Energy Saving Tips For Your Business
For all the challenges small businesses face on a day-to-day basis, the cost of energy, until recently, was never a huge cause for concern.
Obviously, we all have gas and electricity bills to pay, but they've never taken quite such a large bite out of our bank accounts as they do now!
In recent months, the price of gas and electricity has increased enormously, although you probably didn't need us to tell you that! It stands to reason that if you can reduce the amount of energy you use, the more money you'll save.
Changes you can make to reduce your energy consumption vary from small adjustments to lighting to bigger projects like installing heat pumps or fitting solar panels.
Obviously, everyone's circumstances are different but there will be something you can do, even on the smallest of budgets, to save money in the long term.
In non-domestic spaces, heating accounts for about 40%of all energy use. With that in mind, we've put together 6 ways to help you save some money on your energy bills.
Hopefully, these will help show how you could use less to save more. With no further ado, if you're looking to save money on your energy bills, you could.....
1. Switch Your Energy Supplier
Whilst all providers are working in the same difficult, constricted energy market making alternatives harder to find, there may still be an opportunity to switch from your current provider to another one to get a better deal.
The options available may be lessened, but there's no harm in looking and shopping about to find a tariff that might fit you better.
For businesses, some offer free energy management software or discounts for usage at certain times of the day. Seeing what's available and shopping around may well save you money.
2. Regulate Temperatures
In the UK (where we're based) there is a legal requirement for employers to ensure their workplace is kept at a "reasonable" temperature.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, indoor workplaces need to be at least 16℃ (or 12℃ if they're doing "rigorous physical" work), so there will be a need to turn the heating up sooner or later. Incidentally, there's no upper limit temperature for heat!
To help manage your costs and keep you on the warm side of the law, it's always a good idea to be able to regulate the temperature in your workspace.
This can mean there will be a number of things you can do, change or implement to help regulate temperatures in the workplace including:
Set your thermostat to keep the temperature within legal limits.
Position (or reposition) desks to be near heat sources.
If necessary, move desks/furniture/filing cabinets away from radiators or heaters so they're not blocking the heat from circulating around.
If you have radiators in areas of the office you don't use or aren't populated, turn them off or relocate them.
Draftproof your offices to minimise heat escaping from windows and doors.
On warmer days (remember them?) don't have your air conditioning running AND have windows open!
Incidentally, if you work from home for substantial periods on a full-time or part-time basis, you may be able to claim tax relief on the additional costs of working from home. These include electricity, heating and even broadband!
3. Add Efficient Lighting
We all need to light our workspaces, even if the temptation is to work in the dark to save those pennies.
When looking around the office (or your home if you're one of those work-from-home types) and are working under fluorescent lighting, consider replacing these with LED lights to help save money.
For example, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEI) in the UK have calculated that a shop (or retail unit) covering 100 m² which replaces its fluorescent light with 25 x 18w LED could save around £440 per year. You can read more about that here.
It could also be worth installing timers, daylight and/or motion sensors to only turn lights on when they're needed, and off when no one is around.
This is especially useful if staff forget, or just don't, turn off lights when leaving the room or the office at the end of the day.
4. Buy Energy Efficient Devices
When you're in the market to buy new equipment, buy devices that are at the higher-end of the energy-efficient list. This can include everything from light fittings to appliances.
The aforementioned DBEI maintain an Energy Technology List which is a government-backed list of energy-efficient equipment of around 10,000 products making it one of the world’s largest databases of top-performing energy-saving products.
At the time of writing, it's updated twice a month (on the 1st and 15th) with new products added and older or discontinued products removed, so you can always be sure that if you're buying it, you can see how energy efficient it is before you do.
5. Laptop > Desktop
If any of the equipment you're buying is a computer, then it's better to opt for a laptop, rather than a desktop.
Not only is a laptop more flexible in terms of how it can be used (especially if your staff work from home a lot), but it's also going to be more energy efficient. This will help reduce your business's energy consumption.
On average, the cost of running a laptop for 8 hours a day over the course of a year will be £200 less than an equivalent desktop. That's quite a saving if you have a large team.
If replacing them isn't an option for you, then make sure they're switched off when not in use (i.e. at the end of the day) rather just left in 'sleep' or 'Standby' mode.
In fact, every desktop computer left running overnight could be costing you around £35 a year each!
6. Keep On Top of Maintenance
Our final tip is something that is equally important but so often overlooked and that's maintenance!
Maintaining and servicing your heating/cooling equipment is not only good practice in terms of keeping it running as it should and for longer, but it will also ensure its efficiency which saves you money in the long run.
This applies to everything from small appliances like the kettle and fridges to any large industrial machinery you might have.
Even simple things like clearing the dust from the coils on the back of the fridge can make cooling more energy efficient saving you money.
It's also a good idea to keep a note of days when machines are serviced, who did it and any repairs carried out. When they're at their end-of-life and need replacing, as we mentioned in Step 4, go for new products that are more energy efficient.
We hope that this helps you save a little money, especially over the winter. If not, feel free to print it off and burn it. Won't keep you warm for long, but it's better than nothing! ;-)
What energy-saving tips have you used that have helped? Is there any we've missed that would work well? Let us know in the comments below.