Energy can be a significant cost for businesses. Understanding how your business uses energy will enable you to lower energy consumption, and make energy efficient practices a core part of your business.
In this article, we’ll explore a range of commercial energy saving tips that will help you cut costs, save energy and lower your business’s impact on the environment.
Use natural light
You can take advantage of natural light to reduce energy, costs and cultivate a more productive work environment. Throw open the blinds of your windows and skylights! You can also use furniture to capture natural light and reflective window films, to spread light around your workplace.
Install an energy management system
Energy management technology monitors energy consumption using live data from electricity, water and gas components. An energy management system can increase business energy savings by moderating room temperature, air flow and the external temperature of your office. As a business owner, you can make decisions about how to save energy based on the data from an energy management system.
Energy efficient lighting options
Energy efficient lighting is a low-cost improvement, and one of the most effective energy saving tips for small businesses. There are two types of energy efficient lighting: Light Emitting Diodes (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL).
Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
- LED lights are higher in cost but can use up to 88% less energy when compared to an incandescent bulb2
- LEDs have a life expectancy of up to 50,000 hours (50 years in an average business!)2
- LEDs produce directional light and are a great option for areas where focused light is required
- Energy efficient LED exit signs can be used instead of incandescent exit signs
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)
- CFLs use one fifth of the energy and last around eight times longer than an incandescent bulb2
- They give the same light level and can be dimmed with the correct CFL lighting fixture
- They produce less heat and are a great option for areas of your office where lighting is needed for long periods of time
- CFLs use less electricity with the same lighting output as incandescent bulbs1
Choose laptops over desktop computers
Laptops consume 90% less energy than standard desktop computers1. Where applicable, opt for an LCD or LED laptop screen to reduce energy usage. When addressing how to save energy in your small business, a great place to start is to turn off all computers at the end of the day. If it’s necessary to leave computers on at night, turn off their monitors to ensure energy efficiency.
You might also consider investing in power management software, or computers that automatically power down after a specified amount of time. Identifying periods of inactivity will lead to uncovering new opportunities for business energy savings.
Turn all electronic devices off at night
It’s critical to turn off all electronic devices at the end of each working day. This is a small change that can lead to substantial energy savings for your business.
Electronic devices include:
- Fax machines
- Air conditioning
Be sure to unplug laptop and phone charging cords when not in use, and encourage other team members to adopt energy efficient practices when using personal devices.
Install energy efficient air conditioning systems
Adopting an energy efficient air conditioning system is a great way to save energy and lower costs in your business. You can use timers and programmable thermostats to turn air conditioning off when your office isn’t occupied.
You can also save up to 30% on running costs by installing an inverter3. When using an inverter, the speed of the air conditioner’s fan motors will match the amount of air needed for your workplace. Make sure you have the right size air conditioning unit for your business and perform regular maintenance to ensure optimum energy efficiency.
Set optimum temperatures
Set air conditioning at 18°C in winter and 25°C in summer for optimum room area temperatures1. Where possible, install locking covers on thermostats to prevent team members from tampering with the temperature.
Monitor heat loss and gain
Heating equipment is one of the largest sources of energy consumption for businesses. By monitoring heat loss and committing you small changes, you can see substantial energy savings. Closing blinds during the early morning and late evening will limit heat gain from the sun. You can also minimise heat gain by installing energy efficient lighting, and turning off and unplugging all electronic equipment when not in use.
Heat can also be captured and recovered from heat-generating equipment such as portable heaters, and you can employ a heat recovery ventilation system to recondition the incoming fresh air in your workplace.
Invest in a solar power system
A solar power system will help to reduce the cost of electricity, energy and your businesses environmental impact. Solar panels generate electricity when the sun is out and are ideal for businesses operating on a 9-5 basis. A professional organisation such as Peak Voltage can help to power your business with renewable solar energy.
Promote energy saving tips in the workplace
You can encourage your staff to do their bit, and help the business to save energy. Some ideas include:
- Encourage employees to switch off equipment and lighting when not in use
- Raise awareness around the environmental impact of saving energy in the workplace
- Brainstorm how the business can use energy more efficiently
- Appoint an energy “champion” or energy “team”
- Run a campaign on the benefits of saving energy in the workplace
- Promote seasonal energy efficiency e.g focus on heating in winter and cooling in summer
- Create a weekly staff newsletter around energy efficiency
- Donate a portion of energy savings to a charity of the team’s choice
- Hold competitions between teams to encourage staff to participate in saving energy
- Recognise and reward those team members who are demonstrating energy efficient practices and promoting new energy saving tips for small businesses