Essential energy-saving tips for small businesses

There are lots of ways for small businesses to cut down on their energy use and save money; here are some of them.

On top of all the overheads of running a small business, energy costs can often prove the biggest financial burden. Whether it’s a shop, an office or a warehouse, the cost of gas and electricity can come as a shock for small business owners, particularly those who haven’t accurately factored this cost into their original business plan.

The good news is, by making simple changes to the way your business operates, you stand to make great savings on your annual business energy costs. There are lots of ways for small businesses to cut down on their usage and save money, and we’ll be sharing some of the best advice here, including everyday tips and more unusual ways to save.

Replace existing lightbulbs

Because most businesses leave their lights on all day, it’s important to install energy-efficient bulbs that don’t cost a lot to run. According to research carried out by The Telegraph, the most efficient LED lightbulbs save £240 a year in electricity costs, and that’s for a household. This figure would be much higher for businesses, so it could really pay to replace those outdated 60W bulbs for 6W alternatives.

They may be considerably more expensive to buy than traditional bulbs, but what you’ll save in running them will more than offset this cost. Plus they’re much more reliable, so you’ll rarely find yourself forking out for a new batch.

Always use sleep mode

Whether popping out for lunch or answering nature’s call, you and your staff should get in the habit of switching computers and tech to sleep mode when not in use. Of all the energy-consuming devices in the workplace, computers are often guilty of using the most electricity, adding precious pennies to your overall bill. By switching to sleep mode wherever possible, you’ll limit the amount of power the computer requires, so more cash can stay in your pocket.

For more reasons why you should use sleep mode, check out this article from PC World Magazine.

Buy Energy Star equipment

If your business is in the market for new electrical equipment (computers, printers etc.) don’t base your purchase purely on price. To save money in the long term, not just the short, opt for devices which have been given the seal of approval from Energy Star.

Energy Star is the world’s largest independent energy conservation movement. Their aim is to help people reduce their consumption by promoting efficient products, such as energy saving computer monitors and televisions. Opt for electrical equipment featuring the Energy Star logo, and you can save money while doing your bit for the environment.

Invest in an energy audit

Investing in a professional energy audit might sound counterintuitive to saving money, but doing so could prove lucrative. An audit is basically the process of an expert team assessing your workplace’s energy efficiency, highlighting areas where you could trim down your overall use.

Business energy specialists, Gazprom Energy, explain further the benefits of auditing: ‘An audit is useful as it shows where in the business improvements can be made to make operations more efficient, and ultimately save money on bills. Businesses can pay an independent company to perform an audit, or can arrange one through their supplier.’

Ways to save on business energy bills

Let your employees work from home

Though some employers might feel uncomfortable letting their staff work from home, the benefits of doing so are two-fold. First, fewer bodies in the office means less power consumed, and you could see a significant drop in your electricity bill as a result. A large number of computers whirring away all day equates to more money spent powering them, so if your staff can comfortably work from home, why not let them?

Secondly, a recent study found that employees given the choice to work from home at least a few days a week are more productive than traditional 9 to 5ers, so it’s a win-win situation for you and your staff.

Take advantage of tax breaks

Local government offer a number of tax breaks and incentives to businesses which actively try to operate in a more environmentally friendly way, and small businesses in particular could really benefit from the reliefs offered.

To find out if your business is eligible for environmental tax relief; the government’s dedicated Green Taxes and Reliefs site has all the information you need. While this won’t directly affect your bills, it could take the sting out of your monthly tax overheads.

Ask your staff to check for draughts

While we wouldn’t recommend devoting much time to draught-sealing your workplace, asking your staff to let you know of any obvious leaks, before having them sealed, could save you a fortune on your gas and electricity bills.

Heating and climate control are among the biggest expenses when it comes to business energy, and leaks and draughts can hamper their efficiency. Asking staff to be mindful of draughts will help to ensure your heating and cooling systems aren’t using gas and electricity unnecessarily.

This is representative of the entire push for greater energy efficiency; small changes can lead to significant long-term savings without inhibiting the performance of the business.

Further reading on energy performance

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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