Saving energy is one of the easiest ways for you to cut business costs. Even making small changes to the way that your business uses energy can mean big savings. To understand how much energy your business is using and where the biggest energy cost savings could be made, you should take regular meter readings - see how to monitor your energy use.
To help you start saving money in your business, here are our top tips for no-cost and low-cost energy efficiency measures which are easy to carry out.
1. Involve your staff
The most effective energy saving programmes involve everybody within a business. Savings of 5 to 10 per cent are common - often through employees suggesting and implementing the measures detailed below - download advice on creating an energy awareness campaign (PDF, 5.4MB).
2. Control your heating
Try to reduce heating temperatures in the winter by one degree, as this can cut your heating bill by up to 8 per cent. Conversely, in summer, increase the set point for your air conditioning. Ensure that thermostats are accurate by positioning them away from draughts and direct sunlight - find out more about heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology.
3. Avoid wasting heat
Keep doors and windows closed when heating or air conditioning is running. Fitting draught excluders and making sure your premises are well insulated should be very cost effective, with short payback times.
4. Minimise artificial lighting
By keeping windows and skylights clean, you can cut the amount you spend on lighting. If you are only working in one part of a room, isolate the lights to that area only. Make sure switches are labeled so staff only turn on the lights they need. You could also consider installing presence and daylight sensors to turn the lights on and off automatically - find more advice and video clips on lighting-related energy saving measures.
5. Switch off office equipment
A single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day can cost over £50 a year. Switching it off out of hours and enabling standby features can reduce this to £15 a year. You could also fit seven-day timers to ensure equipment like printers, copiers and water chillers are turned off overnight and at weekends.
6. Compress your air costs
Compressed air is often generated at maximum pressure. Reducing pressure by 10 per cent can lead to 5 per cent savings in energy. Make small, incremental reductions, checking that operations aren't affected. Also, regularly test for and fix leaks - even a tiny leak could cost you more than £700 a year in wasted energy - find more guidance on how to save energy when working with compressed air.
7. Don't forget about motors
Because motors are hidden within machinery, they are often forgotten and left running when not in use. Save energy by identifying and turning off motors during breaks or job changes. To make further savings, motors driving pumps and fans can often be controlled with 'variable speed drives' - find more advice and watch videos on how to work with motors and drives more efficiently.
8. Shut the cold room door
On average, it will cost you £4 every hour a freezer door stays open. For refrigerated cabinets, consider fitting low cost PVC curtains or night blinds - read more guidance on reducing your refrigeration costs.
9. Maintain your equipment
One common factor across all the measures above is the need to maintain your equipment to make sure it's operating efficiently. This can range from cleaning light fittings and windows, to keeping ventilation and compressed air filters clean, to checking door seals and repairing holes and leaks.
10. Measure your savings
Make sure you read your meters regularly. This will enable you to identify how your company is using energy and where it's being wasted - see how to monitor your energy use.
For further sector-specific energy saving advice, see energy efficiency tips for different types of business.