The winter savings challenge: 25 ways to cut business energy costs overnight

The cautious approach could pay off when the temperature drops - is your business up for the challenge?

30 September 2015

For that reason, we’ve gathered this list of 25 energy saving tips, so you can pick which ones work for your business.

1. Switch supplier

Did you know you can switch your energy supplier within a matter of weeks with zero hassle? Switching energy provider is one of the easiest ways to cut energy bills, and yet as many as 1.3 million businesses might be losing out on better deals by remaining with the same supplier. Find out more about switching your energy provider, here.

2. Audit

You can’t make meaningful changes if you don’t know where you’re currently losing money. An energy audit involves looking at the whole business and analysing where changes could – and should – be made. For help on how to conduct an energy audit, click here.

3. Switch off computers and other equipment

Many businesses struggle to enforce rules on switching off equipment overnight – but it can make a real difference to your energy bill. Over the course of a year, a single desktop computer and PC monitor will use up over £6.00 just while they’re left on standby. Multiply that by 50 members of staff and suddenly, there’s a £300 annual saving to be made, simply by switching off computers.

switch off computers

4. Provide efficient equipment in the office

It sounds obvious, but many business owners are unaware of the massive differences that pieces of equipment make in the workplace. Laptop computers, for instance, use up to 90 per cent less energy than a standard desktop computer. Choose equipment with an A+ energy rating, and you can expect cheaper energy bills — offsetting the purchase price of the appliance.

5. Switch lights off

Likewise, lights left on when not in use could be bumping up your bills. The easiest way to curb this is by investing in a motion-sensor lighting system. For further savings, switch your incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent bulbs for a significant annual saving.

And, as an added bonus, a compact fluorescent bulb will last about 10,000 hours as opposed to the 600- to 1,000-hour average life of an incandescent – so you’ll need to replace them less often, too.

6. Turn the heating down

Turning the thermostat down by one degree can save £85 – £90 annually in a three-bed semi-detached home, according to the Energy Saving Trust. So, imagine what it can do in the workplace.

Obviously, it pays to turn down your thermostat at night or when you’re away for more than four hours during the day. Just don’t turn your heating system off entirely, as this may cause pipes to freeze in cold months.

office thermostat down

7. Get rid of draughts

Small gaps around windows and doors steal heat. For best results, invest in re-sealing windows and doors, and always be sure to close windows to feel the effects in your pocket over time.

8. Watch your water use

In the home, hot water accounts for around 10% of the average energy bill, and though it’s less than this in business premises it’s still one to watch. Consider whether the hours of availability of hot water can be reduced and watch out for any dripping hot water taps as the amount of wastage they create is surprising.

9. Defrost fridges and freezers

Workplace fridges and freezers are often not given the best care and attention. But taking time out once a year to give these hardworking appliances a bit of TLC can reduce their consumption significantly. Leaving freezers frosted up or not keeping the fridge well stocked all reduce the running costs. For the average fridge freezer, this is estimated to be around £62.00 per annum – but this could be much higher if you don’t help it to run efficiently.

10. Ditch screen-savers

Set energy-saving features on all your office equipment to put them into sleep mode when not in use.

computer screen savers energy

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11. Get staff to only boil the water they need

Overfilling the kettle has been estimated by the Energy Saving Trust to collectively cost Britain £68 million every year in extra energy expended to heat a greater volume of water. Get staff to be sensible with the brew round and just fill the kettle with the water they need.

12. Be smart with energy management

Using a programmable thermostat makes it easy to regulate the temperature. Advanced and smart meters can also help business owners to better understand their energy usage and make adjustments accordingly, even remotely.  If you can, it could be worth keeping the thermostat in a place with limited access so that temperature settings are regulated by just a few people in the business.

13. Take advantage of tax breaks

UK businesses may be eligible for tax relief or be exempt from some taxes if:

  1.        The nature of your business means a lot of energy is consumed
  2.        It’s a small business that doesn’t use much energy
  3.        The business makes a conscious effort to embrace energy-efficient technology

For more information about whether your business is eligible, visit the site.

14. Introduce flexible or remote working

Around one third of the British workforce currently works from home — and flexible working is idea that’s becoming increasingly popular due to greater employee satisfaction and productivity levels. If having less staff in the office means less equipment and less brew rounds, this could be a good move for efficiency all round.

engaged employees

15. Get employees engaged

A study by The Carbon Trust back in December 2013, found that UK workplaces could save more than £300 million per year if they educated and engaged employees on the benefits of energy efficiency.

16. Allow your workers to wrap up warm

The idea of uniforms at work is a little old-hat now, but there are still many workplaces enforcing restrictions on work-wear. It makes little sense to keep a room hot enough that workers wear hot weather clothing in winter when they could be pulling on their thermals to save energy instead.

17. Keep exterior doors closed as much as possible

For retail businesses who see an increase in custom as Christmas approaches, keeping the door open can bring the chilly air in, forcing you to crank up the heating. It’s important for retailers to provide an inviting environment for shoppers by keeping it warm inside, so make sure the door is kept firmly shut to help conserve heating.

Revolving external doors can provide an efficient solution to this issue, providing a barrier against the chilly air outside.

18. Install ceiling and wall insulation

This does cost money, so it’s more of an investment – but you will save more over time on your utility bills. Plus, your employees will be more comfortable.

19. Get the duster out

Making sure that all bulbs, fixtures, lenses, lamps and reflective surfaces are cleaned regularly increases their output.

charging facilities

20. Weigh up the pros and cons of providing charging facilities

According to a report in The Guardian, Britain is becoming a nation of 'cheeky chargers' with over half the population topping up devices in their local pub or library. Collectively, this is estimated to add a potential cost of £12.5 million for high street firms each year.

But before you start preventing people from charging in your premises, consider that 14% of consumers said they would consider spending more with the business in return.

21. Use a ceiling fan

While a typical central air conditioning unit uses 3,500 watts of energy when running, the average ceiling fan uses only 60 watts — even when running on high.

22. Clean or replace air conditioning filters bi-monthly

As a rule of thumb, it’s good practice to replace air conditioning filters on a regular basis – ideally bi-monthly. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner's energy consumption by 5-15%.

23. Look for energy-efficient appliances for the kitchen

For example, a dishwasher model with air power or overnight dry settings automatically turn off the dishwasher after the rinse cycle, which can save up to 10% on dishwashing energy costs.

Educating employees about ‘dishwasher etiquette’ – i.e. only running full loads in the appliance – can have a significant impact on your kitchen’s efficiency.

24. Use natural gas for heating

Gas can work out about half the price of electricity per kWh, so if possible, consider switching to a natural gas heating system in the workplace. You might find that investment in switching from electricity to gas now could save you a lot more in the long run.

25. Keep heaters, radiators and air vents clear

Putting furniture in front of radiators and vents can obstruct heat output, meaning more heat is required to feel the benefits. Never obstruct electric heaters as this is a fire hazard.

For more hints and tips on how to save energy in the workplace, don’t forget to check out the rest of the Gazprom Energy blog and newsfeed. To find out about our business energy products and services, visit the homepage or call us on 0161 837 3395.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

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