Here in the UK, winter brings colder weather and darker days and, as a result, higher energy bills due to the need to consume more electricity and gas to light and heat our workplaces and homes. In fact, energy consumption is 36 per cent higher in winter than it is in summer, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
So what can businesses do to counteract these seasonal cost increases and save money for the good of the planet and their bottom line? Read on to find out.
How to save on business energy bills in winter
In this article, we provide you with winter energy saving tips that every business should know.
1.Ensure you’re on the best tariff
First and foremost, you should ensure that you’re on the best energy deals for your business. You can compare business energy contracts from a range of different suppliers to find ones that suit you. If you skip this step but implement other energy-saving measures, it’s possible that you’ll still be forking out more than you need to on your gas and electricity bills.
2.Get a smart meter
If you don’t already have one, it’s a good idea to have smart meters installed. These next generation gas and electricity meters can help you to get a handle on how much energy your business is using and how much it’s costing you. The real-time nature of these meters could also prompt you to take more responsibility when it comes to your business’ energy consumption.
3.Promote a sustainable culture
Encourage staff to take personal responsibility for their own energy at work by providing information on the steps they can take to protect the planet and create a greener working environment. You could also incentivise employees by creating a points based system where personnel can work towards rewards such as an extra day of annual leave or a special eco Christmas bonus.
4.Encourage remote working
If it isn’t necessary for your employees to be based in your business’ premises full-time, consider introducing a flexible or remote working policy. Allowing workers to work away from the office for even a day or two a week could have a significant impact on your company’s energy usage.
5.Invest in renewable energy
Reducing your reliance on fossil fuels can create big savings for your business. While there may be an initial cost associated with installing renewable energy technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines and biomass solutions, green energy could save you a lot of money in the long ru
6.Aim for the lowest comfortable temperature
While the temperatures may be plummeting outside, there’s no reason to have your thermostat any higher than the lowest comfortable temperature during the colder months. This is usually about 18-21°C, depending on the environment . However, many businesses have their thermostats set at much higher temperatures. By turning it down by just one degree, you can reduce your energy consumption by up to eight per cent.
7.Set temperature controls to match occupancy
You may need to set your thermostat to come on earlier in winter as it may take longer to heat up the space, however, you should not have the thermostat programmed to be on when your building is typically unoccupied. If you don’t operate during the evenings or weekends, for example, your thermostat should be programmed to turn off during these times. Similarly, if you close for Christmas, you should ensure your heating will not come on unnecessarily when the building is vacant.
8.Draught-proof your workplace
There’s little point in you paying more to heat your business if heat is escaping through gaps around doors and windows. Trap as much warm air inside your workplace as possible, and reduce your bills as a result, by draught-proofing. Depending on your business, you can choose to use a professional draught-proofing service or you may be able to do this job yourself. Bear in mind, however, that you’re likely to save more money by using a professional as they will know exactly what materials work best and where they should be used.
9.Keep heaters and radiators clear
When arranging a room, be careful not to position furniture or office equipment in front of heaters and radiators. If you were to place a filing cabinet or a bookshelf in front of a radiator, for example, it would prevent heat from travelling freely around a room, which would make the space feel cooler.
10.Keep doors and windows closed
This is a quick win that may seem obvious but if you allow heat to escape through open doors and windows, you’re going to pay the price when your energy bill arrives. Put up posters gently reminding staff to shut doors and keep windows closed during the winter months to minimise the cold season’s effect on your gas and electricity invoices.
11.Take advantage of natural sunlight
While we see a drop in the number of daylight hours in the UK during the winter months, it’s a good idea to still take advantage of any natural sunlight we get by opening up blinds and curtains and positioning work stations near windows where possible. With lighting accounting for 40 per cent of all energy used in buildings, if you can make the most of natural lighting, you could see a difference in your bills.
2.Switch to LEDs
Businesses stand to save as much as 80 per cent on their lighting bills if they switch from incandescent bulbs to more energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) technology. These more up to date bulbs also last on average 25 times longer than their conventional counterparts, making them a much more sustainable choice. Implementing this one simple change could keep those winter energy-bill increases to a minimum.
13.Install occupancy sensors
Cut down on energy wasted on lighting empty rooms by installing occupancy sensors. These clever pieces of technology should be installed in unobstructed spaces where they will be able prompt lights to come on when motion is detected.
14.Simply turn lights off
If you can’t afford to invest in occupancy sensors right now, simply switching off lights when they’re not needed will have the same effect. It is particularly important to do this overnight. If office lights are left on overnight for 12 months, the energy wasted would be enough to heat a home for five months.
15.Provide desk lamps
Giving your workers the option to use desk lamps instead of overhead lighting could help to keep your costs down. If a few employees are working late, for example, instead of illuminating the whole office, they could save energy by simply lighting their own workstations.
16.Use power management features
Power management features help to lower energy usage by putting monitors and computers into a sleep mode after a period of inactivity. By choosing hardware with power management features and managing your settings correctly, you could reduce your electricity bills.
17.Upgrade to more energy-efficient models
When purchasing new office equipment, pay attention to energy efficiency. To avoid using more energy than you need to, avoid higher spec PCs with large screens if a basic computer will do the job just as well. Also, if feasible, consider using laptops as they require a lot less energy than desktop computers. When replacing monitors, go for flat-screen versions, which only use one third of the energy of older models.
18.Adopt a paperless approach
There are many benefits to a paperless working environment and not least among them is the potential for saving money. By encouraging staff to email meeting minutes, presentations and reports to each other instead of printing them out, you will be able to cut down on the use of photocopiers and printers and, as a result, save money on your energy bills. Doing this will also help you to save money on paper, which can be another costly resource.
19.Don’t leave chargers plugged in
If phone, tablet or laptop chargers are not in use, unplug them. Chargers consume energy when plugged in, regardless of whether they are attached to a device or not. While your energy bills may not be slashed dramatically by following this rule, it’s important to realise that when it comes to saving energy, every little helps.
Turning computers, monitors, printers, plasma screens and other equipment off instead of leaving them on standby could help to lower your energy bill by between 10 and 55 per cent.
21.Only boil what you need
The workplace kettle can use a lot of energy. Encourage staff to organise tea and coffee rounds rather than boiling the kettle just for one cup. Also remind staff to only boil the amount of water that they need.
22.Defrost the fridge freezer
If your fridge freezer isn’t defrosted regularly enough, it will consume more energy. As a general rule, you should defrost it when you see a quarter of an inch of ice build-up on the walls.
23.Opt for energy efficient appliances
When replacing old appliances, go for A-rated ones. Some A-rated white goods are categorised as either A+, A++ and A+++, with A+++ being the most energy efficient. Choosing the most energy efficient model can help to reduce your power bills.
24.Unplug the microwave
When a microwave is left plugged in, you could be using energy to light up the display or clock. Put up posters asking staff to unplug the microwave after each use to create a greener workplace and keep those bills down.
25.Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it
Whether you only wash a few dishes or you clean a whole load, your dishwasher will use about the same amount of water and energy. Wait until your dishwasher is full before running it to save resources and money.
Saving money through energy saving measures can really cut down your energy bills, particularly during the winter months. However, if you still think you can save more, why not let Utility Bidder help? We make it easy to find and compare the best energy deals on the market for your business. Who knows? We might save you a small fortune.
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