BLOG: Do the right thing for the right reason

March 13th, 2017



Are businesses taking the right approach to saving money and energy? Fraser Smart, Business Advisor for our Scarf Commercial Energy service, asks the question.

“Listening to the radio the other day I was excited to hear about the latest progress on Brazil’s extensive and ongoing hydroelectricity scheme. My excitement was somewhat diminished when the potential damage these schemes were doing to the environment and the indigenous people was highlighted. Whereas I am all for the reduction in the reliance on fossil fuel, I would rather this wasn’t at the expense of some of the world’s most amazing landscapes and people.

“This struck me very much as doing the wrong thing for the right reason, and got me thinking about how often this happens. Probably more often than we would like to think.

“At one time or another we have all been driven by the desire to improve something. Be this fitness, finances, performance at work or any number of other things in our lives that we may want to change. But sometimes this desire leads us to doing the wrong thing for the right reason. Have you ever joined a gym with a view to improving fitness when simply walking half an hour a day would have given the same, if not greater benefit? Or taken out a credit card to pay for that holiday, when an extra £20 a month into your savings account would have covered it?

“When we open a bill that is larger than we would like it is natural to come to the conclusion that we need to reduce the amount of energy being used.”

“This is a trap that we can all fall into at times but we could easily avoid with effective forward planning, and matching up the right solution to the right problem. Take energy bills as an example. When we open a bill that is larger than we would like it is natural to come to the conclusion that we need to reduce the amount of energy being used. So we look at the things that use energy and look to reduce this. We think about how we are behaving and the products we have that consume energy. Are we switching lights off when they’re not needed? Is our boiler as efficient as it could be? Is our insulation good enough to keep the heat in and the cold out?

“The answer may well be no to all of these. Yes, there could be significant savings by upgrading the insulation, or swapping out the 10 year old boiler for a more modern, more efficient one. But remember what got us thinking about this in the first place: the need to save money and reduce our spending, – not that the building is cold, or the heating takes forever to come on. So maybe it’s not the energy use we need to look at after all, it’s the energy price.

“Working directly with businesses to cut energy spending, it never fails to surprise me just how unaware many people are of the different energy tariffs, the different suppliers and the different lengths of contract that are available. Getting the most appropriate deal for your business can often have a bigger impact than any material or behavioural changes that may be implemented. So, next time you open a utility bill and decide you need to reduce that spending, look at the deal you have and not the people and the products that are using it.

“Do you want to save money on energy? Get the best available deal. Don’t do the wrong thing for the right reason.”

Find out more about finding the right energy supplier for your business through Scarf Commercial Energy.

This blog was first published in the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s Business Bulletin – March edition.