Saving money when you’re operating and growing a small business in the UK is the number one priority for many business owners. According to Bionic, the average business electricity bill per year can be as much as £3,146 for a medium-sized business. But with energy bills fluctuating from month to month, it’s a hard cost to pin down.
As it’s a cost that is so unpredictable, if we told you you could cut your energy bills down consistently, you’d be onto a winner, right?
Research carried out by The Guardian found that most CFOs at large businesses were significantly underestimating the returns from energy efficiency investments. Saving more money means you can keep it saved for emergencies - think late invoice payments and cash flow issues - or you could redistribute the funds elsewhere in the business. Maybe you need a new breakout room with a pool table?
Here at Capalona, we aim to help businesses secure the funding required to support growth - but we’re also here to share helpful tips around running your business. So without further ado, we’re keen to share our top energy-saving hacks to help you scrounge back some pocket money.
1. Start by saving energy with office equipment
There are many energy-saving hacks you can implement in your office environment, we’ve gathered a few together. Whether they’re changes you make immediately or implement over time; it’s good to get into the long-term mindset of saving money through your energy bills.
Purchasing energy-efficient office equipment
From LED bulbs to reinvesting in windows that retain heat instead of letting it escape - there are many ways you can reduce energy costs in the office environment. LED bulbs use 25-35 per cent less energy, so they can be a worthwhile investment for your business!
Switch off all office equipment when they’re not in use
Don’t forget to switch off all electrical equipment not required after you leave the office for the day. This might include shutting your computer down - instead of putting it to sleep, and turning your plug off at the wall.
2. Inform staff of energy-saving policies
If it’s only you who knows about your new energy-saving initiative, you won’t save any money on your bills.
You need to inform all staff members of your new policies, whether it’s turning their computers off at the wall or merely shutting their computer down, turning off lights as they leave the room and switching off printers and scanners after they’ve finished using them for the day.
All these seemingly small steps can help you on your way to saving some pennies when your bills come around.
3. Turn the heating down
Although control over the thermostat is a bone of contention for many employees, if you’re nesh, you might have to pull on a woolly jumper. According to YourMoney, turning the thermostat down just one degree can help a three-bed semi-detached house save around £85-£90 a year. So turning the panel down a few degrees could do wonders for your workplace.
We don’t advocate turning the temperature so low everyone is freezing, and your workplace no longer conforms to legal temperatures - we’re just suggesting you could turn the dial slightly lower than usual. As long as the majority of staff members are happy with the temperature, you’ll have a happy workforce!
4. Stagger shift patterns
According to Constellation, one of the best ways businesses can save money on their energy bills is to stagger work patterns. If your employees come in 9-5 every day, the peak energy hours are always the same. Everyone switches on their computer at the same time etc. They also suggest running heavy machines early in the morning or late at night to distribute energy usage - just think about what it is your business powers up over the working day and take it into consideration.
5. Consider a remote working policy
You can save money by merely reducing hours in the office environment. Enabling your employees to work from home can mean you save on your energy bills and, in return, you could receive high productivity amongst staff and happier staff - win-win!
Unsure whether your company should take the plunge into remote working? Read our blog: Should your employees work from home?
6. Refrain from overfilling the kettle
Whether they’re thirsty, cold or just fancy a break from work - the kettle is where most employees head toward on an hourly basis - or maybe even more frequently than that. It has been estimated by Energy Saving Trust (EST) that overfilling kettles is wasting a total of £68m each year in Britain. Encouraging staff only to fill the kettle as much as is required for the tea round could help you decrease those energy bills.
7. Change your ‘business wear’ policy
Changing your clothing policy all depends on your business sector. If you’re a team of solicitors meeting with clients day-in-day-out, then business wear is probably appropriate. If your staff don’t come into contact with customers or clients, then maybe you can loosen the rules when it comes to workwear. This change in policy can mean your staff can warm themselves up with jumpers or wear shorts in the summer to cool down - saving you using your air-con unit or having the heating cranked up in the winter months.
8. Consider implementing a ceiling fan over air-con
Although air conditioning in an office sounds ideal - let’s all remember where we live. We must have a handful of days - or a month at best - where we see and appreciate the warm UV rays of the summer sun. So before you install an air conditioning system, maybe you could consider a ceiling fan instead? Not only has an air conditioning unit got a hefty price tag, but they consume a massive 3500 watts of energy versus the relatively minuscule 60 watts when it comes to a ceiling fan.
Perhaps some food for thought?
9. How to keep energy costs down long-term
All these measures are great and can mean you’re starting to save money on your energy bills almost immediately, but how do you ensure this is a long-term business strategy?
You need to get your staff behind it.
And there are many ways you can do this, the best and easiest way is to reward staff members who come up with a new energy-saving initiative or are seen sticking to the green policies you already implement.
Rewarding staff with vouchers, a meal out, or a treat of their choice can keep your business focused and on track to save money long-term.
Encouraging staff to take part in friendly competition against their colleagues can mean your business generates some positive PR. As your company adopts a greener philosophy, this gives you something positive to shout about to your customers and any potential customers out there. Being seen to care about the environment can boost your corporate social responsibility (CSR) stance within the community.
How to use green initiatives to garner positive PR for your business:
- Send out a press release or promote a blog post on your website when you implement a new green initiative and give the staff member who came up with it praise over social media.
- Regularly share updates about what your staff members have won and why they won the green reward for the month.
- Update a blog thread each month with small progress updates on your green initiatives.
- Implement other ‘go green’ efforts to help supplement your energy bill savings - ideas could include a recycling programme, a car-pooling scheme, become paperless, etc. All these ideas can help you stand out against the competition in your market.
10. Switch energy suppliers
If you switch your home energy to the cheapest tariff on a regular basis, then why wouldn’t you do the same for your business? Switching to the best tariff could potentially save you a lot of money that you invest back into your business for growth. With online comparison sites dedicated to business energy switching, you can easily compare business gas and electricity prices in a matter of minutes.
Before you go...
With small business energy prices on the rise, sourcing a good energy deal can be challenging. Hopefully, this guide will help you reduce your business energy bill, but don't forget that you may be able to switch to a better business energy deal.