The power bill is usually one of the biggest expenses on the P&L. The good news is there are quick and simple ways to reduce energy usage in the workplace. Here are seven practical tips on reducing energy costs and trimming bills.
1. Keep an eye on the thermostat
Setting your office or workplace thermostat higher or lower than the ambient air temperature uses more energy, and can quickly bump up your commercial energy bills.
Every degree above 20 degrees on your thermostat can add 10% to your heating bill. In winter, heating can account for over 30% of your bill. Although heating and cooling requirements will vary depending on your business, there are a few general things you can do to stay efficient:
- aim to set your thermostat between 18 and 20 degrees in winter, and to 26 degrees or above in summer (depending on the outside temperature)
- make sure doors and windows are sealed properly
- keep doors closed when heating and cooling systems are switched on
- install blinds or window coverings made from heavy materials to prevent heat loss in winter and block out sunlight in summer
2. Do you need all the lights?
Lighting is a big contributor to business energy bills so try to keep them turned off when rooms aren’t in use. You might also benefit from:
- installing energy-efficient LEDs, which use less energy than halogen bulbs
- using a lighting sensor or timer so lights are automatically switched off when areas aren’t being used
- installing dimmer switches so you can adjust the brightness, and thus the energy consumption, of your lighting.
3. Invest in energy-efficient equipment
In a typical office, tech and equipment such as computers, photocopiers, printers, refrigerators, and water heaters can account for around 15% to 30% of total electricity consumption.
If you regularly use equipment in your office or workplace, switching to energy-efficient models could have a significant impact on your energy costs.
4. Consider workplace flexibility
Given that employees in many industries now work remotely, switching to more permanent work-from-home arrangements or staggered shifts could help reduce the average energy consumption in your office or workplace.
5. Install a digital smart meter
Unlike traditional analogue meters, smart meters digitally measure and record your energy use every 30 minutes.
Many electricity providers have apps that show your expenditure in graphs and charts based on smart meter readings, so you can get a more accurate picture of your usage – and make adjustments accordingly.
6. Switch to a different tariff
A tariff is a way you get charged for your usage on your energy bill. There are two main tariffs:
1. Single rate/flat rate: you pay a fixed rate for energy, no matter when you use it.
2. Time-of-use/flexible rate: what you pay for energy varies and depends on when you use it.
Energy costs are cheaper during ‘off-peak’ periods when there’s less demand on the grid.
Depending on when you use the most energy, it could be worthwhile switching tariffs.
For example, if most of your energy usage happens at off-peak times, you could save by moving to a time-of-use tariff. If your busy time runs through the peak period, it might be more cost-efficient to choose a single rate energy plan.
7. Are you getting the best rate? Compare energy providers
When it comes to energy bills, it’s easy to stick with the same provider for years and end up paying more than you should. New energy plans and deals pop up all the time, so it’s a good idea to compare your options at least every 12 months and see if you could save by switching to a new provider.
If you’re looking for tailored advice on reducing your energy consumption but are not sure where to start, a free energy assessment can be a great way to see where in your business you could create more energy efficiencies.
This article was originally published on Business Australia.