Energy-efficiency importance: Can being energy efficient impact the perception of businesses?
The way that you present your business to the public is a big deal when you’re trying to get off the ground, especially when it comes to sustainability.
A study by Smartest Energy shows that 4 out of 5 people describe themselves as likely to choose a brand with a positive approach to environmental sustainability. But, the same study revealed that 45% of consumers are unaware of the practices brands have adopted to encourage environmental sustainability.
It's clear how a customer perceives a brand affects their chances of making a purchase.
Are you an energy-efficient business? If so, are you making it clear to your customers?
In this Bionic guide, we’ll explore the importance of energy efficiency practices and the impact this can have on the perception of your business.
What is energy efficiency, and why should it matter to my business?
Energy efficiency, while often seen as a technical term, is essentially about making wise and thoughtful choices when it comes to how your business uses energy.
Basically, wherever possible, your business should use energy efficiency measures like installing LED light bulbs and turning off monitors when not in use to help your business save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
But why does all this matter to small businesses? Well, using more energy-efficient measures can do wonders for your brand but can also:
- Help your business save money — What if you could cut down on your monthly energy bills? Energy efficiency allows you to do just that. By using energy more wisely, you can significantly reduce your operational costs, freeing up resources for other critical aspects of your business.
- Reduce impact on the environment — Energy efficiency is a way to demonstrate your commitment to reducing your carbon footprint. Consuming less energy shows your business contributes to a healthier planet and aligns with global sustainability goals, whether that’s upgrading to newer, more efficient equipment or appliances or educating your employees about sustainable working habits.
- More in line with regulatory compliances — Governments and regulatory bodies are placing greater weight on energy efficiency. There are often rules and standards in place that businesses must follow, like getting an EPC certificate. Ensuring compliance not only avoids legal issues but also shows your business is taking steps to be environmentally responsible.
- Give your business a competitive edge — Being energy-efficient can set your business apart from the competition. Customers and investors are more likely to support environmentally conscious companies. Energy efficiency can be a part of your brand identity and attract those who appreciate your commitment to sustainability.
What is brand perception?
Brand perception refers to how consumers and the general public perceive and interpret a brand. Essentially, it’s all of the thoughts, feelings, opinions and associations people have with a company, which can be influenced by a wide range of factors, including marketing efforts, product quality and customer experience. Every brand wants their perception to be positive - here are the key things to consider about yours:
- Brand image — This is the mental picture that people have of a brand. It includes visual elements like logos and packaging, as well as more abstract concepts like the brand's personality and values.
- Brand reputation — A brand's reputation is built over time and is based on its actions, products, and interactions with customers. A positive reputation can enhance brand perception, while a negative one can damage it.
- Brand awareness — This refers to how well people recognise and recall a brand. High brand awareness means that the brand is top of mind when consumers think about a particular product or category of products.
- Brand associations — These are the aspects or characteristics that people associate with a brand. For example, a brand might be associated with qualities like reliability, innovation, or cheap pricing. Some brands may collaborate with a celebrity or influencer to piggyback off their reputation. But this doesn’t always leave a brand in a positive light, so pick your collaborators wisely!
How do energy efficiency and brand perception work together?
When a brand emphasises and practices energy efficiency, it can positively impact how consumers perceive the brand.
Energy efficiency showcases a business's environmental responsibility, appealing to consumers who prefer eco-friendly choices. This often leads to cost savings and, consumers may associate a brand with being more financially responsible.
Also, energy-efficient brands are seen as more innovative and forward-thinking, meaning they can gain a more competitive edge in the market where sustainability actually matters.
By engaging in energy efficiency, a brand can demonstrate corporate social responsibility, enhance its long-term vision, and even boost employee happiness. Overall, energy efficiency can help create a brand image that reflects the responsibility, innovation, and sustainability a company demonstrates, which can attract environmentally-conscious consumers and enhance long-term brand loyalty.
How does energy efficiency impact a business's environmental footprint?
Energy efficiency can make a real impact on a business's carbon footprint, especially if a business uses self-generated electricity. This is because it directly reduces the business's energy consumption, meaning less demand for fossil fuels and other resources, like wind and solar power, required for energy generation. This means, there are fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less air pollution, leading to environmental sustainability.
