Power ahead: tips for reducing bills

Changes to the energy sector
Changes to the energy sector

While it is easy to blame the cost of your energy bill on the tariff being charged by the energy company, the amount of gas and electricity used by a company is also a significant factor…

Once you have decided on a supplier, there are a number of ways that energy bills can be reduced…

Turn off computers at night

Leaving the office quickly in the evening may be a priority for staff, but did you know that not switching off the computers can cause a surge in energy usage? It is important to communicate to staff the need to switch technology off overnight, as opposed to placing it on standby, as this will not only decrease your risk of extortionate energy bills, but will minimise any potential cyber security breaches.

Insulation

Improving a building’s insulation and sealing air leaks are the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy waste. When looking for new premises in which to house your business always make sure to check that the building is well insulated; features such as double-glazing and roof insulation are key to retaining heat and keeping energy bills low.

If this is not an option, there are always a number of DIY methods you can use to keep the working environment energy efficient, including the use of draught excluders to make sure that heat doesn’t escape and the use of energy-saving lightbulbs.

Staff involvement

It’s really important to get the team involved when it comes to saving energy. You could set a rule that if staff wish to charge their mobile phones at work, then they must donate a minimum sum to charity. This is a win-win situation: either you’ll reduce your energy bills, or you’ll raise a significant amount of money for a good cause.

Another way to get staff involved in the drive to save energy is to allow them to work flexible hours, offering the opportunity to work from home one day a week (or a month if weekly is not a feasible option). Flexible working options not only have the benefit of attracting more talent to the business, but with fewer people in the office there is a lower level of energy consumption on a daily basis.

In fact, this will be even more effective if it is possible and practical for everyone to work from home on the same day of the week and you can close your office completely.

You could also consider an energy-saving competition for staff. You can alternate which member of staff is in charge of energy saving each week and take meter readings to see who can cut your usage by the most. Make it more interesting by offering a prize for the winner.

Invest in an energy monitor

A cheap energy monitor will help to make your consumption more visible. This approach will give your employees an incentive to think about where they might be wasting energy. Getting others involved will generate ideas for saving energy that you'd never have thought of before.

Keep fridges away from heaters

Something you may not have considered is how one appliance’s energy use may be affected by another. For example, if your fridge or freezer is next to a hot appliance, such as a radiator, then it has to work even harder to keep your food at the right temperature. This means it will use more energy and cost you more money, so think carefully about where you put your appliances in your kitchen to avoid unnecessary costs.

Consider your hot water use

Gradually turn down the temperature on the hot water heater until you reach the point where it's not quite hot enough, then turn it back up one notch, to make sure your water is not hotter than it needs to be. You can also wrap the hot water tank in your office with insulation to reduce any heat loss from the tank itself.

Clean light fixtures regularly

Make sure that bulbs, fixtures, lenses, lamps and reflective surfaces are cleaned regularly. Removing grease, dust and other dirt can increase the output of your lights significantly.

Go for group tea rounds

Everyone dreads doing the drinks run, but often an over-filled kettle is boiled repeatedly throughout the day. Instead float the idea of having a group tea round – make hot beverages for more staff at the same time.

Turn the thermostat down

It may not seem like much, but even reducing the temperature in your office by 1°c could cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent.