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If you’re determined to cut down energy usage within your business, your first line of action should be to conduct an energy audit.
Read Time : 5 Min Read
As a business, saving energy is usually viewed as a top priority, not only because it helps to save the company money on expensive energy bills but also because the environment is a major focus of a business’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In this guide, we will be giving you our top energy saving tips to help work towards a greener future whilst also saving your business thousands of pounds in energy bills.
Start by Conducting an Energy Audit
If you’re determined to cut down energy usage within your business, your first line of action should be to conduct an energy audit. This involves taking a look at your entire business and assessing where changes could be made. You can either choose to carry out this audit yourself or you can hire a commercial auditor instead. Whichever you choose, your energy audit should be identifying where your company uses energy, how much is being used and any areas where there may be wastage. Once these key areas have been identified, you can start to plan effective ways to save energy.
Turn Off Equipment When Not in Use
Businesses can lose thousands of pounds each year in wasted energy due to appliances being left on when not in use. According to the Energy Saving Trust, over the period of a year, a laser printer uses £18+ worth of power when left on standby, with a modem using £6 worth and a PC around £2.50. Whilst these figures may not seem like much individually, the costs can start to add up. Businesses with 250 computers, 2 modems and 5 printers could be losing out on almost £730 every year, not to mention all the other appliances that are frequently left running.
Replace Old and Inefficient Equipment
Whilst this might seem obvious, many business owners aren’t aware of the significant strain that inefficient equipment is putting on their business. Although it may seem counterintuitive to spend great amounts of money on new equipment, you could actually save much more in the long run thanks to new energy saving technologies.
Switch to Energy Efficient Lighting
According to government figures, upgrading your old conventional lighting to new LED technology could save your company up to 80% on lighting bills each year. LEDs also offer the added benefit of having a much longer lifespan, meaning you would have to replace them far less often than you would with conventional lighting, allowing you to save even more.
Use Lighting Timers/Sensors
Energy from lights are often being wasted in businesses when they are left on continuously throughout the day, even when a room is not in use. A simple solution to this is to install automatic lighting controls such as timers or sensors. Timers automatically turn lights off at set times e.g. 6pm when everyone has left the office. Alternatively, you could opt for lighting sensors which turn lights off when they haven’t detected movement within the room for a certain period of time.
Use Natural Lighting
Many work environments rely on electric lighting throughout the day to keep rooms well lit, however, when the weather is brighter you can take advantage of the natural daylight by opening blinds and turning off artificial lights, reducing your energy consumption.
Although improving the insulation in your building can be expensive initially, in the long term it could save you thousands by reducing the loss of heat through walls and ceilings. According to the Energy Saving Trust, installing cavity wall insulation (CWI) can help you save between £90-£275 on your energy bills each year, depending on the size of the property.
Reseal Windows and Doors
Heat can also be lost through tiny gaps around windows and doors. A simple solution to this is to reseal any doors and windows where you can feel any draughts on a windy day. This will both stop cold air from getting in and warm air from escaping, helping your building to retain heat more effectively.
Learn to Use the Thermostat and HVAC
Maintaining the right temperature throughout the day is crucial to keeping staff comfortable and happy, however, by reducing your room temperature by just 1°C (a change you may not even notice), you could potentially cut your bills by over £75 a year. Knowing how to work your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system allows you to stay in control of the temperature and reduce wasted energy on heating and cooling.
The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers recommends a temperature of 20°C for offices, 16°C for factories and 18°C for hospitals.
Ensure Radiators and Vents Aren’t Being Blocked
Although having desks next to the radiator seems like a great idea during winter, furniture does in fact absorb heat that could be warming the rest of the building. In order to reduce heat loss, aim to keep furniture away from radiators and vents.
Only Heat Areas That Are Being Used
Usually there are a few rooms in a building that are not as commonly used as others or not used at all, however, you might still be paying to heat these rooms up every day. With the exception of temperature controlled rooms or in rooms that must be kept warm to avoid damp, aim to only heat rooms that are in use by turning off radiators to prevent wasted energy.
Keep Doors Closed During Colder Months
This one probably seems obvious but we thought it was worth mentioning. In order to reduce large amounts of heat loss during the colder months, make sure both internal and external doors are closed where possible. Keeping internal doors closed can help to trap heat inside rooms and reduce drafts. Keeping external doors closed stops the warm inside air from escaping and the cold outside air from entering.
