With Liz Truss set to cut energy bills for millions, it’s not just individuals that will breathe a sigh of relief, businesses across the UK will benefit too. Even with the Prime Minister’s plan to reduce the cost of energy, considering how to reduce your energy usage is still a vital consideration as a business, as you’ll limit your impact on the environment but also save yourself money in the process.
In this article, we’ve put together 10 easy-to-follow energy-saving tips for businesses that should help reduce your energy bills, whether your company is small or large. We’ve included our top 10 list below (as well as a bonus tip at the end of this article), but keep reading to find out more.
1. Power off your computer overnight
The first tip on our list is a bit of a no-brainer. While leaving your computer and monitor on standby overnight can save a few seconds in the morning, doing so could be wasting business electricity and costing a lot of money. Although it might only cost around £10 a year to leave a computer and monitor on standby overnight, if you multiply that by the number of computers and monitors your business has, you can soon end up with a substantial unnecessary cost.
There is an exception to this rule though. Devices with low power consumption sleep modes can consume less power by being left in this mode when not in use than powering on from being fully shut down. According to Macworld in an article on 11th May 2022, the M1chip MacBook Air would only use 0.77kWh in a year if left at rest for 10 hours every night. An iMac draws a little more power both off and at rest, with 10 hours of rest each night equalling 5kWh of power consumption in one year.
To put that into a Boris Johnson-style kettle comparison, bringing the water to boil in a full kettle with a 3kW element uses around 0.225 kWh of electricity.
2. Ditch your screensaver
While a screensaver used to be essential to avoid damaging older monitors, according to ENERGY STAR, they don’t save energy on modern monitors, meaning they’re really a personal preference nowadays. Although many of us love looking at photos of our family, friends and pets, or even a nostalgic animated starfield, leaving computer displays on with a screensaver running uses unnecessary energy and costs your business money.
If you do need to keep a screensaver running, you can reduce your energy consumption with a simple black screensaver, but you would use even less energy by setting your computer to enter ‘sleep mode’ when left idle.
3. Give the printer a break
Struggling to find what you’re looking for or have you forgotten what your desk looks like due to a mountain of paperwork? Ask yourself, is all of that paperwork really necessary? Could you get by viewing a digital version of that document?
By giving the printer a break and only printing things that you need, you can reduce your paper, ink and business electricity consumption, subsequently savings yourself money and doing your part to reduce your impact on the environment.
Keeping your documents and notes digital has the added benefit of reducing desk clutter and making all of your notes searchable when you need to find specific information in future. You could consider a dedicated notepad app so you can make notes on your computer and mobile device.
4. Turn on eco mode
As we’ve become more environmentally conscious, energy (and money) saving devices featuring eco modes have become much more prominent. This can include everything from ensuring that laptops don’t check for updates out of hours, to setting air-conditioners to only cool to a target temperature.
Eco modes are available on many modern electrical products, most commonly found on vehicles, but also present on white goods, heating appliances, air conditioning units and more. So the next time you are looking to upgrade your equipment, look out for an eco mode feature. It’ll likely save your business money over time.
5. Look out for the ENERGY STAR symbol
The ENERGY STAR endorsement has been in place since 1992 and allows you to quickly and easily identify appliances that offer cost-saving energy efficiency solutions that protect the climate while improving air quality, protecting public health and helping your business save money on energy bills.
You can find an ENERGY STAR endorsement for most appliances these days, so if you’re in the process of buying new equipment for your business, keep a lookout for new ones which have the energy star rating to maximise their efficiency.
6. Turn off the lights at night
It’s easy enough to forget to turn your lights off at night, but are you intentionally leaving them switched on? Some business premises require lights to be left on overnight, but if this isn’t the case for your business, you could save money and reduce your contribution to light pollution by turn them off when not needed. One way to make this easier is to invest in motion sensors, smart bulbs or smart switches that can be programmed to automatically turn your lights on and off for you when certain conditions are met.
Whether you need to leave your business lights on or not, it’s worth considering whether you could benefit from a more energy-efficient light bulb.
7. Invest in energy-efficient light bulbs
If you don’t know how energy efficient your light bulbs are, we recommend finding out sooner than later, as you could be wasting your money.
Generally speaking, there are four different types of light bulbs available:
- Incandescent – A traditional heated filament style light bulb
- Halogen – Similar to incandescent bulbs but they use a tungsten filament and the bulb is filled with halogen.
- Compact Fluorescent (CFL) – Commonly referred to as “energy-saving light bulbs” in the UK, typically sold in a coil configuration.
- Light-Emitting Diode (LED) – A solid-state lighting solution that uses diodes to emit light.
Incandescent light bulbs are typically the least energy efficient, with halogen light bulbs being slightly more energy efficient, but CFL and LED light bulbs consume around 70-80% less electricity. LEDs are becoming more popular than CFLs due to being more efficient and being able to display their full brightness from the moment they’re turned on.
8. Check your thermostat
This might sound a touch too frugal, but it’s worth considering whether you really need the heating on in your workplace. While it’s hard to please everyone in any given workplace, finding a temperature that everyone’s happy with doesn’t have to cost a lot. Ensure that windows are closed if it’s getting cold outside, rather than turning the heating on with the windows open. If the heating does need turning on, make sure it’s only on when people are in the workplace, rather than heating when no one is benefitting from it.
It can be very beneficial to review your thermostat settings once a month, as the money you can save by reducing how often your heating is on may surprise you. The same applies to overnight air-conditioning; if nobody is benefitting from it, switch it off! As with your business lighting, investing in a smart thermostat could make this much easier.
9. Don't get in hot water over your taps
It’s a pretty common area of business energy to overlook, but the heating needed for the hot water in your taps can unnecessarily increase your energy bills. According to The Heating Hub, you could reduce your gas use by up to 8% by reducing your ‘flow’ temperature. Put simply, if you’re able to do so, by reducing the temperature of your workplace hot water, you can cool down your heating bills.
10. Let the sunshine in
As the saying goes; “make hay whilst the sun is shining”. Put simply, while the sun is out, you can reduce your energy consumption by turning off unnecessary overhead lights and taking advantage of some natural daylight. This can be a great way to save energy in the summer when the days are longer.
One of the added benefits of relying more on natural daylight (apart from saving you money) is that studies have shown it’s better for the mental health of you and everyone else at your business. A recent study by Dr Anne Fothergill, Principal Lecturer in Mental Health and Shaun Hough, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at the University of South Wales revealed that when sunlight reaches a specific area of the eye, it triggers a release of serotonin which can improve your mood and fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Alongside a range of health benefits, increased exposure to sunlight could help make your team happier in their work.
Bonus Tip - Make it easier to work from home
Offering the option to work from home can be an effective way to reduce your business energy consumption. Whether you choose to set up regular days in the office or go fully remote with the option to come into the office as needed, you could save your business money.
The home working revolution took off following the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses were forced to adapt their ways of working due to multiple lockdowns. While it’s still ongoing, much of the infrastructure in the UK has returned to something close to how it was before the pandemic. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
If your business has already adapted to working from home, why not save money on office energy and help your workforce reduce commuter costs by encouraging them to work from home more often? Even if you haven’t got the infrastructure in place to enable your business to work from home yet, you may be able to quickly recoup the initial outlay through savings on your business energy bills, with those savings continuing to grow over time. You could also discover that your business becomes more effective working from home too.
Compare business energy and save money
At BusinessComparison, we only work with business energy suppliers that we trust to provide our customers with great deals and fantastic service. In three simple steps, we could help you reduce your energy bills. Find out how we could help you save money today.