The bitter bite of winter is here! With the lowering of temperatures, it’s important to remain energy conscious so that your consumption does not rise unnecessarily. As part of our dedication to sustainability, Clear Business switched to green electricity in September 2018 and to continue in this vein we’ve put together some top tips on how you can save business energy this winter.
Overusing energy can be costly in many ways, and it can happen easily as a result of unexpected, beastly weather events or even something as simple as a light being left on. It can be a bit intimidating as you ask yourself ‘Where do I start?’, so here are some straightforward tips that could also help you save energy and, in turn, money at the same time.
Turning lights off
According to The University of Cambridge, it is a common myth that leaving a fluorescent light – the lighting commonly found in most businesses – continually on is cheaper than turning it on and off when needed. The reality is, turning lights off in an unoccupied or unused area such as a corridor, bathroom, or office, will save on costs. It is important to be strategic. For example, simply implementing a rule for your staff of ‘Last one out turns off the lights’ will prevent unnecessary usage. Consider signs or stickers as a handy reminder!
However, we know that some businesses such as warehouses, offices shops, or even late-night hairdressers, need lights on almost constantly. Did you know a filament or incandescent bulb can be £0.016p per hour to run while a LED light can cost £0.002 to run? The Energy Saving Trust advise that the two most cost effective and low CO2 producing light bulbs are compact fluorescent lights and LED. A simple bulb swap could considerably cut down costs and save business energy this winter.
You could also consider installing occupancy sensors with timer switches or movement sensors that can help cut cost of lighting by 30%, according to GOV.UK. Findings in The Telegraph suggested that these savings mean the sensors pay for themselves within 3 months. Why not give them a try?
Though there is a common misconception that leaving the heating on at a low temperature throughout the day will save on costs, it is better to time your heating and set it at the correct temperature during the necessary work hours instead. Digital timers and thermostats on boilers help establish specific times and days for when the heating should go on and off, but it’s important to check these are working correctly on a regular basis.
GOV.UK has put together a handy guide for energy efficiency here and advise that when heating office spaces or general areas, the temperature should be set at 19°C. You can save on costs by setting less used areas such as corridors, storerooms or empty rooms at a temperature lower than 19°C. The guide highlights that heating costs increase 8% for every 1°C and increasing the thermostat does not warm the room quicker but does increase costs. Turning your heating down 2°C would save £140 on a £1,000 bill.
Rather than resorting to the use of electric heaters which are expensive to run, mapping out the premises is important. Finding the right position for radiators can make a big difference to temperature. PVC plastic sheets around doors that need to stay open can help keep some warmth in and checking doors and windows for draughts to seal will reduce the amount of heat loss.
Work equipment can be your best friend when getting the job done but your worst enemy when it comes to energy usage. Did you know that almost 46% of electricity in businesses is used outside of normal hours? This could be even more depending on the nature of your business. So, an instant way to save business energy this winter is to turn equipment off when not in use.
It might sound obvious but leaving computers on standby or sleep mode is wasting valuable energy. Only leave the essentials on such as internet equipment, security systems, fridges, etc. Turning down the brightness on your computer or laptop can help in two ways: less energy use and helps prevent eye strain. Ofgem also suggest turning off office equipment at the plug at the end of the day also helps, such as photocopiers, printers and fax machines.
The same principles apply with kitchens or break room equipment, with electric kettles and microwaves for example. Turning equipment off can also help with its lifetime, so less time will be needed to replace them. Another recommendation from GOV.UK is, when buying or replacing items make sure you check that the equipment has an Energy Label with an energy efficiency class. Appliances within Band A are the most energy efficient.
Be clear and strategic and take the time to discuss this with your co-workers or staff. With these small but easy tips, you can save time and money, making your business more efficient economically and environmentally. Make energy efficiency your New Year’s Resolution and see how much you could save.
For some advice on how to prepare your business for winter and prevent frozen pipes, see another of our blogs here.
Looking to reduce your business’ carbon footprint by switching to Green Electricity? Business electricity from Clear Business is not only green, it comes at no extra cost to our usual tariff. Call us on 0333 014 3131 today to find out more.