Without a doubt the coronavirus outbreak has had a huge effect on businesses across the UK, with many having to downsize, furlough or even move remote working. However, given the UK’s net carbon emissions goal for 2050, it is still so important to exercise energy saving tips not only to save money but also help save our planet. It is important not to give up on energy saving initiatives as they also help to reduce costs.
In this blog, we explore the steps that businesses can take both on site and working from home – to reduce their carbon footprint through efficient energy strategies, as well as save money on energy costs.
As a business, we believe that fundamental change is needed at a legislative, business and individual level if we are to preserve the beautiful planet we inhibit for future generations. We also believe that as an energy supplier to businesses across the UK, we have a moral obligation to consider the impact that not only our business, but the businesses we supply, have on the world we live in.
1. SWITCH ELECTRICITY SUPPLY TO A RENEWABLE SUPPLIER
The single most impactful change you can make as a business is to switch your electricity provider to a company that purchases its’ supply from renewable energy sources. Contrary to popular belief, this does not necessarily translate to an increase in unit cost. It’s important to select a supplier that ONLY supplies renewable power. While many suppliers offer a renewable option, the reality is that you’ll end up paying more to “upgrade” to renewable.
At UGP for example, 100% of our electricity comes from renewable sources including wind, hydro and solar power and our rates are highly competitive in the market – against renewable and non-renewable competitors so we’re confident that we can save you money, as well as helping you do your bit for the planet.
2. UPGRADING EQUIPMENT
Upgrading to energy efficient office equipment such as machinery and IT equipment is one of the simplest ways that businesses can reduce energy usage as most organisations operate some kind of equipment upgrading cycle. To cut energy usage, make sure that the replacement equipment you choose has the best energy efficiency rating as possible.
You might also want to consider installing smart systems and automation technology which can help to set temperatures across multiple zones of your premises as well as set timers for lighting and other building functions that can save unnecessary energy use.
Sensors can also be helpful, particularly with regards to lighting. When installed, lights in a room can be set to a default “off” position but switch on automatically when someone enters the room.
3. UPGRADE YOUR PREMISES
Whatever type of business you run, it’s possible to save energy and lower your bills in almost every building and room in your premises. While it may require some initial investment, the long-term benefits will far outweigh the short-term cost.
Consider replacing every lightbulb currently in use with a more energy efficient option – a simple, low-cost way to save money over time. Energy-efficient LED lights are more expensive to purchase than other alternatives but over time will make savings. You can also save money by replacing your boiler with a more energy-efficient model. The best energy rates available cannot make up for the fact that energy efficient boilers use up to 30% less energy than their less efficient counterparts.
By auditing all of the appliances in your building including air conditioning units, refrigeration equipment and tackling multiple areas of potential saving, the impact can be significant.
4. REDUCE HEAT LOSS
One of the most frustrating issues that can send costs sky rocketing is losing heat via your building. The benefits that securing great energy rates, as well as any benefits from investment in energy efficient equipment will be negated if much of your energy is wasted through inadequately insulated buildings.
Addressing this issue is fairly simple but it requires some initial investment. Effective insulation is a must, including cavity wall and loft insulation, insulation around pipes and hot water tanks and double-glazed windows if you don’t already have them, as well as draught proofing windows and doors. Automatic closing doors can also be incredibly helpful at avoiding heat loss if a door is accidentally or absentmindedly left open.
5. IMPROVE BUSINESS POLICIES & MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES
It’s important to involve your team in all your energy saving initiatives to get their buy in, and it might also be worth setting an internal energy saving policy to reinforce this message. Establishing policies is a great way to give structure to your efforts, as well as guidelines for your employees. You could also set incentives around energy saving initiatives as a way to boost motivation and compliance.
Here are some of the things your employees can do to make a difference to your energy consumption and environmental impact:
- Turn off IT equipment (computers, chargers etc) when not in use – employees need to be aware what they can and can not turn off
- Develop a tea rota ensuring the kettle is only boiled once for multiple people
- Encourage a paperless office – it not only saves paper, but also energy that would be needed for running your printing facilities
- Turning off lights when vacating infrequently used rooms and areas such as meeting rooms
- Activate energy saving features on computers, laptops and other equipment putting devices into hibernation mode (avoiding screensavers)
- Have a system for turning off equipment and lights overnight
- Encourage a purchasing policy that favours suppliers and third parties who operate to the same environmental standards as your business – thus spreading your environmental impact reduction further than solely your business
- Regularly test equipment to make sure it is operating at maximum efficiency
6. ENERGY SAVING TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME
It can be very easy to loose track of how much energy you are using (and wasting) when working from home. Not only are you adjusting to a new working environment, a new work/life balance you may also be juggling home-schooling and childcare. Here are our favourite wfh energy saving tips –
- Add a layer and reduce your thermostat by one degree – If there’s an opportunity to dress for comfort over style its when you are working from home! Also, by turning down the thermostat you could save up to £80 a year!
- Similarly, to the office don’t leave equipment on standby – It may sound like a nuisance to go around the house switching items off from the wall but you will notice a difference!
- It may not have been an issue before but now that you are spending more time at home and especially during winter you may notice any draughts in the home. Stop cold air coming in through gaps around doors with an easy-to-make draft excluder. Closing the curtains as soon as the light goes down will also help keep the heat in.
- Incorporate a science lesson with the kids with a way of keeping warm – Putting kitchen foil behind radiators reflects more heat back into a room. Just mount some foil on cardboard (with the shiny side facing outwards) and you’re good to go.
- Watch the water usage – Consider washing dishes by hand and replace or repair leaking taps to avoid wasting hot water. In fact, you could save around £25 a year by washing up in a bowl rather than using a running tap.
- Wait to wash – Stop washing clothes in small loads wait until you have decent size load will save energy.
- Make sure everyone is on board – Again like in the office a full family team effort is needed if you want to succeed in saving energy and money! You could introduce a reward chart to the kids and if they make sure to turn their electronics completely off or always turn the lights off in empty rooms they could be rewarded.
If you own a small business and you are worried about energy saving costs or how the covid outbreak may affect energy usage, contact us today by either calling 0844 318 0044 or clicking here to complete a quick form.