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Simple Energy Efficiency Tips for SMEs

So you’ve been thinking about your carbon impacts. Energy in the workplace – and in home offices – is a key consideration for you. What better place to start your journey to a smaller carbon footprint than your Scope 1 and 2 impacts?

There’s lots of ways where you can conserve energy and reduce costs – especially important in the current climate of high energy prices – simply by changing some behaviours or simple switching of equipment when the time comes.

You’ve probably thought of several of these, but have you implemented all of them? What else would you add or have you tried?

Here’s a range of activities you could implement to save money and reduce your direct organisational emissions.

What is Energy Efficiency?

Energy efficiency is using less of our energy resources to produce the same (or better) result. For example, replacing traditional fluorescent bulbs in an office with LEDs uses 90% less energy but still maintains a favourable environment.

Engage your team

The best way to reduce your carbon and your energy bills is to have your team to think about the energy they use – and get on board with why it is important. What can they do differently?

Energy Savings Tips for Your Business

  1. Say no to standby mode - when not in use - at night and at weekends rather than just leaving them on in “sleep” mode. Monitors and televisions in particular can consume a substantial amount of energy when in standby – near that of being used! But laptops, desktops, printers etc will all consume electricity while idle – so switch them off fully at the end of the day or if infrequently used.

  2. Ditch the screensavers – allow your computers to go straight to hibernate (or switch them off) rather than having screen savers – these aren’t energy efficient at all!

  3. Replace your desktops with laptop computers – this can save you around 90% in energy per machine. A high-end desktop used 8 hours per day can cost over £100 a year to run, versus a new laptop at around £10 per year. And who doesn’t love an upgrade? (But make sure you give your old equipment to an IT charity or properly recycle it if it is at its end of life).

  4. Go inkjet over laser – laser printers can be 10x more energy intensive than inkjets – but beware the cost of ink cartridges in many inkjet printers.

  5. Don’t forget if the equipment you are buying is on the Energy Technology List, you can claim extra capital allowances from HMRC, which gives a cash flow boost of £1,968 for every £10,000 spent.

Energy efficiency of laptops versus desktops

Heating and Cooling Your Premises

Heating and cooling premises can add a huge cost to your energy bills if left unmanaged. In fact, temperature control of your office is often the number one energy cost in your work environment.

Educating your staff to have efficiency savings front of mind can bring additional benefits from cultural change. You have the choice of using electric or gas powered appliances which could greatly affect your consumption and costs.

Here are a few ways to conserve power.

  1. Keep the premises at stable temperatures rather than having your systems having to heat and regularly cool.

  2. Turn down any thermostats by one or two degrees. Most business premises need a stable temperature of around 20 degrees.

  3. Don’t let your staff change the thermostat – everyone will have different optimal temperatures. Encourage dressing appropriately for them given a 20 degree setting on your thermostats. And manage heating (turn it off) if its weather when your team want to open the windows!

  4. Keep external and internal doors shut at all times. If you operate a warehouse that’s in constant use consider having a well-insulated door between the internal and external spaces.

  5. Make sure you have timer working so that the heating comes on at the right time in the morning and turns off during the night – and have this in sync with your teams’ working patterns. During the winter months, you may want it to come on at a low temperature to make sure any water pipes don’t freeze up and subsequently burst, especially when lots of people are working from home.

  6. Make sure your windows and doors are draft proof so that cold air doesn’t come in or heat escapes.

Saving on Lighting in Your Offices, Shops and Sites

Many offices leave some or all of their lights on even at night and weekends. Even if they use the very latest energy efficiency lighting this is still an unnecessary waste! If security is a concern, then installing motion sensor lighting strategically placed to deter unwanted visitors.

But, let’s face it, having the lights on when your team aren’t on site is a waste.

Energy efficient lighting tips

Here are some lighting tips:

  1. Switch off lights when they’re not in use. Simple, right?! Encourage a last one out culture of switching off. Place reminder stickers near switches to help people remember.

  2. Use natural light wherever possible in your office space – reorganise your layout so that desks are near windows, blinds can be opened and any storage units aren’t taking up natural light. Make it possible to have lights off in the daytime.

  3. Replace standard light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs. These can use up to 70% less energy and are now a lot cheaper and better than they used to be. They also look and feel like traditional bulbs but cast far brighter light.

  4. Fluorescent bulbs use about 10% less energy than traditional bulbs if you’re still not keen on energy saving lighting. And new higher frequency fluorescent bulbs have less flicker and a far longer lifespan.

  5. Think about installing motion sensors in less used like toilets, corridors and storage cupboards.

That's a quick list of relatively simple things to do in your office to save money are energy. What else would you add or have you tried? - feel free to let us know in the comments!

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