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Buildings use almost 50% of the UK’s energy – and about 20% of this is wasted unnecessarily, according to the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers maybe it is time to evaluate your business energy usage.

Find out how you and your employees can give your usage a spring clean to reduce your consumption and energy bills – bought to you by Total Gas & Power.

Total Gas & Power only supply energy to businesses and are the UK’s largest business gas supplier (Cornwall Energy, Nov 2015). They’ve recently created a new range of gas and electricity products specifically for SMEs, each with its own unique individuality – just like your business.

Electrical equipment

Screensavers do not reduce energy usage. Most computers and display screens allow a specified time delay before powering down automatically. This will generally increase equipment life, reduce power consumption, reduce office heat gain and should not affect computer networks.

Check energy ratings when considering what equipment to buy for your business. Cheaper equipment can be a false economy as upfront savings are offset by high running costs.

Photocopiers, printers and hot drink vending machines include heaters to keep the appliance near operating level to save time. An inexpensive time switch to shut the machines down overnight can significantly reduce energy use, yet leave the machines ready to use in office hours.

Lighting

Maximise the use of daylight in your building. This can easily be achieved by cleaning windows and skylights regularly.

Replace inefficient lighting with modern, energy efficient alternatives, e.g. replace T12 and T8 lamps with energy efficient T5 linear fluorescent or LED lamps.

Have lighting levels checked – are they inappropriately high for the task? Local task lighting may reduce glare and energy use. It may also be possible to remove some of your light fittings and still achieve the light levels you need.

Heating

According to the Carbon Trust, heating costs rise by about 8% for each 1ºC of overheating. Check space heating controls and thermostat temperatures regularly. Good practice suggests temperatures are 16°C for warehousing, 16–18°C for light manufacturing and 19–20°C for offices.

Spaces with high ceilings can suffer high temperatures at high level, known as stratification, particularly with warm air heaters. Fitting ceiling fans can help de-stratify the air, reducing roof heat losses and improving comfort.

Building fabrication

Seal doors and windows by using inexpensive self-adhesive draught excluders or brush strips to reduce air infiltration.

Entrance doors can add substantially to heat loss and ensure external doors have automatic closures. At busy doorways, consider fitting a draught lobby or porch.

Plastic strip curtains reduce heat loss and create a visual security barrier at loading bays and service doors, yet still allow easy access. Rapid roller shutters reduce loading bay heat loss by automatically opening and shutting using presence detectors, causing little inconvenience to deliveries.

So, now you’re armed with these pointers, perhaps appoint an ‘energy champion’ to develop energy saving initiatives and set reduction targets. You can then start to measure, review and hopefully see your energy bills falling.