so many hospitality business owners frustrated with energy waste at work, I’m pleased to be able to help them navigate this difficult time alongside Energy Saving Trust and Smart Energy GB. 

“Bringing your staff onboard at the beginning to help develop an energy saving plan, and even telling your customers or clients about it, are some of the ways you could start making a difference, as well as obvious steps like getting a smart meter installed on your work premises.

Well over a third of consumers say they are more likely to visit a business that cares about sustainability; smart meters can help with this too as they are an essential part of Britain’s commitment to reaching net zero, helping to reduce reliance on fossil fuels such as coal and gas.

Energy efficiency advice for hospitality businesses, developed by Energy Saving Trust:

Heating and hot water – These can be significant energy users, but it’s not always easy to tell how much of each you’re using. If you offer accommodation then heating your premises may be the biggest, but if you run a catering business then you may need to consider how you heat water.

Either way, the first thing to do is get to grips with your equipment’s controls and make sure you’re only heating the rooms or water that you need, when you need it and only to the required temperature.

Standby to switch off – Look around your business premises and you’re likely to find something not in use that can be switched off. It sounds obvious but can help you to start saving right away.

Cold storage – The only way to make a fridge or freezer more efficient is to buy a more efficient model. Make sure you consider energy use when buying any new equipment but especially big things like this.

Also consider if you need equipment like fridges and freezers on consistently. Can you empty one fridge and turn it off, even temporarily while stocks are low?

Lighting – You need to create the right lighting to give your customers a comfortable environment and to give your staff enough light to do their job, so you probably don’t want to compromise on lighting quality and levels. The key here is to work out which areas need to be lit and when. Does that room need to be lit when there’s no-one in there?

Different rooms need different approaches to managing lighting – a lobby probably needs to be lit all the time, whereas a function room only when it’s being used and a store room even less often. Get your staff engaged in energy saving so they want to switch the lights off when they can.

Check your energy bills and ensure you only pay for what you use – If you don’t know what you’re spending, you won’t know what you can save. Many smaller businesses are eligible for a smart meter, which will give you accurate bills, not estimates. 

Installations are happening now, so to find out if your business is eligible for a smart meter, contact your energy supplier.

Engage your staff – Everyone in a business can play a role when reducing energy use. Get your staff involved in energy saving efforts from the start, rather than just telling them what to do when you’ve decided. This way they’ll be more likely to take it seriously.

Make a plan – Some energy saving changes are quick and easy, but others will take time, planning and money. Think ahead and work out what you can afford to do and when, so energy upgrades aren’t a shock to you or your budget.

Tell your customers – One in four of us are more likely to visit a business that cares about sustainability. Talk about the energy saving actions you’ve already taken and show people you mean what you say.

Smart meters can help with this too as they are an essential part of Britain’s commitment to reaching net zero, helping to reduce reliance on fossil fuels such as coal and gas.

Many hotels, guest houses, bars, restaurants, cafés and catering companies are trying to reduce their energy costs in the face of rising prices, but 38% still said they wasted between £31 – £60 of energy each month.

Iagan MacNeil, Head of Policy at Smart Energy GB, said: “Small businesses are the beating heart of the British economy but it is clear concerns about energy use are affecting how many of them will continue to operate this winter.

“The research shows energy waste is a hot topic for employers and staff, so it is hugely important that we have teamed up with Deborah Meaden and experts at Energy Saving Trust to offer new ways to tackle it. Whether it’s turning off unused equipment or ensuring your bills are accurate, it all adds up. But the solution needs to be a collaborative approach with everyone playing a part.

“Many businesses are eligible to get a smart meter installed on their premises and this can help by giving you more control over your energy spend – a vital tool for those worried about rising prices.

“To find out if your business is eligible for a smart meter, contact your energy supplier.”

Smart meters are available for businesses and installations are happening now. To find out if your business is eligible for a smart meter, contact your energy supplier or visit smartenergygb.org.

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