Energy costs for a business can have a huge impact on the bottom line. As a benchmark, most businesses spend somewhere between 5-15% of annual turnover on electrical energy consumption alone.
Depending on what type of industry your business is in, and the nature of what the business does, will depend on what you could do to save on the energy bill.
Here are some steps to help reduce your energy consumption over Christmas which you can do yourself for free.
Air conditioners are something that always comes to top of mind. A few degrees higher will save you on energy consumption. Just remember, if its 35 degrees outside, 23-24 will feel better when they walk in the door. Also, make sure you have had your air conditioners serviced- it is normally best to have this done over winter however it's still not too late.
Keep doors closed on rooms you want to cool down, as the smaller the space, the quicker and less energy you will use to cool that room.
Fans are also a great option that can help cool a large room. Also, if there is only a few staff in a room, a fan is more economical than an air-con. Remember, fans cool people- not rooms.
If your business has blinds, you want to keep the sun from entering the glass if possible. You will use less energy lighting the place than attempting to cool it. If you have western facing glass, stop the sunlight from coming in. It could mean putting up something temporary to do this, as the western sun entering your building or hitting a western wall will have your air-con working overtime. Just like staff, if they work over time the boss pays for it!
Over this period some companies have a skeleton staff, or it could be your busiest period of the year.
Its good practice to educate staff to remember not everyone is in, so maybe not all the lights need to be turned on. Some companies we have worked with in the past have put everyone in the board room for the few weeks, only lighting up and cooling one room. This is not possible for every business, just have a think about it though- if you're not at full capacity, you will also not require the building to be fully lit up.
If this is your busiest time, remember it is also the sunniest time- look for opportunities of using natural lighting where possible. In winter, some rooms require more light due to sun angles, and in summer you can get away with less lighting on. Business we have worked with before have taken out every second light bulb. Just have a look around and see if there is someway of using a free resource rather than using electricity.
If you are closing up and going away, there are also some every cost effective items you can buy to turn your lights on and off, so you are not required to turn the lights on and leave them on, or rely on your neighbor to do it for you.
Standby items can cost a business a small fortune. If you are on skeleton staff, it might be a good idea to have everything that is not being used for those few weeks switched off completely. The best practices to teach your staff are to turn everything off at the power point when they finish work everyday, then turn it back on as needed. You will have a larger impact over the whole year. Let's face it, most of us fluff around for 10-15 mins when we get to the office before we really get stuck in! Even the bosses do it. Waiting that few minutes to have your computer boot up is not going to be a big deal.
Fridges / Freezers
Your climate and the thermal efficiency of your business location will depend on how much of this you can get away with. Turn your fridges and freezers off at night. You will be amazed on how long you can leave them off for before the temperature rises. Have a play around with it. I have consulted with a few ice cream shops, most of them close late (10pm onward) and open about 10am. At most of the shops, we have been able to turn off freezers and fridges for an average of ten hours overnight and only loose 1-2 degrees. Again, this will all depend on your location and thermal efficiencies of your appliances. There are some devices you can buy these days that allow you to control from your smartphone which are inexpensive, so if you forgot or are running late, you can turn back on from the phone.
This will only apply to certain businesses, and it will apply to everyone at home. Plan your cooking, as most things cook at a similar heat. By cooking all three things in the oven that are required to be cooked at the same temperature, you will save time that the oven is on, which will save energy and also reduce heat created in the house. Using your BBQ or outdoor kitchen is another way to save energy consumption, which will also be reducing the heat you create inside your home or business (if its an option).
Sitting things out to defrost a few hours prior if you have frozen items can save usage on energy consumption. An even better idea is putting the frozen item from the freezer into the fridge overnight. If you do this 2 days prior, you can use that defrosting to help reduce the load put on your fridge.
Just Think about it.
If you get out one thing out of this, it is to just think about it. If you can have a look around your business or home, even a simple walk through having a look around could help you notify an area of saving on energy, therefore reducing your businesses carbon foot print.
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