Only Use Air Conditioning When Necessary
As tempting as it may be to blast the air con during the hot summer days, you should first consider alternative options to keeping the building cool to avoid high energy bills. For example, closing blinds can help to keep the sun from shining through the windows and heating the room up and opening windows can let a cool breeze into the office. If you find that you absolutely need to use air conditioning, make sure to keep windows and doors closed to keep the cold air circulating, making it more efficient.
Businesses spend thousands of pounds each year on paper, printing and ink costs whilst also using lots of energy. Of course, going paperless doesn’t mean you must entirely cut out the usage of paper, however, limiting the amount of paper used by using technology instead can significantly reduce the amount of energy used and money your business spends. For example, you can keep important documents on a reliable storage device such as Microsoft OneDrive and use email to deliver bills and payslips to customers and employees.
Use Eco Modes
If any of your appliances have eco settings, be sure to use them as they use less energy. For example, when turning on a staff kitchen dishwasher, first make sure it is fully loaded to prevent multiple cycles and then choose the Eco setting.
Take Advantage of Government Incentives to Go Green
Environmental CSR is the joint efforts of businesses around the world to help lower their impact on the planet and reduce the harmful effects of global warming. Many businesses have taken notice of the warnings of climate change and strived to become more environmentally conscious, backed by governments around the world that are offering incentives to go green. In the UK, the government offers subsidies such as Feed-In Tariffs (FITs), Domestic and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI), Energy Efficiency Grants, Low Carbon Workspaces.
The Feed-In Tariffs scheme is a government programme that is designed to encourage the use of renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies. Through the programme, anyone who has already installed, or is looking to install, solar photovoltaic, wind, micro combined heat and power, hydro or anaerobic digestion technologies can receive quarterly payments for the electricity that their installation has generated and exported.
Domestic and Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentives
The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive is a scheme that is designed to encourage the use of renewable heat. By switching to systems that use eligible energy sources, the UK is more likely to meet its renewable energy targets. Through the scheme, anyone who uses an eligible renewable heating system can receive quarterly payments for seven years for the amount of clean, green renewable heat that their system is estimated to have produced.
The Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive is designed to help businesses, public sector and non-profit organisations meet the cost of installing renewable heat technologies including:
Heat pumps (ground, water and air source)
Solar thermal collectors
Biomethane and biogas
Combined heat and power systems
Any businesses that have installed one or more of these technologies may be eligible for the scheme and can receive payments over 20 years based on the amount of heat that is generated.
Energy Efficiency Grant (Greater Manchester)
The Energy Efficiency Grant is designed to promote the use of more energy efficient improvements within Greater Manchester businesses. The grant can go towards 50% (up to £12,500) of the cost on improvements such as:
A new LED lighting system in the business premises
Heating equipment upgrades
Replacement drivers or motors
Process efficiency investments.
Resource Efficiency Support (Greater Manchester)
Resource Efficiency Support is a scheme designed to help Greater Manchester businesses to reduce their use of resources and energy. Businesses that are interested in cutting down their operational costs, complying with legislation, minimising environmental risks and becoming more profitable can get on-site advice, training and networking opportunities, help with reducing packaging costs and other forms of support.
Low Carbon Workspaces (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire)
The Low Carbon Workspaces scheme offers grants to Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire SMEs to implement energy efficiency measures. Businesses with up to 249 employees can receive grants between £1,000 - £5,000 as well as advice from an energy advisor to go towards workspace projects that will cut carbon emissions, save money and minimise waste.
Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme
The Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme offer grants, free energy audits and low carbon product development support for SMEs in the Coventry, North Warwickshire, Rugby, Leamington Spa, Stratford on Avon and Warwick areas (excluding charities, not for profit organisations and the retail sector). Grants can go towards 40% (up to £50,000) of project costs on implementing energy efficiency measures.
DE-Carbonise Project (Derby and Derbyshire)
The DE-Carbonise Project provides support and grants to Derby and Derbyshire SMEs (excluding social welfare, education, banking and insurance) to reduce carbon emissions by installing:
More energy efficient lighting
Low carbon transport.
The grants can go towards 40% (Up to £20,000) of the cost on projects to reduce carbon emissions.
Energy for Business (Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire)
The Energy for Business programme offers support and grant funding to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire SMEs to help implement energy efficiency projects.
Business Energy Efficiency Programme (West Midlands)
The Business Energy Efficiency Programme is designed to help West Midlands SMEs to manage and reduce their energy costs through energy reviews and grants. The grants can be anywhere between £2,000 and £20,000 and can go towards implementing energy efficiency measures.
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