Energy efficiency also ensures that energy resources are utilised more effectively, reducing wastage. Some companies even use energy management software to help them do this, by identifying inefficiencies in business operations so improvements can be made. This means fewer resources are used and there is less of a strain on the environment.
Energy efficiency often leads to a reduced reliance on finite and non-renewable energy sources and instead leads to companies adopting cleaner and more sustainable energy alternatives, like geothermal or biomass. This shift away from limited resources lessens the environmental impact, including habitat destruction which is often associated with extracting these energy resources.
How can energy efficiency help build a brand's image?
Building your brand image is one of the most important things you can do. Get it wrong, and it could be detrimental to the development and future of your business.
But being energy-efficient can help contribute to your image in several important ways:
Demonstrating a commitment to energy efficiency showcases transparency in your business operations. When consumers see your brand actively working to reduce its energy consumption, they perceive honesty and integrity in your practices.
Transparency builds trust, which is a cornerstone of a positive brand image.
Energy efficiency is a key component of sustainability. When your brand is associated with sustainable practices, it communicates that you are taking responsible steps to minimise your environmental impact.
Sustainability is a value that resonates with many consumers, and it can enhance your brand's image as one that cares about the planet and future generations.
Compliance and regulations
Complying with energy efficiency regulations and standards showcases that your brand operates within the bounds of the law.
It communicates a sense of responsibility and adherence to ethical business practices — which some businesses don’t follow.
This adherence to regulations can enhance your brand's image as a law-abiding and trustworthy entity, giving you more credibility among consumers.
Energy-efficient practices often result in cost savings, which can be passed on to customers in the form of lower prices or improved products and services.
When customers see that your brand is not only environmentally responsible but also considerate of their wallets, it can foster immense loyalty. Loyal customers are more likely to stick with your brand and recommend it to others, enhancing your brand's image through word-of-mouth.
Embracing energy efficiency is a sign of long-term thinking and strategic planning. It communicates that your brand is focused on sustainability and long-term viability rather than short-term gains. This perception can attract investors who are interested in businesses with a strong and enduring future, further enhancing your brand's image in the eyes of stakeholders.
What are some energy-efficient products businesses can implement?
There are some simple and easy switches or adjustments you can make to your business to reduce energy consumption and enhance sustainability.
- LED lighting — LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is an energy-efficient alternative to traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting. LED bulbs use significantly less electricity, have a longer lifespan, and emit less heat, making them an excellent choice for illuminating office spaces, warehouses, and retail environments. Upgrading to LED lighting can result in substantial energy savings. Find out more about the ways your business can save money with proper lighting with our guide.
- Solar panels — Solar panels are a renewable energy solution that allows businesses to generate their electricity from sunlight. By installing solar panels on rooftops or open areas, businesses can reduce their reliance on grid electricity and lower energy costs over the long term. Solar power can be especially beneficial for companies with high energy demands or those looking to demonstrate a commitment to clean energy.
- Windows and insulation — Improving building insulation and upgrading windows to more energy-efficient models can have a significant impact on heating and cooling costs. Proper insulation and energy-efficient windows help maintain indoor temperatures, reducing the need for excessive heating or air conditioning. This is particularly important for businesses with large commercial spaces or those who operate out of a warehouse.
- Occupancy sensors — Occupancy sensors are motion-activated devices that control lighting and HVAC systems based on occupancy levels in a room or area. They automatically turn off lights and adjust temperature settings when no one is present, preventing unnecessary energy consumption. These sensors are ideal for spaces like conference rooms, bathrooms, and office spaces.
- Energy management systems — Energy management systems (EMS) are comprehensive solutions that enable businesses to monitor, control, and optimise their energy usage. They often include software, hardware, and sensors that provide real-time data on energy consumption and enable businesses to implement energy-saving strategies. EMS can help identify energy waste, schedule equipment usage efficiently, and manage energy-intensive processes.
Get your business set with Bionic
Becoming an energy-efficient business can seem like a daunting task, but like anything, it starts with taking some small steps that could pay off in the long run.
If you need more help understanding how business energy works, get in touch today with the Bionic team. We’re also on hand to help with your business energy needs, including business electricity and business gas. Or do you want to read up on business energy yourself? Head over to our energy guides section to see content from our energy experts.