New research has revealed that businesses in the retail sector are wasting 40% of their total energy use by leaving on lights and unnecessary air conditioning and heating when they’re closed.

This means a typical retailer’s bill could be costing them a staggering £4m a year for the excess energy used in order to appear ‘open’ to the public.

The current evidence shows that the current split of energy use in trading versus non-trading hours is 60/40, but if action is taken this could be reduced to 80/20 by introducing energy management systems or technology.

Ivan McKeever, CEO at WEMSinternational, which carried out the research, said, “For retailers, the need to keep stores looking open at all times and extended trading hours continue to push up their energy use.”

He added, “Retailers should consider introducing monitoring and managing methods, such as presence detection, so that lighting is only on when the building’s in use. There are simple changes, such as shifting light levels according to use of space. An example is trading and stock rooms, which can have considerable effects on usage, but still be fit for purpose.”

WEMSinternational’s technology, which was launched in 2008, delivers energy savings of up to 30% for UK companies, while also reducing their CO2 emissions. The wireless system is designed to effectively manage energy use across property estates, including lighting, air conditioning and heating.

The wireless device is currently used by a range of clients such as British Telecom (BT), Marks & Spencer, Fitness First and Dunelm Mill.