Why saving energy is a smart move for businesses

Making your business more energy efficient

Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men simply don’t deliver the results they’re supposed to.

It’s a lesson a friend of mine learned the other month. Being a dedicated eco-warrior, he insisted that some mutual friends of ours switched to energy saving LED light bulbs.

“It’ll save you a fortune in energy,” he enthused, “and you won’t need to replace the bulbs for at least 15 years.”

Our mutual friends were won over by these arguments. So my eco-warrior pal went out and bought £70 worth of LED bulbs and installed them.

Over the next three weeks, almost every single one of them blew, costing my friends a pretty penny. As it turns out, this type of LED bulb was not compatible with the type of wiring in their property. They now have to shell out to get their wiring investigated.

While the whole project went rather awry, there’s no denying that energy saving is becoming more important to both individuals and businesses alike.

From a business perspective, saving energy cuts overheads and increases your margins. Contract tenders increasingly insist that applicants meet certain environmental standards. A company’s carbon footprint also influences buying decisions for growing numbers of customers.

In essence, there’s a very strong business case for saving energy wherever possible. But how do you go about it?

How to cut energy use in your business

Every business is different, and each will have its own opportunities for energy saving. A paper manufacturer or a printing firm will have very different energy needs to a marketing agency or decorating firm.

That said, the best first step is to simply walk round your premises and spot simple ways you could save energy. Ways you could do so might include:

  • Switching to low energy bulbs (be careful – see above!)
  • Installing motion sensors to turn off lights when they are not being used
  • Increasing your use of natural lighting, such as through skylights
  • Investing in better insulation to avoid wasting heat
  • Turning down the heating – reducing winter heating by just one degree can cut your heating bill by up to 8%
  • Making sure computers and office equipment are fully turned off out of working hours
  • Disabling screensavers – set computers up to ‘sleep’ if they are not used after a short period
  • Installing a smart meter so it’s much easier to monitor energy usage – and take action to reduce it.

 

There are plenty of other ways you can save energy, depending on the nature of your business and the equipment you use. For example, if you use a cold room, make sure the door is closed when not in use. If you use compressed air, reducing the air pressure by a small amount can translate into energy and cost savings. A good source for additional ideas is the Carbon Trust, which publishes a series of guides to help businesses reduce their energy consumption.

Whatever measures you introduce, one is arguably the most important of all – involving your workforce. The best way to do this is to make sure energy saving measures are simple, practical and easy to incorporate into their working routines. It’s also a good idea to make one of your employees an ‘energy champion’; responsible for monitoring energy usage and gathering ideas to improve the way things are done.

It might sound a lot of work, but saving energy certainly reaps dividends. The Business Juice website reports that a Christmas decorations company in Wrexham saved £67,000 on its annual energy bill simply by installing energy efficient lighting.

Something tells me my eco-warrior friend wasn’t involved in spec’ing or installing it!

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