Energy Efficiency Tips
Paul Sheffield

Energy saving tips for small businesses

Based on a business with 50 employees and an energy spend of £2290 per month

1) Lighten the load

a. Switch to energy efficient lighting Although energy efficient lighting can initially cost more than traditional incandescent lighting, during their lifetime they will save you money because they use less energy.

  • 100 traditional 60watt bulbs left running for 10 hours a day, based on a typical unit price of 11p, will cost you £6.60 a day.

  • However, 100 energy efficient 6watt bulbs running for the same time would be 1/10th of the cost – only £66p a day.

  • Based on a 260-day working year, this would reduce this business’ lighting cost from £1716 a year to only £171.60 a year – a saving of £1544 a year.

  • If you’d like some help on which bulbs to buy, you can find out more at the Energy Savings Trust

b. Install motion sensitive lighting

  • From when the first person enters the building in the morning to when the last person leaves in the evening all your lights could be on. This could mean hundreds of bulbs running for more than 14 hours per day. With 46% of SME electricity use happening outside of business hours1; simply leaving the lights on overnight wastes enough energy to heat water for 300 cups of tea. Installing motion sensor lights ensures that only the rooms in use are lit and could help you dramatically cut your energy costs.

c. Minimise artificial lighting and make use of skylights

  • To save even more money on lighting, why not try to eradicate your use of lights further by turning them off and making the most of the natural sunlight. A quick and easy way to do this includes opening your blinds. You could also consider having some skylights if possible in your building.

2) Stay warm, keep cool

a. Maximise efficiency of air conditioning and heating

  • It is possible to have heating and aircon management systems installed that can regulate when they are on and off throughout the day/night in different rooms and can even change depending on the seasons.

  • Turning down the heating by just 1 degree can potentially reduce your annual heating bill by up to 8%.

  • A business which spends £2,290 a month on energy could save £2,200 a year by turning down their heating by 1 degree – effectively giving themselves a free month of energy!

  • A larger business which spends £7,500 a month on energy could save £7200 a year.

b. Look out for draughts that may leak the air

  • Small draughts may seem insignificant but can lead to heat loss in the winter, and unwanted heat in the summer. Since ventilation accounts for around 30% of heat loss2, this can mean a substantial increase to heating and cooling costs so try and keep those windows and doors shut and sealed.

3) Take control

a. Switch off computers overnight

  • Leaving a computer on overnight for a year can create enough CO2 to fill a double decker bus. It can also pile up the costs for your company.

  • If each employee in a business with 50 employees leave their computers on overnight, it will cost the business £1.76 a day.

  • (50 computers, each using 0.02KWh over 16 hours – 5pm to 9am – with an electricity unit rate of 11p)

  • So, by ensuring everyone turns their computer off overnight, this business could save £642 a year.

b. Only boil the water you need

  • As a nation of tea lovers most offices have a stream of hot drinks made throughout the day, but did you know 2/3 of people boil much more water than they need? A simple way of saving energy and money for the business of hundreds or potentially thousands of kettle boils a day, would be to only boil as much water as you need, making several people’s cups at once rather than one at a time or even converting to urns.

  • If the average kettle is 1800watts and holds two litres of water, it will take about 4 minutes to boil a full kettle, or 30 seconds to boil enough for a cup. Times this by 4 cups per person per day and 50 staff in the office and it would cost £2.64 a day if everyone boiled a full kettle, as opposed to 32p a day if they only boiled what they needed.

  • This may not sound like a lot, but for a business with 50 employees, this could save £600 a year.

c. Buy energy efficient devices

  • Old and out of date devices tend to be far less energy efficient so you should update your equipment whenever possible. While there is an upfront cost here, it will provide savings in the longer term.

d. Hold virtual meetings where possible

  • Modern technology allows conference calls and video conferences to be a lot more accessible than they used to be. Holding these instead of going to a client’s office can save you money and CO2 emissions on travel and accommodation.

**4) Be an energy champion **

a. Conduct an energy audit

  • Keep track of your business energy consumption through an energy audit. Here at Haven Power we do offer a programme that can help you check your energy efficiency and give you advice on what you can do to further cut down on your spending and carbon footprint.

b. Create Green Champions in departments

  • Allocate a Green Champion role to people in different departments for the responsibility of ensuring employees are contributing to energy saving activities within the company, as well as having someone for people to go to when they have efficiency ideas.

c. Reward teams and individuals for energy saving efforts

  • Nothing incentivises people more than being rewarded for their efforts. Offer prizes for the best efforts at recycling or coming up with new ideas – people often thrive off competition.

d. Ensure the boss is on board to set an example

  • Consistency is key when getting any message across in a business, so ensure the energy saving message is coming straight from the top and the boss is on board, leading by example and doing their bit to help.

e. Invest in microgeneration

  • Producing your own energy from microgeneration sources such as solar panels and wind turbines can be a great way to make money back from your power. Investing in renewables this way can help keep your bills down as well as helping your business to be more sustainable.

Potential savings (Based on a business with 50 employees that spends £2290 on energy per month) Energy efficient lighting – save 6% / £1544 Turning down the heating by 1 degree - save 8% / £2,200 Switching off computers overnight - save 2% / £642 Only boil the water you need - save 2% / £600 Total potential saving - £4986

That’s a potential 18% annual energy bill saving - which equates to £99 per employee!

With which you could get:

  • a part time employee for one day a week
  • or 13 new computers for the office
  • or 1 epic Christmas party
  • or 10,000 creme eggs!

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