The programme, which is being run in partnership with RBS Group’s business consultancy service, Mentor, has been rolled out in the UK today (27 January).
The audits look at energy efficiency and use, how businesses are buying their energy and whether there is an opportunity for the business to generate their own energy using renewable technology.
They highlight immediate, medium and long-term opportunities for businesses, as well as offering guidance on next steps and estimated costs, savings and payback periods for implementing changes.
Andrew Taylor, head of Leisure for Commercial Banking at NatWest and RBS: “We look at the behaviours of businesses, as well as utilising potential energy generated naturally by the business – ideal for those in the leisure and hospitality industry which commonly have high energy use.”
The energy audit programme was piloted in the north of England, where over 60 businesses with an annual energy spend of between £10,000 and £200,000 a year took part.
On average, businesses that took part in the pilot achieved projected potential savings of £23,000.
“Businesses could be spending more than they need to on energy bills. Having an energy audit will help them to make more informed decisions about their energy use,” said Taylor. “Something as simple as switching off lights could make a significant difference.”
Pub, restaurant and hotel, The Borough in Lancaster reduced costs by £7,500 a year after investing in a Mentor energy audit.
The business implemented a number of recommendations from the energy audit report, including adding a skin to external walls, removing some lighting fittings, changing habits of staff and generating biodiesel from used cooking oil.
The Borough’s director, Martin Horner, explained: “We now produce 200 litres of biodiesel for our vehicle from our used cooking oil, and have installed a more efficient boiler and ovens. All in all, our changes save us £450 a month, which represents a 20% reduction in our energy costs.”
A survey carried out by RBS at the end of 2013 revealed that 85 per cent of businesses agree that rising energy costs are a concern, but less than a quarter conduct regular reviews of their energy use.
Additionally just 11 per cent of respondents generate their own energy through renewable technology, with the majority (95 per cent) on the standard energy tariff.