Energy use through lighting can account for a significant proportion of SME energy consumption. The amount of energy used can vary depending on the type of lighting being used. For instance, LED lighting saves up to 80% more energy than halogen bulbs and lasts for longer - around 50,000 hours.
Lighting waste can be a significant cost for SMEs. With 46% of SME electricity use happening outside of business hours; simply leaving the lights on overnight wastes sufficient energy to heat water for 1,000 cups of tea. Collectively, SMEs could save up to £700 million by investment in lighting efficiency.
Office equipment plays a significant role in the energy consumption of a small business. Turning off non-essential equipment at the end of the day can achieve savings of 12% over a year; over one evening, the energy saved could run a small car for 100 miles.
Over the course of a year, office equipment left on standby during Bank Holidays and weekends will cost the average SME up to £6,000 per year.
Ensuring that staff are comfortable in their working environment is a pressing concern for small businesses. However, according to greenwisebusiness.co.uk, heating and hot water can account for up to 60% of an SME's energy use.
There are a number of simple actions business can take to reduce the cost of their heating. A one-degree difference in temperature can result in savings of over 8%, while ensuring boilers are well maintained can reduce energy consumption by 15%.
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The average bill for an SME in manufacturing is £51,000 per year. Costs for production machinery will significantly contribute to the energy consumption for businesses in these areas; a survey from the manufacturing organisation, the EEF, found that the cost of energy is one of the biggest concerns for SMEs within the sector.
However, the Carbon Trust found that SMEs could cut energy bills in manufacturing operations by as much as 20% through energy efficiency measures such as installing variable-speed drives for fans and pumps or frequent maintenance in motor systems.
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