Increased overheads and the current business climate have cost savings at the forefront of the minds of every business owner and manager and no industry or sector have been spared. We have had conversations with many business owners who have expressed their concerns and therefore have drawn up some energy saving tips for small businesses.
Audit and upgrade to energy-efficient equipment
There is a lot of energy consumed by computers, machinery and other electrics around the office or workplace, especially if they are old and lack the energy-saving features that a newer model would offer.
Upgrades to energy-efficient models can make a significant difference to your business’s energy bills. In the first instance, we’d recommend conducting an audit around your workplace and determine where you could upgrade and invest to incur longer-term cost savings; remember leasing is always an option so you don’t have a large financial layout to save longer-term.
Furthermore, you should consider the following in your business:
- Routinely clean or replace your HVAC filters – when using your cooling or heating system more air and matters are being channelled through your HVAC system, if not changed or replaced the HVAC filters can cause your system to be overworked and cost more to run.
- Fridge maintenance – this one is particularly pertinent for food businesses, if you haven’t a maintenance schedule for your refrigeration you should consider it to ensure it runs efficiently.
- Introduce sensor or self-closing taps to reduce water wastage.
- Is your boiler in need of replacing? Newer boilers can use up to 30% less energy compared to their older and less efficient equivalents. Check how old your boiler is and what the energy rating is, boiler efficiency is measured by ERP (energy-related product) rating that is graded from A to G, with A being highly efficient.
Involve your staff
As a team exercise get your staff involved, start with a brainstorming of how you could save energy as a company. The staff will share their thoughts and have some ownership over the whole process and will take it more seriously. Whilst reducing energy wastage helps reduce the energy bill, it contributes towards a leaner and more sustainable business for your employees which could translate into employee initiatives and the like. Foster an energy-efficient culture within your organisation.
Some initiatives you could introduce as a collective within your business include:
- Turn off computers and monitors – encourage all staff to turn off their machines rather than put them on standby at the end of the day. This practice alone can save £35 a year per desk!
- Boil what you need – we all love a good brew! And we are all guilty of putting excessive water into the kettle, not only does it take longer to heat up, but it also consumes more energy so ask employees to make it a habit to only heat sufficient water.
- Casual dress code – Depending on the nature of your business, you could allow employees to wear better suited and more comfortable clothing during the hot weather, thus reducing the need to manage the temperature.
- Reduce printing – go green and save costs by only printing when necessary. There are some tips from DocuSign on how to reduce paper waste here. Quoting the article “According to research conducted by Kyocera, the average office worker in the UK uses up to 45 pieces of paper per day, and a staggering two-thirds of that is considered waste.” Avoid this by making a paperless office a thing for your business!
Is your lighting energy efficient?
If you are not using greener lighting then you should be! Why? Well LED lights consume 75% less energy compared to incandescent lighting. What’s more, the average lifetime is far greater, so you save money on electricity, you don’t need to replace lamps as frequently, and your CO2 emissions reduce too.
To illustrate this point further, here are some calculations outlining cost-saving and CO2 emission reduction based upon premises using 8 hours of light, 5 days a week and swapping 10 40w non-LED bulbs with 6w LED bulbs at a kWh unit cost of 17p.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 5||Year 10|
|Non-LED energy use:||832 kWh||1664 kWh||2496 kWh||4160 kWh||8320 kWh|
|LED energy use:||125 kWh||250 kWh||374 kWh||624 kWh||1248 kWh|
|Non-LED CO2 emissions:||451 kg||902 kg||1353 kg||2255 kg||4509 kg|
|LED CO2 emissions:||68 kg||135 kg||203 kg||338 kg||676 kg|
|CO2 saving:||383 kg||767 kg||1150 kg||1917 kg||3833 kg|
|Non-LED energy cost:||£141.44||£282.88||£424.32||£707.20||£1414.40|
|LED energy cost:||£21.22||£42.43||£63.65||£106.08||£212.16|
Changing only 10 light bulbs can save you over £600 over the course of 5 years! This doesn’t require much effort or investment to do yet provides a great return. To calculate the potential for your business to reduce cost and CO2 emissions, visit the LED savings calculator here.
Separately it’s worth considering installing motion sensors for lighting, automatically turning the lighting off when the space is not in use.
Air conditioning and heating
As we transition through the seasons, it can be easy to forget to adjust our heating and cooling settings accordingly until it becomes either too obviously hot or cool. Here in the UK, where the weather can be temperamental, it’s worth keeping a close eye on when our heating/air conditioning comes on and off, and at what levels and adjust accordingly regularly.
Review your commercial utility deal
When was the last time you reviewed your utility contract? Whilst there has been volatility in the energy market lately you could be paying over the odds for your utilities, so we’d recommend reviewing your paperwork and seeing what deal you have.
As a commercial utility broker, we can help you establish if you are on a competitive tariff for you, so we’d love to hear from you and help you cut costs; to learn what a commercial utility broker is and how we can help click here.
Contact us and let’s see if we can save you some money, click here for our contact details.