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11 ways to reduce your business electricity and energy costs
Every business of course wants to reduce overheads and save money on outgoing bills. It is easier than you might think though to see some immediate results.
In this guide we’ll not only show you step-by-step the best ways to save on your ongoing business electricity costs by changing tariffs and providers, but also company wide initiatives and ideas you can implement today to further increase those savings.
Best Ways to Save on your Electricity Bills
1 – When not in use – turn it off!
The easiest way to save electricity is to not use it. Of course, during a business working day equipment, lighting etc… will be in constant use but unless your business runs 24 hours a day 7 days a week, there will be periods of time your business premises will be empty of people. During these times, it is key to take the opportunity to reduce your electricity spend.
If you conduct an after-hours inspection of your business premises, you’ll get an instant and often surprising opportunity to see the equipment often left on and running during the night. Lamps, laptops, lights, machinery, office kitchen equipment etc… are all guilty appliances.
Get in to the habit of turning off electricity hungry equipment when not in use can see a dramatic drop in your electricity consumption.
2 – Movement Detection Lighting
One useful technology upgrade you could consider for your business is movement detection lighting. It allows lights to either be turned off or heavily dimmed until movement is detected, and the lights instantly turn on in full.
Health and safety has always been a consideration and a reason businesses haven’t installed these but now with instant lightbulb illumination in full – along with falling costs of movement detection lighting, as a number of manufacturers and suppliers have entered the business lighting industry – has meant there is now little reason not to install these.
3 – Eco Friendly Office Equipment
Recently the UK government has been continuing to raise awareness business energy consumption, and how we as a country reduce our mark on the world. This has led to a number of changes and an increase in descriptive packaging across lots of industry electricity consuming products. Finding eco-friendly office equipment has become easier than ever.
Being green is definitely the in-thing, and rightly so. As well as reducing our overall energy consumption it gives each individual business the opportunity to lower the electricity costs too.
Equipment that turns itself off, or manages to limit the standard energy consumption a similar product 10 years ago would have needed, are all firm favourites.
4 – Better Insulation
Heating systems and even electric heaters are very common place in most businesses, especially during the winter. Both are very electricity consuming and both very noticeable on your businesses’ electricity bill.
Often though the increase use of such equipment by employees is a direct result of poor insulation within the premises. This heat loss can be through the walls or through the roof. With the right amount of insulation, you can help keep your business premises heated for longer, and reduce the need for external appliances.
If you lease your premises, speak with your landlord or premises owner. Even carry out your own inspection to make sure you are not paying more than you need in electricity and other energy costs.
5 – Raise Awareness and Incentivise
Many business owners and managers know of the issues but are unable to personally go around to every workstation and machine at the end of every day to switch off equipment.
This is where you need to raise awareness of the issue to employees and encourage their help.
- Everyone to power down their workstation at the end of the day;
- Last person in the premises to switch off lights;
- Designated individuals or teams to switch off larger machinery or equipment;
Often though these are forgotten. Businesses have found success with incentivising and with initiatives.
This could be a competition where the person suggesting the best electricity reducing method wins a prize. Not only will you have the opportunity to raise the awareness to all your employees, but someone may have a really good, over-looked, idea that just may save the business some money.
6 – Take advantage of natural daylight
It’s not uncommon to see several dark areas in the workplace. Small cubbyholes, or areas blocked off from natural sunlight through stud walls, machinery, boxes or office restructuring.
It wouldn’t therefore surprise you to know that those areas often command the greatest electricity and energy spend per foot than anywhere else.
Without an area of your business premises having access to sunlight, it needs to be artificially illuminated.
There is though a solution by way of a Sunlight Tunnel. These tunnels allow sunlight to enter via a sealed opening in the roof and light passes down to those dark areas. If there isn’t a direct path from the roof to the area, the light can be ‘bent’ through a series of mirrors, still providing the desired effect.
The Government controlled and funded Energy.gov website has a very useful article on the feature of sunlights and skylights for both private and business properties
7 – Energy efficient Light bulbs
All lightbulb packing now includes an energy efficient rating. The higher the energy efficiency (towards the green area) should result in less electricity consumption – and naturally lower bills, but continue to purchase those high energy bulbs (towards the red area) and those cheaper bulbs do not work out so cheap in the long run.
There are often bulk purchase deals even on energy saving bulbs. Amazon and Groupon are good places to try, as well as usual distributors who are stocking more and more energy saving products as the demand is increasing.
8 – Seek out an energy audit
Between you and your team you may immediately discover 70% of where energy is being spent, and identify ways to reduce your electricity bills – but an energy audit can be a really good way to spot all the ways you are unknowingly wasting energy but they often know the very best ways to tackle the problem too.
The government initiated the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) for large corporations with either 250 or more employees and, or, has an annual turnover of £44,845,000 (€50m) and an annual balance sheet total of £38,566,700 (€43m). The latest Government requirements for ESOS is available here
This audit not only looks at how energy efficient a business is, but also it must show ways and opportunities to reduce consumption.
For other businesses (SMEs) the benefits vs the costs can be outweighed many times over, especially over a longer term.
The Government has put together an approved register of ESOS lead assessors
9 – End of Day Power Down
This is one initiative businesses have started running that has seen some good, early, results. The End of Day Power Down is as it suggests, which is to encourage every employee to ensure their workstation is running with only required power during out of office hours.
The best way for this to run is
- Start with a brief internal workshop to staff showing them the business and environmental reasons for keeping power at a minimum during non-staffed hours;
- Follow this up with a presentation or pack giving further information – or even a repeat of the presentation shown in the workshop;
- For the first week of two of the initiative run daily automated emails around 15mins before official closing time reminding all employees to Power Down their workstations before they leave (keep these a little different each time with a tip, comment, update on progress so they are not too repetitive with the same message);
- Monitor the results;
10 – Monitor Your Usage
It’s amazing how many businesses only review their electricity and energy bills once a year during financial audit and end of year books. Whilst businesses look to show as much revenue and profit as they can, they can often be offset and reduced with higher than necessary utility bills.
Only at this time is there a memo or notice to staff, and all is forgotten about until the end of year books are due this time next year.
It’s important to monitor your usage regularly to show whether initiatives and opportunities are having an effect.
11 – Find the best electricity provider and tariff
Not all tariffs are the same, and not all providers charge the same price. Just like your personal insurance and utility bills, it can pay dividends to shop around for the best possible prices and best tariffs for your business and organisation each year.
Effects on business energy on environment
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past twenty or so years, you couldn’t fail to notice the number of news headlines, documentaries and sheer volume of awareness around the impact to our environment and how much business energy consumption is playing a part.
Reducing your energy consumption for one business – multiplied by thousands of businesses – not only has the immediate affect of reducing your overheads as a business, but has a much better impact on the environment.
Wikipedia has a full comprehensive analysis and study material around the environmental impact of the energy industry as a whole
It doesn’t take much to see a result. Small changes here and there have an instant positive impact. Policy changes, (sometimes) structural changes and employee awareness then take this initiative one step further.
The last factor is to keep reviewing your energy tariff and your energy provider. Ensure you have the best rates for your business and your businesses growing needs
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