Top tips to help cut costs and reduce your carbon footprint.
With energy costs continuing to rise, becoming more energy efficient could go a long way in helping your business to improve upon its profitability. According to the Energy Saving Trust the average small and medium sized enterprise (SME) could reduce energy bills by 18-25% by simply installing some straightforward energy efficiency measures and behavioural change initiatives with staff.
Below are just a few key areas to consider in helping steer you towards improved energy efficiency in the months ahead:
Heating is one of the largest energy costs in any workplace, accounting for up to 40% of energy use in non-domestic buildings. Preventing heat loss by topping up insulation and blocking draughts can significantly reduce heating costs and when tackling these areas here are just a few things to consider:
- When was the last time that your heater or boiler was serviced?
- Are portable heaters being used by staff and are they needed?
- Are the heating and air conditioning operating at the same time in the same place?
- Are hot water tanks, boilers and pipes insulated?
- Does your premises have smart heating controls?
- Who is responsible for operating and regulating the heating times at different times of the year?
- Are windows open when the heating, or air conditioning is on?
- How long does your heating run and how high is your thermostat?
- Do all rooms need to be heated every day?
A good portion of heating costs can be prevented by stopping draughts from getting in, and warm air from escaping. Here are some things you can do to prevent heat loss:
- Identify sources of draughts and fit draught proofing
- Develop staff training to make employees aware of the cost of wasted heat and air conditioning costs
- Make sure unused doors and windows are securely sealed (excluding emergency exits)
- Ensure that employees do not open windows when the heating is on
The longer that lights are switched on, or the more energy intensive the lighting is, the more energy will be used. Meeting rooms, storage areas and corridors are often lit unnecessarily and so training staff to switch off lights before leaving a room can help save money and reduce energy usage. It may also be worth doing an audit to identify the following areas:
- Are your lights currently LEDs and energy efficient?
- Is continuous lighting needed in certain spaces? If so, can you switch to motion sensor lights.
- Does your workspace make the most of natural light and use lighter paint colours to reflect light back into the room?
- Is a timer installed to switch lighting off outside working hours?
Finally, we consider office equipment, which can also be high energy users. If a piece of equipment isn’t being used, it should be switched off as leaving equipment on standby also wastes energy. There are a few things you can do to avoid unnecessary energy use from equipment:
- When buying new equipment ensure that you buy items with a high energy rating
- Ask staff to turn off monitors and computers when they leave
- Activate power saving settings on computers and laptops
- Set printers to automatically power down when not in use
- Are kettles used to only boil the water that’s needed?
- Don’t overfill refrigeration units and ensure that their seals are still intact
- Defrost freezers regularly
- Make sure there is space around refrigeration unit vents to allow air to be drawn in and expelled
Need help to go green?
If you’re interested in working with a business mentor to find out more about integrating sustainable practices into your business, contact the Louise Pollock from the Alchemy team at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is 1 part of a 4 part series on sustainability in business. To view the other articles, visit Going Green in Business