It’s important that small businesses are actively working towards reducing their energy usage. This doesn’t just help the environment, although that is an enormous benefit — saving energy can also save businesses a lot of money.
In this article, we’ll list our top seven energy saving tips for small businesses, including:
- Conduct an energy audit
- Research suppliers
- Turn equipment off
- Invest in microgeneration
- Avoid old equipment
- Go paperless
- Work from home
Top energy saving tips for small businesses
Conduct an energy audit
An energy audit is a test that works out exactly how much energy your company uses and how much it costs you.
Conducting an energy audit means having a thorough inspection done of your work premises to check for wastage (like air leaks and insulation issues) and opportunities for improvement (like replacing your light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives).
Most electrical utility companies offer free energy audits. Keep in mind that your utility company is different from your energy supplier, so make sure you know the difference before getting in touch.
Many energy suppliers offer benefits for using their service. Some suppliers offer tools like smart meters that help regulate (and reduce) energy usage. If you find you have a high bill with your current supplier, do research to see if there is a better alternative.
Although it doesn’t help save energy, it’s also important to find a supplier with low rates, good customer service, and an interest in being environmentally friendly.
There’s a huge range of suppliers available, so take time to find the best one for you.
Switch equipment off
One simple but highly effective tip is to switch off equipment when it’s not in use. Doing so is especially important when leaving an office, workshop, or other workplace at the end of the day.
Even better is to turn equipment off at the plug. If turned on at the plug, a device that’s turned off or on standby will still use energy and add to your bill. Known as “phantom energy”, this kind of energy usage is easily avoided by remembering to unplug equipment that’s not in use.
Similarly, you can save energy by using equipment at lower settings than you normally would. This applies to plugged-in and battery powered devices — using battery powered devices at lower settings will mean they will last longer and need charged less, which also saves energy.
Invest in microgeneration
Microgeneration is the process of producing your own energy. Although it’s difficult to run your entire company on power you’ve produced yourself, even producing a portion of your energy through microgeneration can help.
One of the most common ways to microgenerate is to invest in photovoltaic solar panels that produce electricity from sunlight. Direct sunlight isn’t necessary — solar panels even work on gloomy days. The electricity they produce is renewable, minimises your carbon footprint, and entirely free.
Because of the climate in the UK, using domestic wind turbines is a particularly productive method of microgeneration. These turbines need to be quite tall to be effective, so make sure you have enough space first.
Avoid old equipment
Old equipment is often a source of energy wastage for small businesses. It’s vital that you invest in new, energy efficient versions of your equipment wherever possible.
Here’s a few examples of common business equipment that you may want to upgrade:
- Replace lighting with energy saving light bulbs
- Install programmable thermostats so heating is only used when needed
- Ensure you have a modern boiler installed so water is heated efficiently
- Use computers that have a “sleep mode” or similar energy saving feature
One point you’ll want to keep in mind is that older models of large white goods (i.e. fridges, washing machines) are particularly energy inefficient. Try to upgrade your workplace kitchen every few years if you have one.
Printing can be a big part of many companies’ energy usage. By digitising your documents, you can eliminate paper from your business, and eliminate the energy cost associated with printing documents.
Bookkeeping produces a lot of paper documents — things like invoices and financial reports are common in business, but it can be costly to print them frequently. Using an accounting app like Countingup means that your invoices and receipts can be stored electronically instead of as physical paperwork.
As well as saving energy, digitising your documents can provide a host of other benefits. It’s much faster to send digital documents than it is to mail physical ones. Also, digital documents do not take up any room (apart from the computer they’re on), while physical documents require a lot of storage space.
Work from home
Sometimes, using an office or similar workplace is unavoidable. That said, if you’re trying to save energy, you should try to run your business from home as often as possible.
By working from home, you avoid the energy expenses associated with commuting, such as the petrol you’d use driving to an office.
You also avoid using all the energy that’s required to make the office a usable space, including:
- Electricity for lighting
- Energy for heating and hot water
- Electricity for office-based equipment
Saving money with Countingup
Reducing energy use helps save money. If you’re interested in saving even more money, consider using financial management software.
You can keep better track of your finances, reduce spending, and save time by using software tools like Countingup.
Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates complicated bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK.