The UK’s economy continues to grow as does the population and with it, the amount of energy we use.  Businesses use the highest amount of both gas and electricity and this means energy providers have to make more to handle this increased demand.  From 2015 to 2016, the UK’s energy use grew by 1.6% and while the weather played a factor, this was part of a clear trend.  Natural gas demand increased by over 3% but also the use of renewables also increased by 8% as the country uses energy from more diverse and sustainable sources.

Which industries use the most energy?

Domestic energy use, only accounts for around 29% of the UK’s energy use, with the rest being split between transport, services and industry.  Currently, around 40% of the UK’s energy use goes into transport while industry accounts for 17% and the remaining 14% are for services.  However, different sectors and businesses use energy at different rates than others.  So who uses the most?

Goods and services

In terms of the goods and services sector, which accounts for just 14% of the UK’s total use, 65% of this went into commercial businesses while 29% was used in public administration such as government buildings.  The final 6% was used in agriculture.

By sectors, Health services accounted for 21% of the use followed by 18% for offices, 17% for retail and 13% for hospitality.  Education used 11%, followed by 9% for community, art and leisure facilities and the same amount for storage facilities.  The emergency services used 3% and the military 2%.

The actual energy used is also different for the different parts of this sector.  For example, the public sector uses gas most with 55% of the energy consumed being this.  For commercial properties, electricity accounts for 50% of their use while with agriculture, 23% of their use comes from biofuel and natural gas is just 7%.

Manufacturing and industrial sectors

This sector accounted for 17% of the UK’s energy use and this figure was the lowest consumption since 1970.  The change in what energy is used is also notable – back in 1970, it was 82% from solid fuels such as coal while now this is just 23% of consumption.

Within the sector, the chemicals industry uses just over 14% of the total use and 12% goes into food, drink and tobacco production.  Another 10% is used by mineral production and a similar figure for paper, printing and publishing.  The largest percentage is the ‘other industries’ which account for 28% of the use.

The biggest energy users – 2016

Currently, the top 10 largest business energy consumers are:

  1. Offices (privately owned)
  2. Chemical manufacturing companies
  3. Hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, pubs)
  4. Food products manufacturing
  5. Hospitals
  6. Mineral manufacturing (non-metallic)
  7. Metals manufacturing
  8. Plastic and rubber manufacturing
  9. Small shops
  10. Paper product manufacturing

It is no surprise that the South East tops the charts for the amount of energy used by businesses followed by Scotland, the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and Greater London.