BEEP focuses solely on supporting small business in County Durham, by identifying where financial savings can be made through energy efficiency improvements, whether that be by introducing new equipment or practical advice to support behavioural changes.

Importantly, these steps also help in reducing their carbon footprint and environmental impact contributing towards the county’s target in becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Energy auditing, at home, work and business is fundamental in determining the energy consumption and savings that can be made, but also, very importantly, helps reduce our environmental impact and pollution levels.

Energy costs are soaring, and if we don’t take the guesswork out of our energy usage, our pockets can be at considerable risk.

An auditor’s work is pivotal, because in the case of energy, less is more. Lower energy consumption equals lower energy costs. And, of course, less energy consumption is obviously good for the environment.

Pre-covid19, our days would have consisted of several visits to businesses asking for our support and input to help identify where savings could be made through energy efficiency measures. The process would be carried out usually within three visits, which would involve an initial induction visit, which was an opportunity to get a feel for the business, what it did, how it did it and what did it hoped to achieve with BEEP help. This would be followed up with an energy audit and then a final sign off visit to discuss the energy report. Several businesses would then apply for a grant which the auditor would then arrange a further visit to confirm the agreed work had been carried out.

Having the ability to visit sites, meet people face to face, the human interaction we all so clearly crave, gave us the opportunity to build great relationships and better understand the business needs giving us firm foundation to provide tailored advise and accurate analysis to help reach the desired outcome.

Once the pandemic struck, following strict government guidelines, most businesses closed, and we began home working. It is fair to say that business enquiries slowed down, although not entirely. We started to look at how we could continue to support businesses without physically carrying out site visits. We are a passionate team and supporting our region’s businesses is important to us and we wanted to continue to help where it was possible.

We looked at our digital processes, improved our channels to continue providing some support. Whether that was making it easier to contact us through our website and social media, or get much needed energy saving tips in such an unprecedent time. Of course, a lot was down to trial and error as everyone was adapting to the new way of life during the restrictions that came due the pandemic.

A lot of work was carried out remotely during these challenging times and this was something very new to our role and brought about innovative and creative thinking which resulted in us being able to continue supporting county Durham small business using different approaches

Electronic communications would never be as satisfactory as ‘real life’ interactions but the ability to reach out and have conversations, gather information and data were more successful than, perhaps we initially expected.

As the restrictions began to ease at times we were able to complete some site visits, following strict covid19 guidelines at all times and keeping everyone safe, and although it wasn’t ideal, it was a breath of fresh air being able to physically visit businesses and provide that human touch and interaction.

Enquiries continued to come in both from those businesses that worked through the lockdowns and those that had most people furloughed. It may be incidental, from the economic upheaval, that some businesses will not return to work and that many others will have used reserves that may have otherwise been used for energy efficiency and improvements. We were more determined to help businesses reduce energy and, consequently costs and their carbon footprint.

Energy efficiency is not a modern-day fad but is a long-term business strategy that will increase in competitiveness through reduced costs and advantages in tendering processes. It also provides good public relation (PR) opportunities and empowers staff to take a greater pride in the work they do because of the reduced impact of the business on the environment, natural resources, and the planet.

Here at BEEP we thrive in supporting local businesses improve through implementation of energy efficiency measures, make financial savings, and grow.  A business has nothing to lose from working with us but a lot to gain. At worst that business will be better informed about the potential benefits of implementing energy efficiency measures. All our support is grant funded meaning its free to access.