Simple changes to how your business uses energy can make a big difference to your bills.
It’s been a challenging year economically and small businesses have been hit hard. Now, with energy prices on the rise, many are looking for ways to cut bills quickly. If you’re in charge of paying the energy bills in your business premises, we’ve put together our top 10 energy saving tips for businesses so you can start doing that today.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? But it’s amazing how much energy is wasted by businesses leaving lights on when they are not needed. Make sure you turn off your lights, desktops, and non-essential equipment by the plug when your premises isn’t occupied.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy estimates that switching from conventional bulbs to LEDs can save businesses up to 80% in ongoing energy costs. When you combine LEDs with sensors that turn lights on automatically when rooms are being used you could save even more. Don’t forget where possible to make use of natural lighting too.
Old IT equipment and kitchen appliances can guzzle a lot of energy. Remove anything you don’t need and consider replacing essential pieces of equipment with energy efficient alternatives. Look for the energy efficiency label on any appliance you’re thinking about buying. This grades its efficiency from G (poor) to A (excellent).
The wrong workspace layout can block heat and use up more energy. Move filing cabinets, workbenches and sofas away from radiators to improve air flow. And if you have air conditioning units, give the filters, fans and vents a regular clean so they work more efficiently.
If you work in an old building, it’s easy to ignore draughts and just crank up the heat but often this can be easily avoided. If you want to invest for the long-term, double-glazing is very affective at reducing heat loss. Alternatively, draft excluders, heavy curtains, and closing the blinds as soon as the sun goes down are really affordable ways to maximise energy efficiency.
The debate about how high the heating should be can be a tricky one to navigate as a business owner. But bear in mind that just turning down your heating 1°C could cut 10% from your heating bill. (To help ease any arguments, we generally recommend a room temperature of between 18°C and 21°C.). Temperatures in the indoor workplace are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
Many of us need more than a couple of cuppas to get us through the working day. But did you know that kettles use around 6% of total electricity supply in Britain. Only boil how much water you actually need and regularly descale your kettle to make sure it isn’t running up your energy bills.
Large companies (with more than 250 employees) are required to carry out an energy audit by law, whereas small business aren’t. But many do them anyway and find them very beneficial. An energy audit is a thorough assessment of how you use energy: equipment, heating habits and more. With an in-depth understanding of your energy output you can identify areas where you can save.
A lot of these changes, like turning off lights or equipment, will need your employees to take responsibility, so think about how you communicate with them. Posters or emails with non-pushy reminders about how little things can make a big difference is one way of doing it. Or you could create a team target to reduce energy with an incentive for everyone if you hit it.
Smart meters send accurate reads straight to your energy company and give you a live view of how much energy you are using. This means you can see your energy output through the day and make adjustments accordingly. Many companies, including us, fit smart meters for customers at no extra cost.
The Carbon Trust has published free guides that outline energy cost saving ideas for business of different sectors. Each guide details straight-forward and low-cost measures you can take as well as longer term investment opportunities to improve your business’ energy efficiency.