Top 10 Energy Saving Tips for businesses

IU Consult put together a list of their Top 10 energy saving tips for businesses.

1. Look around you

If you see a load of people wearing tee-shirts you could probably afford to turn the heating down a bit. Notice a light on in a rarely used meeting room? Think about installing a sensor. Go for a walk and you’ll also spot machinery that is left on when not being used and other areas of waste. Equally importantly you’ll prove your environmental credentials to your colleagues if you do this regularly – and you’ll need to inspire others if change is going to happen.

2. Consult your colleagues

It’s no good fighting a lone battle; you’ll need everyone on board if savings are to be made. If you’re the boss, consider appointing an ‘energy champion’ to find new ways of reducing energy use. They should report any waste that they notice and contribute ideas for improving the way things are done.

3. Conduct an energy audit

Taking regular meter readings and comparing consumption over a number of months is a good idea. As the Carbon Trust notes, if your business manufactures something tangible try to measure energy use per product item. This will allow you to spot patterns and identify areas where savings could be made. Find out about how IU Consult can arrange an Energy Audit.

4. Switch things off (part 1)

Make sure that, where possible, all machines and equipment are switched off overnight. It’s an obvious one, but doesn’t happen often enough. A single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day will cost a business over £50 a year. Switching it off out of hours and enabling standby features could cut this to £15 a year. For shared equipment such as photocopiers and water coolers, why not fit a timer to ensure they are switched off out of hours? There are products available for larger organisations which enable network administrators to power down PCs remotely (and automatically) when they’re not needed. But it’s cheaper to shame people into pressing the off button.

5. Switch things off (part 2)

Turn off any air-conditioning, extraction, compression or ventilation units whenever there’s nobody in the workplace to benefit from their use.

6. See the light …

Fit lights that sense movement and link motion-activated lights in toilet facilities to the extractor fan (if you have one). Label equipment and control switches so that it’s clear how to switch something on when it’s needed.

7. Turn the heating down

Unless it’s too cold for comfort, try to keep your thermostat at 19C (66F). Your heating costs will go up by 8% each time you increase the temperature by just one degree. Encourage your employees to wear warmer clothing if they are feeling the cold. That may sound like a leaf from the Victorian Workhouse Manager’s Textbook, but does anyone really need the air around them to be warmer than 19°C?

8. Get the boss on board

If you’re not the boss, ensure he or she is on board. Securing some energy savings will inevitably require capital outlay so you may need to develop a business case to get hold of the necessary funds. This should focus on cost and financial return (e.g. payback period, based on energy and other cost savings), but may also include other benefits such as meeting regulations, improved environmental performance and corporate reputation, or better staff working conditions. The least you can do is investigate getting your electricity from a renewable source.

9. Explore tax incentives

You could claim tax incentives if you’re prepared to invest in energy saving technologies and products. The Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme (ECA) enables you to claim 100% first year capital allowances on investments of qualifying equipment. You could write off the whole cost of your investment against your taxable profits for the period in which you make an investment.

10. Be realistic

Energy-saving measures that are difficult, inconvenient or impractical to implement are likely to be ignored or withdrawn. This will undermine any future attempts to reduce energy use. So don’t be too ambitious. Suggesting your business installs solar panels on the roof tomorrow may meet with some resistance; asking people to equipment off when they go home this evening will not.