Simple Energy Efficiency Steps

The benefits of becoming more energy efficient within your business are twofold. Firstly you will be reducing your business overheads, secondly, you will be reducing your business’ carbon footprint. Some simple steps can have a very big impact on the energy efficiency of your business. Around £1 in every £5 you spend on energy is wasted.

Please download our Energy Efficiency Guide for Business for a more in-depth look at ways of reducing energy consumption - Energy Efficiency Advice Booklet

Lighting

  • Switch Off - Lighting represents a significant part of many of our customer’s usage. Switching off lights when not needed is something staff can be encouraged to do.
  • Change your bulbs - If you already have fluorescent tube lighting, changing from T12 tubes to T8s will bring energy savings of 10%. Upgrading lamps and fittings to T5 will bring even greater savings and will retain a high light output.
  • Only light what you need to - Occupancy sensors, which switch off lights when a space isn’t being used, can reduce lighting costs by 30%.
  • Make use of natural lighting - Lighting a space artificially when daylight is already doing the job is a waste of energy. Light sensors (photocells) can switch off or dim artificial lighting when there is sufficient daylight. Cleaning windows and skylights regularly lets maximum daylight into the building. Similarly, cleaning light fittings and sensors will make your lighting more effective.
  • Don't be over lit - Many businesses are over-lit, which not only wastes energy, it also makes the working environment uncomfortable. To save energy and create an environment that’s easier on the eye, switch off or dim unnecessary lights and consider task lighting where necessary.

Office Equipment

  • Switch Off - Wherever possible switch off equipment when not in use. A computer monitor can account for a large proportion of the energy used by a computer. Encourage users to turn monitors off if they’re going to be away from their desks for more than ten minutes, and make sure computers are switched off at the end of the day.
  • Print efficiently - Make it company policy to set double-sided (duplex) printing as the default. Use a lower print quality for internal documents and drafts and minimise paper use by decreasing print margins, or printing two sides to a page.
  • Maintain - Well-maintained equipment is more efficient and lasts longer. Set up a maintenance schedule, keep equipment free from obstructions and prevent over-heating by cleaning filters and fans regularly.
  • Create a standard computer profile - Make setting up standard profiles for computer systems official policy, so standby modes are the default. Screen savers do not save energy – monitors should switch to standby if not used for a period of time.
  • Vent it - Position photocopiers and printers in ventilated spaces or in cool areas such as the north side of a building, so machines don’t waste energy working overtime to stay cool, and even reducing air conditioning demand.
  • Make use of plug in timers - Vending and hot drink machines should be turned off overnight as long as they don’t contain perishable goods. Find out how long it takes for equipment to reach operational temperatures and turn on and off at the right time to reflect office hours. Install plug-in timers to all printers to make sure they’re switched off at weekends and overnight
  • Use Laptops - Laptops are designed to be as energy efficient as possible and use only around 10% the energy of a desktop computer.

Heating and hot water

  • Keep well serviced - A serviced boiler can save up to 10% on heating costs, so have your boiler serviced annually. Thermostats should also be calibrated annually to make sure they respond correctly to actual temperature.
  • Set the correct temperature - Set the Thermostat to 19 degrees for an office environment, between 16-19 degrees for a workshop environment, between 11-14 degrees for an environment where heavy work is carried out and between 10-12 degrees for stores – costs rise by 8% for every 1 degree increase.
  • Is your thermostat in the right place? - Thermostats will judge a room’s temperature incorrectly if they’re placed near draughts, in direct sunlight or near heat sources.
  • Use timers - Pre-heat the building in good time for occupancy. Avoid heating unused areas and make sure the building isn’t heated when it’s not in use (at weekends, for example).
  • Keep heaters and radiators clear - Putting furniture in front of radiators blocks the heat, so they have to work harder to heat the room.
  • Install de-stratification fans - In commercial or industrial buildings with warm air heaters and high ceilings, de-stratification fans can reduce energy use by 20% by blowing warm air down to ground level where it’s needed.
  • Do not heat the air - Check insulation around pipe work and water tanks, and replace any damaged or missing sections.
  • Only heat what's needed - Only heat water when it’s needed, and don’t overheat it. You can safely store water at 60°C (any less can cause legionella) and deliver it at around 56°C.
  • Don’t pay twice - If you have a centralised system with a boiler that already provides hot water, turn off immersion heaters: they won’t deliver anything more than the centralised system.
  • Install boiler sequencing controls - If you have a number of boilers on your site, a boiler sequence control that fires the minimum number of boilers at the same time will save energy.

Refrigeration

  • Don’t over-refrigerate - Only cool to the temperature you need – every 1°C saved could reduce your energy consumption by 2%.
  • Use plug-in timers - Make use of timers to switch off soft drinks fridges (as long as they don’t contain perishable goods ) when the business is closed and set the timer to start cooling again an hour or two before your business reopens. This can reduce consumption by 20%.
  • Is your thermostat in the right place? - Thermostats will judge a room’s temperature incorrectly if they’re placed near draughts, in direct sunlight or near heat sources.
  • Don't overfill - A unit will be most energy-efficient if it is not overfilled (there has to be room for the cool air to circulate).
  • Location of unit - Put your refrigeration units in a place far away from any sources of heat (including direct sunlight).
  • Allow adequate venting - Make sure there’s room around the refrigeration unit’s vents so it can draw in and expel air.
  • Clean Condensers - Blocked condensers increase the condensing temperature and cooling capacity.
  • Keep the doors shut - This sounds simple, but every time the doors are open cool air is lost. Create a culture in your business of closing the doors as soon as possible after opening.