With autumn upon us and winter just around the corner, energy costs can ramp up in the colder months, with one third of SME businesses reporting the cost of energy as a barrier to growth.
Did you know many businesses could reduce their energy bills by 18-25% by installing energy efficiency measures, with many of them at no cost?
There are lots of straightforward actions business owners can take to reduce their energy bills. Many of these are simple steps and practices that won’t break the bank and while others might need some investment, they'll pay for themselves in just a few years.
Keeping on top of your energy costs can be a struggle for some business owners, so we created this list to help you cut your bills with just a few easy steps.
This will not only help you to reduce your energy bills, but could also help your business reduce its carbon footprint.
- Reduce the temperature of your thermostat
The higher the thermostat the higher your bills are. On average, heating costs increase by 8% for every 1°C. That means, turning the temperature down by 2°C could help you save £160 on £1,000 bill.
- Make sure your thermostat is set to the right time and date, especially when the clocks change. It might be a good idea to set a reminder on your calendar too
- Consider if you need the heating on during weekends and Bank Holidays. If the office is closed during the weekend make sure your heating is off too
- It’s recommended that heating in offices should be set at 19°C in the summer and 24°C during the colder seasons, but keep an eye on what is a comfortable temperature for your team and adjust accordingly
- In corridors, storerooms and areas of higher physical activity, the temperature can be set below 19°C
- Assign one person to be responsible for the thermostat
- Upgrade to modern digital thermostat which is more accurate than a traditional dial thermostat
- Utilise the sunshine
We don’t get to enjoy the sunshine in autumn and winter that often in the UK, so if there is any, make sure you take advantage.
Make sure your windows are not obstructed by furniture or filing cabinets. Natural light will reduce the amount of light you need in the office and can also make your office warmer. Also, who doesn’t love a bit of sunshine...?
- Prevent cold air coming in.
30% of heating costs could be saved by preventing cold air coming into the building.
- Identify any draughts in the building and draught proof them
- Separate areas with different temperatures with swing doors that allow easy access or fit PVC strip curtains to reduce draughts
- Make sure radiators are free from obstructions. This will help reduce how many additional electrical heaters are used, which can be expensive to run
- Make sure that desks are not too close or too far from radiators. This will help to reduce windows being opened or electric heaters being used
- Install motion sensors or timers
Occupancy sensors could help you cut your energy bill by 30%. If you are unable to install motion sensors, you could consider the following to reduce your bills:
- Nominate one person to turn off all the lights in the evening. Perhaps whoever leaves the office last or a cleaner or security guard
- Install timers to automatically turn your lights on and off when the building is empty
- Create reminders and promotional material to raise awareness so that staff are clear that lights should be turned off when not required
- Keep window blinds or curtains open during daylight hours when possible
- Energy efficient light bulbs
It won’t surprise you to hear that energy efficient light bulbs can help reduce the amount of energy you use and they last longer too, but did you know that the savings are potentially huge - LED bulbs use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last 40 times longer.
- Turn off the equipment when not in use
- Make sure staff turn off their computer monitors when they are away from computers for long periods of time
- When not in use, make sure all computer equipment is set to sleep or hibernation mode
- Infrequently used equipment should be only turned on when required
- Only boil the amount of water you need in kettles
- Make sure electrical equipment is turned off in the kitchen at the end of the day
- Make sure the dishwasher is fully filled and turned on at the end of the day
- Operational maintenance
Just like a car requires regular maintenance, you should make sure you maintain your boiler or air conditioners. This will help to ensure they are running efficiently and keep cost down.
Book in regular maintenance checks to make sure they don’t let you down when you need them most.
- Appoint a ‘Green Champion’
Appoint one person to be responsible for making sure you’re doing everything you can to improve the energy efficiency in your business.
Every few months, your Green Champion should carry out checks on energy habits within the business and produce a report.
- Engage your staff
Even if you do everything mentioned above, you can’t sustain it without the support of your staff.
Educate, train and encourage staff to help to maintain these practises.
Introduce it as part of your induction training to your new employees so they understand their responsibilities.
- Check your energy contracts
Take the time to check what rates you’re paying for your energy to see if you could negotiate a better deal. It’s estimated that one in ten businesses are paying over the odds on expensive deemed tariffs, which are often as much as 80% more expensive than a negotiated fixed term deal.
If you find you’re on a deemed rate, or are coming to the end of your fixed term, visit our business energy page to find out if we can help you to cut your energy bills.
Did you find this article useful? Do you have other tips and suggestions that you use in your business? Tell us on our social media channels and suggest other tips that we can share with other SME businesses.