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Energy Efficiency tips and advice for business

Simple measures, significant savings

We know all businesses are different and it can sometimes be difficult to see where you can save energy. But simple actions such as turning off equipment that isn’t being used can save energy.

That's why we've put together these guides - to give you simple and effective tips that work for you. No matter what type of organisation you are, we've created guides with tips on everything from your workplace kitchen, to running a leisure centre!


  • During the winter, look at which areas of your site you’re lighting and heating. You may find there are areas where no one is in, or times of day you could reduce or switch it off.
  • 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. See how much you’re spending 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.

Choose your type of energy

Saving energy is definitely a good idea. But have you also considered what type of energy you're purchasing?

We'll help you work towards your low-carbon goals.


  • Simply switching off lighting when you don’t need it (i.e. in spaces that you are not using and switching off out of hours) is a great place to start.
  • If you haven’t replaced your light bulbs for quite a while you’re in for a surprise because changing them with up to date types will make a really big difference to your energy consumption, (e.g. if you’re using standard incandescent light bulbs its definitely time to change). Incandescent bulbs are no longer in production, which means that energy saving bulbs are rapidly becoming the only light bulb of choice. Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s) are already widely available in a broad range of shapes and sizes. They use less energy and last longer than incandescent lighting. That’s a quick win!
  • Light-emitting diodes (LED’s) - these are even more efficient, and the ideal replacement for halogen downlights.
  • Replace older type T12 fluorescent tubes with newer T5 fluorescent. These will use less energy. Like CFL’s, modern tubes are more efficient, faster to light up and emit a better quality of light. Another option is to replace your tube lights with LED.
  • Switch off fluorescent tubes when leaving a room - a fluorescent tube uses more energy in 15 minutes than it takes to restart it.
  • It’s also important to have the right amount of light, that it’s not too high and not too low; try and keep it uniform with no dark spots. Here is an interesting fact… the average in most buildings is around 30 watts/sq metre. Well specified lighting designs that you find in modern spaces may well use only 8 watts/sq meter to do the same job. This is not easy to achieve on your own, but if you change to modern CFL’s and take care with how you use your lighting you will make a saving.
  • Now that you’ve reduced the wattage of all those light bulbs and started saving energy you’re going to reduce the excess heat in the room too. You can also save money by turning down the air conditioning.
  • Simple to fit light sensors are now readily available so you don’t have to worry about switching off.

Retail space

  • If your store has large windows that offer lots of natural light then, in the right conditions, they will offer lots of natural heat too. You’ll find the daily temperature variation can be significant as the seasons change – cooler in the morning with natural warming throughout the day. This is your chance to turn down the heating later on, even on overcast days.
  • If display lighting is part of your set up, spot light-emitting diodes (LED’s) work just as well as halogen lights and can use less power.
  • For general purpose lighting modern compact fluorescents (CFL’S) that work in standard fittings are available in an increasingly wide range of colours to suit most needs. Switch to CFL’s and you will cut your lighting consumption.
  • Install pull-down blinds on open dairy and produce cases. Outside shop trading hours, these blinds keep refrigerated air from escaping.
  • Position chilled cabinets away from external doors if possible.
  • Install evaporative condensers, instead of air-cooled condensers, to expel heat. Evaporative condensers use a wetted filter that increases the ability to reject heat.
  • Keep your exterior and goods doors closed as much as possible. Consumers frequently complain about retailers who run their air conditioning on high to keep their stores as cold as possible while leaving their doors wide open.
  • If you have a staff room or storage room then think about installing lighting occupancy sensors that automatically turn lights on or off, depending on occupancy. These sensors work well in areas that are not occupied continuously.
  • Change out incandescent or flourescent exit signs with LED exit signs.

Food prep

  • Make sure oven doors fit tightly by adjusting door latches, and that gasket seals are in good condition.
  • Fully load cooking equipment to use energy efficiently. However, be careful not to overload beyond the recommended capacity.
  • Keep pots covered to reduce heat loss and cook quicker.
  • Turn off backup fryers and ovens during low production periods.
  • Preheat cooking equipment at the manufacturers recommended setting.
  • Buy insulated cooking equipment whenever possible (e.g. fryers, ovens, coffee machines). Insulation retains more heat in the equipment, not in the room.
  • Consider replacing broilers with smooth or grooved griddles. They use much less energy

Workplace kitchens

  • The kettle is really energy hungry and it’s so easy to boil two or three times more than needed which simply goes to waste. So just boil a cup’s worth of water (but remember to cover the elements if you’re using an electric kettle) and start making large savings every time you have a cup of tea.
  • Switch off the microwave at the wall after use. The amount of energy needed to keep the clock running can often exceed the amount used in the short bursts of cooking!
  • Using A or AA rated appliances will help to keep the costs down.
  • The cool air in a fridge escapes every time you open the door so take what you need quickly.
  • Fridge/vending machines - leave a 20cm gap at the sides and back to allow adequate circulation.
  • Keep the coils at the back of the fridge or vending machines dust free. This will improve efficiency.
  • Is your water too hot? Your cylinder thermostat should be set 60°C/140°F.
  • Defrosting it means your fridge will operate at its optimum, using less energy and lasting longer.
  • Switch off your water-cooler and other appliances at night.


  • Keep cold room doors closed.
  • Install automatic door-closers and strip curtains on walk-in freezers or coolers.
  • Check your door seals. A faulty door seal could increase power consumption.
  • Ensure your system is at the right temperature. If it’s even 1ºC lower than needed, your costs could rise. The most common recommended settings are between -25.5ºC and -22ºC for freezers and between 1.6ºC and 3.3ºC for refrigerators.
  • Defrost food overnight in the fridge. This will leave less work for the fridge to do.
  • Make sure condensers are clean with regular maintenance. Dirty condensers can increase your cost.
  • Ensure that internal lights in refrigerated spaces are switched off when not in use or outside of trading hours. This will save the energy consumed by the light itself as well as energy used to remove the heat.
  • Don’t put too much refrigerant charge in. If it leaks it can increase your energy costs.