Saving money will be crucial if you are trying to manage and grow a small UK business. The average commercial electricity bill will run into the thousands each year and it can be challenging to pin down these costs, especially when there is a long list of other expenses that must also be accounted for.
Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce your business energy costs on a consistent basis. It may come as a surprise to learn that many CFOs at large businesses significantly underestimate the returns from energy efficiency investments.
Anything you’re able to save can be reserved for emergency situations – e.g., cash flow issues and late invoice payments. Alternatively, these funds could be filtered into other business areas.
Here are our top energy-saving tips to help you cut the cost of business electricity and gas.
1. Save energy with office equipment
There are a number of energy efficiency steps you can take within the office environment. Some of these can be actioned immediately, while others will take time.
Buy energy-efficient office equipment
In the office environment, you can reduce energy costs through installing LED bulbs or investing in windows that better retain heat. On average, consumer LED bulbs use 25 to 35 per cent less energy. They are relatively inexpensive making them a worthwhile investment.
Turn off equipment that is not in use
Any electrical equipment that is not being used should be turned off before you leave the office. Common examples include desktop computers and monitors. This has a larger impact in comparison to simply allowing these devices to enter sleep mode.
Activate standby mode
If turning off office equipment isn’t a viable option for your firm, you can always put devices into standby mode. This will still help you consume less power.
2. Update staff on your energy saving policies
Make the whole team aware about your new energy saving initiatives. After all, the more people that are involved, the greater the impact on reducing your carbon emissions and energy costs.
Staff should be informed and will easily be able to switch off their computer at the wall. As the workday comes to a close, the lights can also be turned off along with other equipment such as printers and scanners. These are all very easy and simple steps to follow and should help you achieve a lot as a collective. Printing less and recycling where possible are also beneficial.
3. Reduce the thermostat temperature
Did you know that if you turn the thermostat down by even one degree in a three-bed semi-detached house, you can save approximately £85 to £90 per year? Doing this in the workplace will compound the amount you could save on your commercial gas and electricity bills.
We are not suggesting you lower it to the point that your employees are freezing, as you will need to meet legal workplace temperature guidelines. However, shifting the dial slightly can make an enormous difference. Remember to ensure that the majority are happy and comfortable with the new temperature.
4. Altered shift patterns
Another great way to improve energy efficiency for larger businesses is to stagger working hours. The peak energy hours will always remain the same during a typical 9 to 5 day e.g., all employees will turn on their computer at the same time.
For larger and industrial businesses, it’s recommended that you operate heavy machines early in the morning or later in the night to distribute energy usage. This is better suited for larger firms and won’t always make sense for smaller businesses.
5. Remote working
Reducing hours in the office environment can also save your company money. Those that are able to allow their employees to work from home will save on their energy bills. This could potentially be a win-win situation, as staff may be more productive and are likely to be happier as they will save time on commuting.
6. Don’t overfill the kettle
The office kettle is what many employees look towards when they are taking a break. This appliance is used on a frequent basis and depending on how many are sharing it, it could be boiling water multiple times per hour.
The Energy Saving Trust has estimated that overfilling kettles is wasting a staggering £68m each year in Britain. This is a colossal figure when you consider that it can be easily avoided. Encourage your employees to only fill the kettle as much as is required for the coffee/tea round.
7. Change your ‘business wear’ policy
Depending on the business sector you operate in, it may be possible to change your clothing policy. Although, if you are a team of lawyers meeting with clients on a daily basis, then business wear will be appropriate.
However, if your staff don’t come into contact with customers or clients, then it may be possible to loosen workwear rules during certain months. Staff can stay warm with jumpers during the winter and wear shorts in the summer months to stay cool. This will save you from activating your air conditioning in the warmer months and keep your heating temperature lower throughout the colder months.
8. It’s time for an audit
All the measures we have listed so far are great and can save you notable sums of money on your business energy bills from the offset. Although how do you ensure this continues in the years to come? You carry out a business energy audit.
A business energy audit is a routine assessment that helps you understand your current energy needs as well as how energy efficient your business is. The audit looks at your building structure and the equipment you use on a daily basis along with monitoring how energy is used by your employees. Upon completion, you will be able to identify key areas that you should target to reduce your costs.
Even a basic audit will provide your firm with a clear overview about your current energy usage, along with giving you vital insights into what areas are having a significant impact on your finances. A plan of action can then be created to address each item one after the next.
Furthermore, you don’t need to pool together large sums of money to make changes either, most energy efficiency improvement measures are relatively inexpensive as we have explained above.
9. Switch energy providers
Finally, you have likely adopted many of the practices set out above. Your company should now be a lot more energy efficient and it’s also helping you reduce your carbon footprint. This is all great news, but how do you combat fluctuating energy prices in the wholesale market?
As the price of gas and electricity continues to climb, you will want to compare business energy deals on a regular basis. Switching over to a more competitive tariff will ensure you’re paying the right price and you will be less likely to be nudged over on to a deemed rate or rollover contract, a suppliers most expensive tariff.
Business Energy UK has simplified the process and made it easier than ever to compare and switch business energy suppliers. You’ll need a copy of your recent energy bill and around 10 minutes to obtain quotes from both independent and industry leading providers.