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Eight tips to help you cut your small business energy bill by up to 10%

By Marta Moses | Posted October 13, 2021

Becoming more energy efficient could go a long way. We talked to our energy efficiency experts, who recommended these free tips that could reduce your business energy bills by up to 10%(1).

1. Know your business energy use and waste

If you only take meter readings every now and then, it’s hard to tell when you use the most energy and where you might be wasting it. The solution? Smart meters  an energy meter that gives you more control.

  • See how much you spend on your business’ energy throughout the day so you can adjust energy-heavy tasks and trim wasted energy
  • Get more accurate bills instead of estimates by cutting out the hassle and time of having to do manual meter readings

2. Use energy-efficient office lighting

Keeping the lights on in your business isn’t cheap. In fact, up to 40% of the energy your business uses could go on lighting your premises. So if you‘re smart about how you use lighting, you could make other savings here.

  • Swap out your incandescent filament bulbs with modern LEDs, CFL or halogens. Despite the upfront cost of replacing them, they could save your business a lot of energy and often last longer
  • Ask your employees to turn off the lights when no one’s in the room (it may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think to)

Extra mile saving: Consider getting motion sensors in your corridors and toilets that only turn the lights on when they’re needed. Or use light sensors that help you make the most of free natural light.

3. Turn down the heat

Another way to save is to use your climate control wisely. If you leave air conditioning is on all day in the summer, it can add up to around 30% of your energy bill. And when you’re keeping your team warm in winter, even 1°C of overheating can increase the cost of energy by up to 8%. So use them both sparingly.

  • Give vents, fans, and air conditioning filters a quick clean so they don’t have to work as hard
  • Move filing cabinets, workbenches and other pieces of work furniture that are blocking your radiators. They absorb some of the heat and cost your business a little bit more

4. Turn things off in the office

Good news: laptops use less energy than desktop computers. Bad news: many employees don’t turn them off at night, which can cost you an extra £35 a year for every desk.

Encourage your employees to turn off their computers instead of using standby mode. Pay special attention to big banks of switches and plugs. Do they all need to be on?

Unplug printers, chargers and other office tech when unused. Even a blinking light on an unused phone or TV drains energy.

5. Snip out some costs in the office kitchen

Most people already know to only boil as much water in the kettle as they need for their cuppa, but there are even more ways to save energy in the kitchen at work than there are at home. Whether you have a small office kitchen or you run a kitchen as part of your business – these tips will come in handy.

  • Switch off the microwave at the plug after use. And, if your business prepares food for customers, switch off backup fryers and ovens during quieter production times.
  • Wait until the dishwasher is full before switching it on
  • Keep your fridges and freezers efficient by cleaning filters regularly and ensuring they have enough space so they don’t overheat
  • Make sure oven doors fit tightly by adjusting door latches and that gasket seals are in good condition
  • Keep pots covered to reduce heat loss and cook quicker
  • Preheat cooking equipment at the manufacturer's recommended setting. 
  • Buy insulated cooking equipment whenever possible (e.g. fryers, ovens, coffee machines)
  • Consider replacing broilers with smooth or grooved griddles, which use much less energy

Extra mile saving: The next time you buy new appliances – from toasters to freezers - go for A+++ rated ones. They may cost a little more upfront but can make up for it in long-term energy savings.

6. Less is more on the workshop floor

If you have a workshopping area in your business, three words of advice can really keep your energy usage as efficient as your production: turn down, shift and watch out.

  • Consider turning down the settings on some of your equipment – even a slight reduction can make a difference in energy efficiency without noticeably affecting performance
  • Watch out for leaks from faulty pipework and joints (even a small hole can waste a lot of steam, so it’s important to spot and repair them fast)

7. Avoid energy waste

From boutiques to convenience stores, if customers come to you to buy goods and services, then creating a welcoming front of the house is very important. But while you’re thinking about ambience, have you considered how you can save energy? We’ve got a few handy tips to help you save energy while your customers are shopping.

  • Install pull-down blinds on open dairy and produce cases. When you’re closed – these blinds keep refrigerated air from escaping
  • Avoid positioning chilled cabinets away from external doors
  • Install evaporative condensers instead of air-cooled condensers to eliminate heat. Evaporative condensers use a wetted filter that increases the ability to remove heat
  • Keep your exterior and goods doors closed as much as possible. Don’t turn up the air con and leave the doors wide open! 
  • Rather than using kettles and a water cooler, use a water machine that provides cold and hot water like the WaterBar from Virgin Pure. Not only does it reduce the amount of machines using electricity, but it's triple filtered and UV purified

8. Rally your teams to help you save

Many of the tips you’ve learned are even more valuable when the whole team is playing along. So now that you’re a pro at saving energy make sure everyone - from reception to finance follows your lead.

  • Some businesses put up posters to remind employees how to save on energy and why it’s important to their business
  • Doing regular walkthroughs of your office to check on your equipment and spot wastage is a great way to keep costs down
  • Having monthly management meetings to share progress and new ideas is also a good way to keep energy saving on the agenda
  • Encourage everyone to dress appropriately for the weather, e.g. putting a jumper on in winter rather than hiking up the heating. This also might involve relaxing the code and, rather than people wearing suits in summer and needing the air-con on, allowing people to wear more breathable fabrics to stay cool