When we think of improvements in energy costs and carbon footprints, it’s easy to cast our minds to the big guys. Sure, a supermarket franchise like Sainsbury’s can save staggering sums by changing the kind of lightbulb it uses in a model of fridge, but what about the small business getting by and growing steadily?
Good news: It’s still worth looking into. The UK Federation of Small Businesses has performed an in-depth study on the matter, finding that a third of small firms highlighted the cost of their energy as a barrier to their growth. Their verdict? Finding energy savings where possible was one of the best possible ways to reduce costs over the long-term and save big. Its worth speaking to a commercial energy consultant first and see if you can bring your bills down as well as enacting the physical solutions we have below.
In the same study, it was found that an average UK SME could pay back its investment in energy efficiency measures in one and a half years if they cut their costs by as little as 18% in the process. Even better than that? 40% of those savings made would require zero capital cost to implement. Some more numbers to get you thinking: for a company with a 5% profit margin over the course of three years, saving £500 each year from energy reduction initiatives would see them pocket the same amount extra as a boost of £30,000 in sales. Not bad at all!
Starting simple: Zero cost wins
Let’s kick off the recommendations with a few sound and sensible suggestions that will lower your expenses without requiring any financial investment.
Turn it down: A tweak downwards of just 2°C can save a small business £140 on a £1,000 energy bill. That’s a modest change and it’s one that you’ll certainly be able to play with as the warmer months come along. As a rule, for every 1°C you raise your building’s temperature by, you’ll be increasing your heating costs by 8%.
Hold the door: Did you know around 30% of heating costs are caused by cold air simply entering a building through an available door or window gap? You can slash your energy bill just by making sure your staff close the door behind them! Practically speaking, this can be achieved by doing a set of communications out to your staff to encourage them to close doors and windows and to consider other smart choices like turning thermostats down before opening them.
Think layout: Offices with poor layouts are often awash with energy-guzzling devices like radiators and electric plug-in heaters. To save money without spending it, consider moving your desks around so your teams are sitting in the goldilocks zone that isn’t too far from or close to your radiators.
Moving on: Smart investments to cut energy costs
Let’s talk what’s next if you really want to cut those costs further.
Relocate thermostats: By moving the physical location of your thermostats you can cut down on performance-lowering phenomenon like draughts and direct sunlight.
Install heating timers: Fun fact: The Chinese Contemporary Arts Centre in Manchester is saving over four thousand Pounds a year by installing a single timer on its heating system. The cost of that timer? £100.
Strip: Strip curtains in PVC form are effective ways to keep energy in your buildings and warehouses. This is a great solution for businesses that can’t actually keep their warehouse doors closed, of which there are many; the show must go on, after all.
Upgrade your doors: Simple enhancements like spring-loaded closures can help to cut down the amount of time that doors remain open. Small wins accrue into tangible benefits to your bottom line and budget over the course of the years ahead.
You get the picture: it’s all about small wins that add up to make a major difference. We hope you found this useful! If you’re serious about energy reductions, your next best step could be to start looking at electrical contractors in your region who can help you save even further. Take care!