Typically, businesses tend to pay their energy bills without paying a great deal of attention. But energy costs have soared in recent times, putting extra pressure on budgets and pushing some businesses close to the brink. Now might be the ideal time to take a look at things and identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption and cut costs.
If you are not already looking at ways to reduce your usage, you may be spending more money on energy than you need to. It really is a no-brainer to lower your energy bills because the money you free up could be invested in other important areas of the business. You will also get the added benefit of reducing your business’s carbon footprint, making a contribution to protecting the environment.
There are many simple things you can do to reduce energy costs without significant investment, so here are some suggestions:
1. Carry Out an Energy Audit
The first thing to do is find where money is being wasted. You should identify business areas where energy consumption is harming your bottom line. The findings should be presented in an easily understandable way with recommendations for action to be taken.
There are various companies that can perform energy audits for you, or it may be possible with your current energy supplier.
2. Negotiate a New Energy Contract
This may be challenging in the current climate and you need to be realistic. Your energy audit may give you an idea of how much you should be paying, and you should gather as many quotes as possible to compare them to this benchmark. Be aware that longer contracts offer security against future rises, but shorter ones offer more flexibility.
You need to assess which is more advantageous to your business and proceed accordingly.
3. Invest in Renewable Energy Options
Currently, energy from solar and wind is cheaper than that produced from oil and gas. But the current UK model means it can be difficult to take advantage of that fact. The simplest solution is to generate your own renewable energy, but this will take some investment in your premises. Essentially, you would need to install things like solar panels, hydro or wind generators.
Though the investment may be substantial, it will pay off in the long term and could be a great help for your sustainability goals.
4. Introduce LED Bulbs Everywhere
This is something that many have already done, but LED bulbs are far more energy-efficient than incandescent or halogen ones. They don’t sacrifice brightness at all, but they use far less energy and last much longer so it really is a no-brainer.
5. Turn Off Electrical Appliances
Lights, computers, printers, televisions and more should be switched off when not in use. Many of these devices are often placed on standby when not in use, but they still use energy in this state. Though a single device on standby only uses a small amount of energy, a large number of them at the same time can really add up in cost.
Your IT equipment and infrastructure should be switched off when not in use to save energy, particularly at night when no one is in the office. Often employees only switch off their screen before they leave the office for the night, when they should be shutting down their entire computer.
6. Look for Energy-efficient Office Equipment
Avoid electrical appliances with poor energy ratings as they could be very costly in the long term. Any electrical goods you currently have that are not efficient should be used until they are ready to be replaced, at which point you should look for the most energy-efficient alternative possible. A+++ is the best rating while G is the worst – the most energy-efficient products may cost more upfront but energy savings should yield a return on that investment.
7. Consider Cloud Systems Rather than On-premises Ones
If your company uses ERP or any other type of business management software that you host on-premise, you will have servers and other key infrastructure to run it. These types of equipment are extremely power-intensive and are likely to cost you a lot of money just to power. If you switch to a cloud-based alternative, you will remove that factor entirely from your energy costs and see an immediate reduction in the energy consumption of your business.
Without on-premise hardware you will likely require less internal or managed IT services, which again amounts to a cost saving that can go someway to offsetting increased energy bills. This is not something that you can do at the drop of a hat, but it is definitely worth considering for your future plans, and we can help with this.
8. Have a Programmable Thermostat Installed
A programmable thermostat is a simple change that can make a big difference to your energy costs. Heating and cooling of the premises become far more straightforward by setting rules for the adjusting of temperature. Some even enable you to make adjustments remotely so that you can always tell if the heating has been left on when the office is empty. You can even schedule when the heating turns on and off, and smart devices can learn about these patterns and the ideal warmth for different times of the day.
Remember, even lowering the average temperature in the workplace by 1°C could save as much as 10% on your heating costs.
9. Make Energy Efficiency a Company Priority
Regardless of the strategies you choose to implement, one of the most powerful things you can do is promote and nurture a culture of energy efficiency throughout your organisation. Focus on adjusting behaviours around your premises in terms of the use of equipment and lighting. Look for other opportunities to reduce energy waste, such as insulation and draft-proofing around the property.
A positive, can-do attitude towards energy efficiency is the foundation of success. Get your employees on board, reduce your energy bills and help the environment all at the same time.
There is not a great deal of clarity about how much the rising energy costs are going to impact individual businesses. The amount of support businesses are likely to receive is also an unknown quantity. What this means is that you should prepare for as many scenarios as possible to avoid being hit too hard by the issue.
Consider some of the suggestions and strategies listed above. This will help you insulate your business against the potential damage of these rising costs as the energy crisis continues at pace.