Energy costs are a major expense for many businesses, especially in today’s competitive and uncertain market. Reducing energy consumption can not only save money, but also improve environmental performance and enhance reputation. Here are five simple ways for businesses to start saving energy today.
1. Switch tariffs at the end of a contract
One of the easiest ways to save energy is to switch to a cheaper or more suitable tariff at the end of a contract. Many businesses are unaware that they are paying more than they need to for their energy, or that they are on a tariff that does not match their usage patterns. By comparing and switching energy suppliers, businesses can find the best deal for their needs and budget.
How to compare and switch energy suppliers
here are various online tools and services that can assist you in comparing and switching energy suppliers, such as britishbusinessenergy.co.uk. These tools can offer you a variety of quotes from different suppliers based on your location, usage, and preferences. You can then select the most suitable option and switch online or by phone. The process is normally fast and simple, and does not involve any disruption to your energy supply.
The benefits of switching energy suppliers
Switching energy suppliers can have many benefits for businesses, such as:
- Saving money: Businesses can save up to 40% on their energy bills by switching to a cheaper tariff.
- Improving efficiency: Businesses can choose a tariff that matches their usage patterns, such as peak or off-peak rates, fixed or variable prices, or green or standard energy.
- Increasing flexibility: Businesses can switch to a shorter or longer contract term, or opt for a no-contract plan, depending on their needs and goals.
- Supporting sustainability: Businesses can switch to a renewable energy supplier, or a supplier that offers carbon offsetting or other green initiatives.
2. Arrange an energy audit
Another way to save energy is to arrange an energy audit for the business premises. An energy audit is a comprehensive assessment of how the business uses energy, and how it can improve its efficiency and performance. An energy audit can identify the sources of energy waste, and provide recommendations for reducing consumption and costs.
What is an energy audit and how does it work?
An energy audit is a systematic process of measuring and analysing the energy use of a business. It involves collecting data on the building’s characteristics, equipment, operations, and behaviour, and comparing it with industry standards and best practices. An energy audit can be conducted by an external expert, or by an internal staff member who has received training and certification.
The steps to conduct an energy audit
The steps to conduct an energy audit may vary depending on the scope and complexity of the project, but they generally include:
- Planning: Define the objectives, scope, budget, and timeline of the audit. Select the auditor and the audit team. Gather relevant information and documents.
- Data collection: Visit the site and inspect the building’s structure, systems, equipment, and controls. Record the energy consumption and demand data from meters, bills, or sub-meters. Conduct interviews with staff and occupants to understand their behaviour and needs.
- Data analysis: Process and analyse the data using software tools or models. Identify the baseline energy performance and benchmark it against similar buildings or sectors. Calculate the energy savings potential and payback period of various improvement measures.
- Reporting: Prepare a report that summarizes the findings and recommendations of the audit. Include an action plan that prioritizes the measures based on their feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and impact. Present the report to the management and stakeholders.
- Implementation: Follow up on the action plan and implement the measures that have been approved. Monitor and evaluate the results and report on the progress and outcomes.
3. Check age and efficiency of business equipment
A third way to save energy is to check the age and efficiency of the business equipment, such as computers, printers, copiers, refrigerators, air conditioners, lighting fixtures, etc. Older or poorly maintained equipment can consume more energy than necessary, or malfunction more frequently. By identifying and replacing inefficient equipment, businesses can improve their productivity and reliability, as well as reduce their environmental impact.
How to identify and replace inefficient equipment
There are several ways to identify inefficient equipment in a business setting:
- Check the labels: Look for labels that indicate the energy rating or efficiency level of the equipment, such as Energy Star, EPEAT, or EU Energy Label. These labels can help compare different models and brands based on their energy consumption and performance.
- Check the age: Look for signs that indicate the age of the equipment, such as serial numbers, warranty dates, or purchase receipts. Older equipment may have lower efficiency standards or outdated features than newer ones.
- Check the condition: Look for signs that indicate the condition of the equipment, such as noise, heat, dust, leaks, or errors. Damaged or dirty equipment may have reduced functionality or increased energy use than normal ones.
- Check the usage: Look for patterns that indicate the usage of the equipment, such as hours of operation, frequency of use, or number of users. Underused or overused equipment may have higher energy costs or lower performance than optimal ones.
To replace inefficient equipment, businesses can follow these steps:
- Research: Find out the latest models and technologies that are available in the market, and compare their features, prices, and reviews. Look for equipment that has high energy ratings, low maintenance costs, and long lifespans.
- Purchase: Choose the equipment that best suits the business’s needs and budget, and negotiate for the best deal. Look for incentives or discounts that may be offered by the suppliers, manufacturers, or government agencies.
- Install: Hire a qualified professional to install the new equipment, and follow the instructions and guidelines for proper installation. Test the equipment and ensure that it works correctly and safely.
- Dispose: Dispose of the old equipment in a responsible manner, and follow the regulations and standards for waste management. Recycle or donate the equipment if possible, or contact a certified e-waste collector.
The best practices for maintaining equipment efficiency
To maintain the efficiency of the equipment, businesses can adopt these best practices:
- Clean: Clean the equipment regularly and remove any dust, dirt, or debris that may affect its performance or safety. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning frequency and methods.
- Service: Service the equipment periodically and check for any defects, wear, or damage that may require repair or replacement. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for service intervals and procedures.
- Upgrade: Upgrade the equipment when necessary and install any updates, patches, or enhancements that may improve its functionality or compatibility. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for upgrade options and requirements.
- Educate: Educate the staff and users on how to use the equipment properly and efficiently. Provide training sessions, manuals, tips, or feedback on how to optimize the settings, features, or modes of the equipment.
4. Shut equipment down when it’s not in use
A fourth way to save energy is to shut down the equipment when it is not in use. Many businesses leave their equipment on standby mode or plugged in overnight or during weekends, which can waste a significant amount of energy. By implementing a power-off policy, businesses can reduce their energy consumption and costs, as well as extend the lifespan of their equipment.
How to implement a power-off policy
A power-off policy is a set of rules and guidelines that specify when and how to turn off or unplug the equipment in a business setting. To implement a power-off policy, businesses can follow these steps:
- Assess: Assess the current situation and identify which equipment can be turned off or unplugged when not in use. Consider factors such as safety, security, convenience, functionality, and compatibility.
- Plan: Plan a strategy and schedule for turning off or unplugging the equipment. Consider factors such as working hours, peak periods, holidays, seasons, and events.
- Communicate: Communicate the policy and its benefits to the staff and users. Provide clear instructions, reminders, labels, or signs on how to turn off or unplug the equipment. Encourage feedback and suggestions on how to improve the policy.
- Monitor: Monitor the implementation and impact of the policy. Measure and record the energy consumption and savings before and after the policy. Evaluate and report on the results and outcomes.
The potential savings from powering off equipment
Powering off equipment can have significant savings for businesses in terms of energy consumption and costs. According to some estimates, powering off equipment can save:
- Up to 50% of energy consumption by turning off computers at night.
- Up to 15% of energy consumption by turning off monitors when not in use.
- Up to 10% of energy consumption by unplugging chargers when not in use.
- Up to 5% of energy consumption by using power strips or smart plugs to control multiple devices.