Which UK businesses use the most energy? [Infographic]

As the UK’s population continues to grow, the demand for goods and services is rising.

30 August 2018

But what impact is this having on the energy sector, and which businesses are responsible for consuming the highest amount of gas and electricity to keep up with the growing demand? 

From 2015 to 2016, the overall amount of energy consumed in the UK grew by 1.6%. While some of this increase may be due to the lower mean temperature for the year, it also reflects a growing demand for energy. Demand for natural gas saw an increase of 3.2%, while the use of renewables also increased, with bioenergy consumption rising by over 8% – demonstrating the nation’s move to cleaner fuels.


Which industries and sectors have the highest energy consumption?

With domestic energy accounting for over a quarter of the UK’s overall consumption, the rest is used in transport, industry and services. But which sectors and businesses are responsible for consuming the most energy, and what types of fuel do they typically use?

To find out, we’ve put together a comprehensive illustrated guide showing where energy is consumed across different sectors in the UK. The graphic details which types of business use the highest amount of energy in their sector, and also includes a breakdown of the biggest business energy consumers.

For quick reference, the UK’s top 10 biggest business energy consumers are:

  1. Private offices – 3,539 ktoe
  2. Chemical manufacturing – 2,874 ktoe
  3. Hospitality – 2,458 ktoe
  4. Food products manufacturing – 2,242 ktoe
  5. Hospitals – 2,237 ktoe
  6. Non-metallic mineral manufacturing – 1,924 ktoe
  7. Basic metals manufacturing – 1,489 ktoe
  8. Rubber and plastic manufacturing – 1,442 ktoe
  9. Small shops – 1,376 ktoe
  10. Paper products manufacturing – 1,297 ktoe

How does business energy usage vary by region and location?

Aside from the industries themselves, there are also variances in where business energy is used across the UK.

For example, industrial and commercial businesses in South East England consume an average of 5,102 ktoe of energy, while those in the North East use just 3,224 ktoe. Of course, population plays a part in this, but it does highlight interesting differences in where energy is being used.

To illustrate this further, we’ve added a map showing where business energy is being used by geographic location across the UK, so you can get a picture of the average energy consumption across all UK businesses.

For reference, here are the UK’s top 3 regions for industrial and commercial energy use:

  1. South East – 5,102 ktoe
  2. Scotland – 4,883 ktoe
  3. North West – 4,875 ktoe

which businesses use the most energy

As the statistics demonstrate, the way in which UK businesses consume energy has changed dramatically since 1970. Though solid fuels remain the biggest source of energy for domestic and commercial energy use, the demand for natural gas is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as the UK looks to further reduce its carbon emissions. Indeed, we’re already seeing this, with gas use increasing by 3.2% in the past twelve months. 


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Many factors affect overall energy consumption, not least the weather, which is why energy consumption varies greatly from sector to sector. But as the population of the UK continues to rise, the demand for energy will rise with it – so we can certainly expect increased energy consumption in the future.

Gazprom Energy is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of business energy, providing gas and electricity to thousands of small, medium and large organisations. To find out more, visit the homepage or call us on 0161 837 3395.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.


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