If your small business has ever been slammed with an exorbitant bill, you know: tackling a large expense requires time, effort, and headaches. But prevention is better than medicine — and sometimes a little extra knowledge of the industry can save you.
High energy expenses are perhaps something you have been writing off as normal or deemed just too difficult to confront. Don’t sell yourself short! Here are some simple steps to running energy efficient business that will produce such huge savings, you’ll wish you had known about them sooner.
1. A Two-Pronged Attack
There are essentially two methods with which to reduce your business’s electricity and gas costs:
- If you are in a market with more than one supplier, you can shop comparatively in order to reduce the unit cost charged to your organization. These markets have experienced brokers who either reverse auction your premises with other businesses or undertake a comparison of the most competitive rates. Either way, you could save up to 43% in some cases depending in the competitiveness of the market in your area. Get all the information, and work with these brokers to get the best deal.
- Cut your energy consumption so that your business uses less power for the heating, lighting, and electronic equipment installed on your premises.
2. Knowledge is Power!
Each device that consumes electricity has a rating in watts that states how much power is consumed in a one-hour period. The higher the rating number, the more energy is consumed.
Simply knowing the consumption levels of equipment puts you in the driver’s seat on new purchases and when upgrading or replacing old equipment.
3. The “Green” Rewards Add Up Fast
Installing energy efficient light bulbs immediately reduces consumption by around 80%. Through manufacturer and government incentives, the purchasing cost has plummeted in recent years meaning it’s not the upfront costly burden it once was, even for small businesses.
The savings can add up quickly for large companies. For example: if you have 100 traditional bulbs in your office, the monthly cost after an energy efficient upgrade would reduce from $100 to $20 –- providing a savings of $960 per year.
The same rationale applies to Energy Star rated air conditioners, which can save between 12% and 20% on consumption over their more traditional counterparts. Savings over a year on ten energy efficient AC units could provide a return of $1,800.
The “green” market has also seen new innovations in computer screens and even electric radiators to help reduce usage. These devices now come with state of the art controls to switch off when not in use and consume energy more efficiency to minimize their carbon footprint.
4. Efficiency Awareness
To fully invest in energy efficiency, ensure that your employees understand that only when devices are turned completely off do they consume no power. Raising awareness in your business to motivate people to switch off all appliances when not in use could save 10%-20% on your annual consumption and charges.
Specific areas to focus attention on are: switching off all lights and electronics at night, turning thermostats down by one or two degrees, and having timers on heating and lighting systems so they are only on when required.
5. Avoid Inaccurate Billing
Energy bills are made up of unit costs per kWh and consumption used between two periods. Mistakes can certainly be made by your supplier, so spend a few minutes checking the terms of your contract and that your usage data is correct to ensure accurate invoicing.
Installing simple energy monitors or smart meters can help you manage and monitor usage over time. These devices transmit data back to your management software, producing accurate usage information that can be used to check invoices and manage efficiency measures.
6. Consider Generating Your Own Energy
There are many cost effective solutions that a small business can introduce to generate their own electricity from renewable sources. Adding solar panels or a small wind turbine on the roof of a building will likely generate enough energy to power most offices or small shops!
Any excess power could also be sold back to the main grid network — which actually could generate a small flow of profit. Specialist companies can advise on your options and viability of creating these sources of energy.
Jason Smith is the owner of businesselectricityprices.org.uk, a website that helps consumers and business managers reduce their utility bills. Jason has been helping businesses reduce their costs and increase their energy efficiency for over 10 years. You can follow Business Electricity Prices on Twitter.
Image courtesy remcovandermeer