Businesses of all sizes rely on energy suppliers to keep things running, but these costs can quickly add up. As you might expect, a business consumes far more energy than a domestic home, especially if you’re running a large office or work in an industry that relies on a lot of appliances. Calculations show that a small business has an average electricity consumption of 15,000 to 30,000 kWh per year, and 25,000 kWh of gas. These figures are naturally much higher for larger businesses and your combined energy costs can soon run into the thousands.
2020 has been tough for many companies, so finding ways to save money is sure to be welcome. Luckily, there are plenty of changes you can make to help cut down on your business’s energy costs, from investing in a CHP system, to installing LED lights. Many of these energy saving swaps are better for the environment too, so if you want to know more, read on for our handy guide.
Switch to LED lighting
LED bulbs are far more energy efficient than traditional fluorescent lighting and making the switch can save you up to 80% on your lighting costs. Traditional bulbs only convert around 10% of their energy into light and the rest is expelled as heat. In comparison, LED bulbs are capable of turning around 70-80% of their energy into light and their lower temperature makes them safer to handle.
A six watt LED bulb can produce the same amount of light as a standard 40 watt incandescent bulb and there’s a much lower risk of fire. LED bulbs also have an impressively long lifespan and even the cheaper bulbs can last around 5,000 hours. If you spend a little more, you can expect a lifespan of around 25,000 hours! The efficiency of LED bulbs also means they’re much better for the environment, so they’re a great choice if your business is looking to be more energy conscious.
Monitor your energy use
It might sound obvious, but many businesses simply aren’t aware of how much energy they’re using. Get a better overview of your energy consumption by looking at energy invoices over the last year, or record monthly meter readings yourself. If your company doesn’t have a smart energy meter, consider installing one. Smart meters make it much easier for you to track and monitor your energy usage and they remove the need to send estimated bills. All energy consumption is sent directly to the supplier, so you have a transparent record of exactly how much energy you’re using.
Invest in a CHP system
Combined heat and power (CHP) systems are highly efficient and can reduce your energy costs by up to 40%. These systems produce heat and electricity from one single fuel source, which enables them to make use of the heat which would otherwise be wasted when generating electrical power.
CHP systems are suitable for large commercial applications and they’re efficiency can be as high as 95%. They’re also more environmentally friendly and produce fewer carbon emissions compared to biofuels or biogas. They also allow companies to produce their own electricity and heat on site, which means they can manage their energy consumption more effectively.
One of the quickest and easiest changes you can make is to simply switch off appliances and lights at the end of the day. Get into the habit of switching off and unplugging any computers, printers or other equipment at the end of the day and ensure that all lights are switched off when you leave the building. Switching off all non essential lighting outside of business hours can save around 10% of your total lighting costs and you can save even more by switching off the lights on brighter days.
Make use of natural light wherever possible and consider adding skylights or extra windows if you want to make a long term investment.
Use timed meters to control your lighting, heat and electricity, so that you’re only paying for energy when you need it most. Controlled timings for heating or air conditioning can save you up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs and helps to ensure that no energy is wasted. You could also switch to motion sensor lights in public areas like corridors or stair wells for even bigger savings.
Temperatures make all the difference too; reducing your thermostat’s temperature by just one degree can cut energy costs by up to 8%. These might sound like small savings, but they all add up in the long run.
Energy efficient appliances
Businesses rely on a range of appliances, including fridges, dishwashers and electronics and the cost of running this equipment quickly adds up. As well as unplugging non essential appliances when not in use, consider switching to energy efficient models.
Energy efficient appliances are graded using a rating system; the higher the rate, the more energy efficient the appliance is and therefore your bills should be lower. Look for an appliance with a rating of at least A, but you can go for A+, A++ or even A+++ for even greater savings. You’ll also need to think about your size requirements when choosing an appliance, for example if your office is small then there’s no need to install a large industrial dishwasher in your kitchen. A smaller A rated appliance might actually be better than a larger A++ rated one, as you’ll be wasting energy if you’re not using it to its full capacity.
Energy labels appear on many appliances, including washing machines, dishwashers, ovens and computer monitors. Ratings run from G to A+++ and the label will also give information like annual energy consumption and estimated water usage. Many appliances also include eco settings, which adjust the temperature, water usage and length of cycle to save water and electricity. Encourage staff to use these eco settings wherever possible, especially if the dishwasher is half full or if you’re only washing a few staff uniforms.