49% of UK small business owners spend a £1,000 or more on energy every month,
according to a report by Make it Cheaper. The survey revealed that 31% say that their
office doesn’t take any extra steps in making their business more environmentally
friendly, while 18% don’t consider how energy efficient equipment is when they buy it.

When employees were asked about their bosses commitment to the environment, it’s
revealed that bosses may even be less green than they think, as 67% of small business
employees say their bosses take no extra steps to ensure they consume less energy.

On the occasions when businesses are proactive about the environment, the most popular
measures taken are closing windows when the heating is on (47%), using energy saving
light bulbs (46%), introducing light sensors (37%), using smart meters (29%) and using
remote heating controls (28%).

If you want to succeed in business, keeping the costs down is essential to make sure that
you stay on top of your cash flow. Finding areas to save is important, including business
energy as this can seem like small changes, it can actually make a big difference.

Assess your current bills

Do you know how much energy are you currently using and paying for? Try to find your
bills for reference. Take note of which months your energy uses are at its highest or
lowest. Finding out why they are high or low can help you evaluate your energy. Best to
first consider the heating and lighting and check what machinery is being used, or using
equipment that isn’t energy efficient.

Another idea is asking employees for their input on ways to reduce energy use. As you will
need their full support to reduce your bills. Some companies offer staff rewards for the
best energy-saving ideas or plans.

Get Smart

By 2020, smart meters will have been offered to every home in Britain, at no extra cost and
many small businesses (with fewer than 10 employees) are eligible too. Installing a smart
meter could offer many benefits. One of them include only paying for the energy you use,
which is better for your cash flow. Readings are also automatically sent to your supplier,
meaning less effort for you. You can monitor exactly how much energy you’re using, in
pounds and pence, every day, week and month.

Switching suppliers might get your business a better energy deal even if it is a fixed cost. You
can compare rates using such sites uSwitch, GoCompare.com, MoneySupermarket.com and
CompareTheMarket.com.

Turn it down 

Heating typically accounts for half of office energy costs, with costs rising by about 8% for
every 1°C of overheating. Central heating thermostats should be set to come on by a timer to
heat rooms to 18ºC-21ºC when it’s cold. Try by turning radiators off or down where possible.
Another way is to fit draft strips/excluders to windows/doors and keep them closed. Make
sure to get your boiler serviced or replaced. An inefficient boiler or poor maintenance could add
30% of your heating bills. Also make sure that tanks, boilers, valves, pipes and loft space are
well insulated.

Learn to switch off

Always turn out lights when not in use. Or if you are the type of person to forget fit motion sensors
and timers, this can reduce lighting costs. Replacing a traditional light bulb with energy-efficient light bulbs
hibernate like CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) of the same brightness could
save you about £70 over the bulb’s lifetime, while LED bulbs can offer even greater cost savings.

Computers, scanners, printers, photocopiers and other office equipment – which are responsible
for about a fifth of an office’s energy bill- shouldn’t be left on when not being used, especially not
even on standby. Put up signs to remind staff to turn off lights and equipment when not in use.
Just by switching computers and laser printers off at night and weekends can reduce annual energy
consumption by up to 75%.

Check your everyday Appliances

  • This is a Hibernate feature in laptops and desktops allows you to save your existing work as
    it is and you can continue from the same point next day. Schedule workstations to switch to
    hibernate mode after working hours and during weekends.
  • Print only when necessary. This will not only reduce paper wastage but also helps to cut energy
    required to run printer which in turn reduces your energy cost and makes life of your printer
    longer.
  • If your old heater or air conditioner is not working at its maximum efficiency, it could draw
    unnecessary power which may cost you money. Replace your decade old heaters and air
    conditioners with energy star ones.

Electricity and gas are essential to most businesses. Although energy can create a big overhead,
you can make sure your business gets the best value and to make savings to minimise your costs.

Once you’ve made your changes, compare your bills to see just how much you’ve saved. Don’t allow
bad, energy-wasting habits to creep back into your business. Regularly assess your bills and working
practices to ensure that you continue to minimise your energy costs.