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Energy: Top energy-saving tips for businesses
It won’t surprise anyone that businesses spend more, much more than private households for their energy bills. And with rising IT needs such as power-hungry servers, computers and other network devices, the gap is increasing.
Thankfully, there are many ways a company can significantly cut its energy bills, by following several energy-saving tips. Getting the right suppliers is as important as getting the right supplies - but still not as much as doing the homework of initiating new practices, and engaging the whole workforce to contribute these efforts. Many a mickle makes a muckle!
Get the right suppliers - and the right supplies
With many energy suppliers now providing specific plans for businesses, it might be time to review current offerings - and even consider alternate energy sources and take advantage of related tax breaks. Changing basic power-hungry equipment to energy-saving alternatives will further deflate energy bills.
• Consider alternate energy suppliers
There is now no less than 20 power providers in the UK offering multiple plans, sometimes operating on a very local basis. Main suppliers include:
- British gas,
- Scottish power,
• Consider installing solar panels
Solar panels are now widely distributed and allow companies to generate a large part, if not all of their power needs. Although the initial investment may seem high, the operation becomes profitable after a few years.
• Install energy-efficient equipment
Energy-efficient devices such as Compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED lights cost more, but consume far less energy to produce the same luminescence and last far longer. In large offices when light bulbs need to be replaced frequently, the breakeven point can be reached very quickly.
• Claim tax breaks for energy efficiency
At many levels, local government now offer tax breaks so that businesses can meet the initial costs of getting energy-saving devices and equipment. This is especially the case with solar panel equipment.
Initiate new energy-saving practices
Once the right supplier and the right equipment have been selected, it is everybody’s duty within the company to switch to energy-saving attitudes at several levels.
• Get an energy audit done
Some companies are specialised in conducting energy audits, so as to identify areas of improvement in order to lower energy bills.
But you don’t have to resort to such specialised services to start doing your own due diligence, and can start checking all existing equipment, especially the air conditioning, heating and cooling equipment, insulation to make sure the energy you’re using is not going to waste.
• Install as many thermometers and thermostats as you can in key areas
The first step towards energy-saving is to accurately monitor, and then control temperature in every room. Thermometers should be installed as a standard practice, and for a slightly higher cost, programmable thermostats can ensure you are never getting past previously defined temperature zones automatically. A difference of one degree can reduce power use by up to 10%.
• Use hibernation feature of computers and laptops
Setting up standby times is a good start, but setting up auto-hibernate time delay on all computers used in the company allow even greater savings, for minimal inconvenience.
Obviously, all unused equipment should be switched off as well.
Engage your workforce
A top-down approach to energy-saving within the company will have fewer results than a shared endeavour, where every employee can make things change through his own actions, but also through his initiatives.
• Set up work-from-home policies
Employees are more and more often demanding the opportunity to work from home for personal reasons. Energy savings associated with such policies for the company are just another argument in favour of the development of work-from-home schemes.
• Brainstorm and reward
Your employees may be having a few ideas of their own to boost energy savings - they know their workplace better than anyone else. Brainstorming them will give them a sense of empowerment and raise awareness of the issue. Don’t forget to reward the good ideas and ambassadors!