Want to save money on your business energy bills? Dr Paul Swift is an energy consultant at the Carbon Trust who has helped businesses around the world reduce their energy waste. His energy savings checklist provides simple, achievable steps for businesses that want to get their gas and electricity bills under control, whatever their size or budget. Regardless of the size or budget of your business, these 6 simple steps will help you cut energy waste.
1. Check your figures
(know how much you’re using)
Speak to your energy supplier about getting a smart meter. They give you accurate bills and help you keep track of how much you’re spending. Check you’re not using more than you should against sector benchmarks (e.g. the Better Building Partnership for offices).
2. Walk around your premises
(discover what uses most energy)
Note the wattage of all equipment. A smart meter combined with plug-in watt meters (measuring energy use of individual appliances) will help you work out which equipment is causing peaks in consumption, so you can take action to cut costs.
3. Get your timing right
(only use energy when you need to)
Can you switch-on your high wattage items later or turn-off earlier? Ensure air conditioning and heating are set to the right times for your business hours. Get some plug-in timers; they’ll pay for themselves and are an easy way to make sure everything gets turned off at the right time.
4. Kit yourself out
(invest in energy saving equipment)
Before shelling out, ask yourself: How long will I be in this property? How long am I prepared to wait till this kit has paid for itself? Prioritise the things you use a lot, like fridges and lights. Understand product energy labels; is A grade definitely the best? A++ might be better. Check the Carbon Trust’s Green Business Directory of accredited suppliers to help you decide what to buy. Specialist financing is available for energy efficiency improvements, as well as capital contributions of up to £10k through the Carbon Trust’s Green Business Fund.
5. Get employees on board
(win their hearts and minds)
Reward good behaviour. Find an incentive for staff – it doesn’t have to be financial. Focus on the changes that will save the most money. Worry less about smaller things (like phone chargers). If staff changing their behaviour, find the root of the problem. And don’t be scared of tackling issues such as workplace temperature. Make staff feel part of something good but try not to preach. Posters and emails should be light-hearted.
6. Keep warm
(stop heat escaping)
Check your property for drafts. Borrow an infrared camera, if possible, so you can see where heat loss is occurring. Insulate, insulate, insulate. Loft roll for attics, and insulating board for holes. Cheap tweaks like foam strips on doors/windows, and brush fixings in letterboxes can stop energy pouring through the cracks. Foam strips need to be replaced every so often.