There has never been a more opportune time for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to save money on energy. Business energy is becoming ever more costly and the Government is applying pressure on the private sector to become more energy efficient in an effort to reduce the country’s carbon emissions. Provided below is a summary as to how SMEs can employ various methods and practices to streamline energy consumption.
The average SME spends most of its energy budget on space heating and lighting, so it is clearly sensible for firms to target these areas in an effort to reduce outgoings. Heating is obviously important during the autumn and winter months, but some firms are guilty of relying too heavily on heating. Many office buildings are uncomfortably hot, so turning the thermostat down can be a welcome treat for workers and accountants alike. Indeed, turning the thermostat down by just one degree can cut an SME’s heating bill by around 8 per cent.
Heating costs can be further mitigated if office buildings are properly insulated. During the winter months, offices require central heating systems to be on constantly in order to maintain a comfortable ambient temperature. If buildings are sufficiently insulated, however, far less heat can escape through walls and windows, substantially reducing the load on heating systems. The most common forms of commercial insulation include double or triple glazing, draught excluders and cavity wall insulation.
Lighting, meanwhile, drains electricity throughout the working day. Lights are often turned on centrally, meaning that entire floors are illuminated, even when only a handful of staff are present. Installing energy efficient tube lighting with motion sensors can significantly cut electricity bills. Motion sensors work by detecting the movement of people, so lights come on and turn off when people enter and leave a room. Upgrading lights and installing motion sensors can cut costs by around 15 per cent.
In addition to turning off computer monitors, hibernating hard drives and installing energy efficient boilers with advanced thermostatic controls, SMEs can switch energy tariffs or suppliers and achieve further savings.
Some energy suppliers offer a bonus to new commercial customers, while others offer reduced tariffs to existing customers who raise the possibility of switching suppliers. Although the energy market has been criticised for its lack of competitiveness, good deals are available. As a result of the inherent complexities of the market, it is usually best to consult specialist comparison firms such as uSwitchforbusiness to find the best deals.