Businesses are wasting money on energy - here are six ways to make your business energy-savvy

Andrew Richardson
Are computers being left on over weekends and holidays? (Source: Getty)

Last week the Competitions and Markets Authority reported back on the fact consumers are “paying too much” for their energy bills, suggesting that customers need to help make the market be more competitive through switching suppliers on a regular basis.

But 75 per cent of businesses already know that there are savings to be made from switching. It’s the next step most fail to make.

Understanding energy consumption can be tricky, but if businesses get to grips with it and understand how to manage it better, there are real savings to be made. Here are some energy saving tips to help:

1. Get to grips with the terminology

20% of small business owners in the UK often struggle to read their bills correctly, with 60% unable to identify the meaning of E (estimated) and A (actual) on their paperwork.

Bills can contain a lot of jargon, but once you understand what it all means, you'll be able to have a sense of what you are paying for and keep watch for any errors.

2. Have a "shop around" frame of mind

Businesses always do better when they look around for the best deals in all aspects of their day-to-day activity.

This inquisitive and tenacious nature to get the best deals doesn’t get applied enough to utilities. Often thought of as complex and time-consuming, businesses need to understand that like many other suppliers and products, energy and utilities can be flexible too.

3. Understand how much energy you use

Many people find it difficult to think about energy in a tangible manner - it is just there. But depending on your business operation, headcount and premises, we all use varying amounts at different parts of the day.

There are many elements we can't change - we need the lights on and technology to work - but by understanding the amount of energy you use as a business, you'll then be able to go some way to reducing it.

4. Educate your staff to save

According to the Carbon Trust, small to medium office-based businesses waste nearly £350 every year by leaving computers, screens, and other hardware on standby – even at weekends and during public holidays.

Put team members in charge of reminding colleagues of best practice. Why not add incentives such as creating the best “energy saving team” on a monthly basis?

5. Keep your lighting and heating front of mind

A typical office has a temperature of between 19 to 21 degrees. Make sure your thermostats are set to this level and that they’re functioning correctly. Understand the affects sunlight and draughts can have, and respond accordingly.

Also, be clever about the savings that can be made when office hours are over, particularly at weekends. Lighting can also make a huge different to your monthly bills. Ask yourself if the workplace needs to be as bright as it is, particularly in the summer months. Small changes can make a big difference.

6. Know the facts and take away the hassle

There are lots of misconceptions about switching suppliers. You won’t lose your supply, have to complete reams of paperwork or have to pay up front. Instead, it is a very straightforward and simple process.

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