The electricity and gas bills for a company are always stumbling blocks. According to SmarterBusiness, the average SME can use 15,000-50,000kWh+ of electricity, averaging an annual cost of £2566 for small businesses and £4208 for medium-sized businesses, with the average business gas bill reaching around £850 per year according to BusinessEnergy.
Ofgem have also stated that small companies pay 50% more for their energy than larger businesses on average, possibly due to bigger businesses having bigger negotiating clout, or having more specialised staff that know where to look for the best deals.
This is a pretty substantial amount for a business that doesn’t possess the financial might of its competitors, so it’s definitely beneficial for any business to look into how to cut costs. Here’s a few tips:
1. Energy efficient lightbulbs
A large portion of a company’s electricity bill is made of lighting, and costs can definitely be cut if you switch out your old incandescents for some new energy efficient LEDs.
While they are more expensive than their traditional counterparts, they pay for themselves in no time due to how much energy they save. As well as this, LEDs can last up to 25x longer than older lightbulbs.
The effect they have on the environment can’t be ignored either, as they reduce your carbon footprint through their sheer efficiency. They have multiple features that keep temperatures low, which saves money on air con as well as costing you less.
2. Improve your other equipment
Energy efficiency in home appliances are no secret, and people often try to upgrade theirs whenever possible to save on their electric costs. In the office, however, this sometimes isn’t the case. It’s definitely a large investment to buy a state-of-the-art, A+++ fridge (which would still pay for itself over time), but even just looking at marginally higher ratings when your current fridge meets its untimely end is worth consideration. Dishwashers are another appliance that deserves some thought.
3. Learn about your building
Heating and air con cost a bomb over time, but this can be massively improved if you use other methods. Speak to your building’s landlord and ask whether the building has the right insulation. Things like double glazing or wall insulation can shave a substantial amount off your heating bill while making the room’s temperature easy to maintain.
4. Prepare for the seasons
Saving money on heating or air con may just seem like an unwinnable battle against the elements, but all it takes is a small amount of preparation. If you have any windows that get direct sun exposure, invest in some blinds or other cover to use in the summer. As we mentioned before, make sure to check whether you have double glazing too.
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5. Fix any draughts or leaks
Sealant can go a long way in saving energy. Making a quick run around the office sealing any holes in door or window frames can make the office warmer in the winter, and more importantly, better at keeping heat in. The money saved in the long-run is well worth the slightly time-consuming task. Joint sealing tape or caulk can also do the trick.
6. Think about relaxing your dress code
Allowing employees to wear jumpers in the winter and tees in the summer means that the workforce is happier, and more appropriate dress for the seasons also eliminates the need for over-heating or excessive use of the air con. This gives everyone power in saving the company money and keeps them at the right temperature through the day, meaning they will more than likely be more productive too.
7. Make an effort to become paperless (or at least use less)
Similar to the use of LED lights, the amount of energy saved through using less paper is massive and is extremely good for the environment. With the rising popularity of Google Docs, Google Sheets, Dropbox and various other online file-storing sites, paper isn’t as necessary as it once was. This means that you can cut costs by refraining from using printers, photocopiers and so on and instead send co-workers documents digitally. While not printing or copying, it’s also a good habit to have the relevant devices turned off at the wall to save even more money. This may not sound like a big change, but the results add up, just like a lot of these other points.
8. Turn off anything you’re not using
This is something people often do in their homes but take for granted in the office. A master switch could make it easier to turn everything off when shutting down for the night, which will save you a lot of time and money. It also might be worth investing in motion-activated lights in corridors, bathrooms or other places that might not see people in it constantly. Turning off unused lights is a really good way to save money without any noticeable changes to your workplace.
9. Make sure computers aren’t wasting power
Power management settings are a powerful thing. A lot of computers are set to go into hibernation during periods of inactivity but if not, we’d recommend a quick look through the control panel to make sure.
10. Consider cloud servers
Cloud is the future. Servers eat a lot of electricity and businesses often don’t look at the alternatives, some believing there are none. Google have previously reported on their Google Apps service:
“These findings are consistent with a case study presented in this paper of the actual savings achieved by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), a Google Apps client with approximately 17,000 users. By switching to Google Apps, GSA reduced server energy consumption by nearly 90% and carbon emissions by 85%. We estimate the cost savings from this reduction in energy use will be $285,000 annually (a 93% reduction).”
The environment is also affected positively from users switching to the cloud, which is an added bonus.
11. Bin the kettle
No, we’re not joking. There are various options for energy efficient devices that can give you instant boiling/ice cold water, which are cheaper and better for the environment. While a lot of these are expensive at first, the savings made from only having one appliance on instead of two, as well as the added bonuses of some of the higher-end ones are well worth it.
It costs less to having boiling water in one of these devices than to constantly boil a kettle throughout the day. As well as this, kettles will have to be replaced a lot more.
The capacity of the water boiler is also a very useful feature in an office of employees constantly in need of tea or coffee, and the convenience of having already boiling water at the push of a button saves some time too.
12. Compare energy prices
The biggest change you can make to save money is to change your provider. Energy companies change their prices constantly, and it’s definitely a good idea to keep on top of what’s best for your business. We BusinessCostComparison are constantly searching for the best deal for SMEs, as they are often under a lot of pressure to keep costs low.