Energy Saving for Small Businesses
How a few small changes can keep more money in your pocket and put you on a path to a clean, green future
According to recent research commissioned by energy supplier npower, the majority of small and medium sized businesses in the UK are only planning six to twelve months in advance. Despite recognising the benefits of long term business planning, a shaky economic climate is making these companies reluctant to look any further forward.
However, lengthening your foresight when it comes to energy saving is a move that could start saving your small business money straight away.
As Phil Scholes, small and medium markets director at npower commented: “Addressing energy costs by switching suppliers, fixing price and embracing energy efficiency, will improve the bottom line and help small businesses plan confidently for the future.”
Read on to get to grips with the facts and figures surrounding energy saving and find out how to apply them to your small business today.
Why invest in energy saving?
You may feel that spending time and money saving energy is not a high priority for your business at the moment. And that’s understandable. But aside from doing your bit for the planet, saving energy can also heavily reduce your expenditure on business gas and electricity, making it one of the easiest ways to increase profits.
Research shows over half of the UKs small and medium businesses have no system for measuring energy efficiency – despite the fact that those who do introduce these measures report savings of up to 10 per cent on their energy bills. Think of that as a 10 per cent profit on your annual energy spend. How much work would you put into a sale of that size?
And prices are only going to rise – according to predictions from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, business energy bills for medium sized consumers will be 26 per cent higher by 2020.
How do I get started?
To make sure you aren’t paying over the odds for your energy usage, look into different providers’ quotes and tariffs. Getting set up on a specialised energy plan, such as an npower business plan, can deliver unit cost stability and protect you from prices rises for up to three years.
To make sure you’re getting the most from your energy usage, it’s also important to implement some changes in your working environment. It may feel like you have a mountain to climb, but following these five simple steps will get you on the road to a bright, green future in no time:
- Choose your champion: appoint someone to take charge of your energy saving regime.
- Know the facts: Find out exactly how much energy your business uses – and how much it costs. Checking how many kilowatt hours you used in total from last year’s bills can help you compare and see the benefits of the efficiencies you introduce.
- Find your weak spots: Ask your energy champion to compile a hit-list of obvious issues around your premises. Once you know the problems, you can start working on the solutions…
- Prioritise your actions: Once you know where your weaknesses lie, you can prioritise which ones to deal with. Some simple changes can be implemented straight away, whereas others will be more of an investment for the future.
- Don’t let it slip: Ask your energy champions to conduct regular reviews and make sure positive changes are being enforced across the business.
How do I know where to implement efficiency measures?
The good news is some of the most common problems in offices are some of the easiest – and cheapest – to fix. Check for old lighting, large pieces of furniture placed in front of radiators, open keyholes and letterboxes and computers, printers and photocopiers left on. Arm yourself with a checklist of common problems and within minutes, you could be saving money and reducing your carbon footprint.
In time, you may feel ready to make a longer-term investment into your small businesses’ energy efficiency. Fitting control systems for heating and lighting, installing cavity wall insulation and upgrading old equipment are all investments that will generate big returns in the long run. For now, however, the most important thing is to make a start – the profits from a few small changes will go a long way towards leading your small business into a light, bright energy efficient future.