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Top Tips for making your small business more energy efficient

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In one of our first blogs of 2015, we looked at five ways to reduce small business costs. One of these ways was by saving energy and in this blog we return to this topic.

According to John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses: “Almost a third of small firms highlight the cost of energy as a barrier to the growth and success of their business. Finding energy efficiency savings is the single best way of reducing these costs over the long-term. Small businesses need all the support and information they can get to help to make these savings wherever possible”.

Energy prices are likely to increase over the next few years and it is therefore an ideal time for small business to take control of their energy use, reduce avoidable loss and cut their energy bills. Research shows that the average small business could reduce its energy bill by around 18-25% by installing energy efficiency measures with an average payback of less than 1.5 years. It is also estimated that 40% of these savings would require zero capital cost.

Below are the top tips to help your small business to save energy:

Steps towards using energy efficiently

Simple steps can be taken towards reducing energy use in the work place such as monitoring its use. A member of staff could be assigned to the role of monitoring the use of energy and take action to reduce energy use. One simple step that can be taken is for the last member of staff who leaves to have the responsibility of ensuring heating, air conditioning, lights, office and kitchen equipment are switched off. Further monitoring could include ensuring any equipment while not in use in the day time is switched off, even when left on standby equipment uses energy and this can eat into your energy bill!

Invest to ensure energy saving

Some simple tips have been suggested to work towards a more energy efficient work place and investments can also be made to boost energy saving leading to financial saving. Monitoring use of lights can aid energy saving in the workplace and additional investment in lighting timers and sensors could help you make up to an additional 30% saving. Another investment which can be made to cut energy use is in equipment. Did you know that old, poorly maintained, inefficient equipment is one of the biggest causes of wasted energy? Investment into modern equipment which is more efficient could contribute towards savings. When buying new equipment do take into consideration which is most energy efficient, these products will usually be more expensive but could bring significant savings in the long run.

Identifying opportunities

Always be on the look out for ways to save energy! There are various tools available to help you. Firstly you need to take regular meter readings for your gas and electricity – this could be daily, weekly or monthly, but try to take them at the same time. Then you will be able to chart your use of energy over time (some suppliers’ websites can do this for you) to help you see trends and monitor the savings you’re making.

If you do not already have one, it is worth getting an energy review or assessment to get either a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) or an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to give an indication of overall building energy efficiency and recommendations on how to reduce energy costs. If you operate from a domestic property, you could also obtain a Green Deal Advice Report to identify a potential range of energy efficiency measures and savings.

Just as in the domestic market, remember that you can save money on your energy costs by shopping around to find the best energy supplier for the needs of your business. You can do this yourself by first seeing if your current supplier can offer you a better deal than your current one. This will then give you a benchmark for looking at other deals from other suppliers.

More information on any of the above is available from the excellent downloadable booklet “SME Guide to Energy Efficiency” produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Interested in a small business loan to invest in becoming more energy efficient? Get in touch with us at fair business loans we may be able to help! Or if you’d be interested in discussing this and other issues related to optimising small business funding, keep an eye on this blog for details of the next Let’s Do Business event, a fantastic opportunity for small business owners to network and to get professional and peer advice about the key issues impacting small businesses today.

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