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The financial strain of business energy bills continues to be a leading concern for businesses.
According to a recent report by the Federation of Small Businesses, 96% of UK firms express concern about their energy bills. What’s more, 63% of these businesses noted a rise in their energy costs during 2022 compared to the previous year.
If you’re a business owner, assessing your firm’s energy efficiency and making some small changes can yield significant benefits for not only your financial well-being, but the environment too.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled ten simple ways to reduce your business energy bills. Let’s dive straight in.
1. Arrange an energy audit
Understanding your current energy consumption is a good starting point. Conducting an energy audit will give you a clear insight into how your company is consuming energy, allowing you to identify areas of waste and inefficiency.
For larger companies, compliance with the government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) means an energy audit is a mandatory requirement. The scheme applies to companies with 250 employees or more, a turnover exceeding £44 million, or a balance sheet totaling over £38 million.
However, smaller companies can opt to undertake a voluntary energy audit, either by themselves or by hiring an external energy specialist to help. You can find a number of tools online to assist you with your audit, including templates, guides, and checklists available from sites such as Carbon Trust.
2. Review your current tariff
It’s thought that more than 1 million small businesses are paying well above market rates on their energy bills. More often than not, you’ll be automatically rolled over into a more expensive tariff when your current contract comes to an end, so it’s important to keep note of when you’re due for renewal, and regularly review your tariff to ensure you’re on the best one for your business.
Don’t hesitate to shop around when your renewal window is approaching; typically, this will be between between 1 and 6 months before the end of your agreement. Contact your supplier to negotiate a more favourable tariff.
Always ensure that you conduct thorough research on any contract before finalising it, as there won’t be a cooling-off period as provided in domestic energy agreements.
3. Switch to energy-efficient lighting
Lighting accounts for a significant portion of your energy expenses. In fact, it uses 20% of the electricity generated in the UK, according to a report by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The same report claims that a simple transition to energy-efficient lighting options, such as LED bulbs, can result in substantial savings of up to 80% for a business.
Not only do LED bulbs consume less energy, but they also boast a longer lifespan, meaning you won’t need to replace them as often. On top of this, they generate minimal heat, making them safer than traditional bulbs.
In addition to switching up your bulbs, use automatic lighting controls such as daylight-linked controls, occupancy sensors, and flexible manual controls. These can also have a huge impact on cost savings.
4. Power down and switch off
As well as switching up your lighting, don’t forget to switch it off. This simple habit can make a remarkable difference.
As already mentioned, automatic controls and sensors can be a worthwhile investment, offering your business savings of 30-50% on electricity bills. This can be particularly beneficial in areas that are not in consistent use, such as meeting rooms, storage cupboards, hallways, kitchens, and toilets.
But it’s not just lights that can be a drain on energy; computers, monitors, and other electrical devices can also contribute to unnecessary energy consumption, so encourage your team to power down whenever equipment is not in use.
5. Adjust your thermostat
A comfortable office temperature is essential, but can also be an area where you could easily cut costs. Studies show that even a one-degree difference in the thermostat can impact your energy bill.
Assess your current thermostat temperature and make staff aware of energy-efficient settings, to prevent them from unnecessarily changing it throughout the day.
Ensure you’re making effective use of timers, so that you’re not heating the office out of hours, and avoid heating rooms that aren’t in use.
The same principle applies to air conditioning units. Remind staff to turn off units when leaving a room, and utilise timers strategically to prevent any unnecessary energy waste.
6. Invest in energy-efficient office equipment
Electrical appliances with poor energy ratings might be draining significant funds from your business. Consider conducting a thorough review of your office machinery and electronics to identify opportunities for optimisation.
For example, upgrade older equipment that’s lacking in efficiency, clean equipment such as fridges on a regular basis, and establish a maintenance timetable to keep track of energy efficiency.
While purchasing highly efficient equipment may cost a little more initially, the additional energy savings you’ll make will contribute to longer term savings, as well as a more environmentally conscious workplace.
7. Go paperless
Busy offices can end up generating a lot of paperwork. By embracing digital documentation and communications, which in turn minimises the need for printers and photocopiers, you can have a transformative impact on your energy cost savings.
Going paperless not only declutters your workspace, but also contributes significantly to environmental conservation. However, for many businesses, transitioning to a completely paperless office can be challenging and may not happen overnight.
Implementing gradual steps can make the process more manageable, and ensure a smooth transition for your team. Here are just a few ways you can move towards a paperless workplace:
- Encourage the use of the cloud to securely store and share files
- Make use of collaborative online platforms such as Google Workspace or Microsoft 365
- Use electronic signature software to streamline approval processes, such as DocuSign
8. Ensure your workplace is well insulated
Don’t underestimate the impact of proper insulation on your energy bills. A well-insulated workplace retains heat more efficiently during the colder months and stays cooler in the warmer months. Check your windows, doors, and walls for any gaps or leaks that could be compromising your insulation.
Investing in quality insulation materials and ensuring that your office space is well-sealed can lead to substantial energy savings. It not only makes the working environment more comfortable for your team, but also reduces the strain on your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
An energy audit will help identify areas that need improvement, and consulting with professionals can help you source the most effective solutions for your business. Alternatively, weatherstrips can be a simple and affordable quick fix for any draughts.
9. Embrace renewable energy sources
Another option for improving your efficiency is to explore the possibilities of incorporating renewable energy into your business operations. Solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable technologies can significantly offset your reliance on conventional energy, ultimately leading to considerable savings.
Look at available government incentives and grants that can support you in adopting renewable energy solutions, such as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which enables businesses to receive payments for excess electricity generated by small-scale renewable systems, like solar panels.
As well as reducing costs, installing renewable energy technologies can cut your carbon footprint and even enhance the image of your business, demonstrating to customers and clients your environmental efforts and commitment to sustainable practices.
10. Introduce remote working policies
With ongoing technological advancements and changing work trends, adopting remote working policies can be a strategic move for both cost savings and environmental impact. Encouraging employees to work remotely, even if it’s just for a couple of days a week, can significantly reduce the need for office space and the associated energy consumption.
Incorporating remote working policies into your business model requires effective communication, reliable digital tools and clear guidelines. But, if it aligns with the nature of your work, then it’s a shift that might not just benefit your energy bills. Remote and flexible working policies have been linked to improved employee satisfaction levels and retention rates.
Thanks for reading
So, there you have it, ten ways to reduce your business energy bills. We hope this post has provided you with some useful tips for saving on your energy bills. Remember, every small change can add up to significant results in the long term.