Do you know how much energy your business uses? Moreover, do you know how much it wastes? In the UK alone, over half of the total energy produced each year is wasted, and many small and developing businesses like yours can contribute to that figure.
And that can be a worrying thing, for a variety of reasons. After all, you’re naturally concerned about the way your business affects the local ecosystem. Or maybe it’s just the financial aspect that you’re worried about? Either way, in letting your business waste energy, you can really rack up those bills and leave a stamp on the environment that you’d really hate.
Which means it’s time to do something about your business’ energy usage. You can work a lot of simple magic to lower both your bills and your company’s carbon footprint, and you can manage this with the help of the points below. Make sure you’re not wasting energy, and you’ll notice your business begin to grow in the way you always wanted it to.
The Little Things Add Up
It’s normal for an office to have a break room, and in that break room, to have appliances that make life at work much easier. However, the continued usage of these appliances can cause a racket on your utility bill. Whether it’s using the microwave, or boiling a kettle, or using a coffee machine, bit by bit these usage points add up. And if people are racing to use these items at certain points throughout the day, you’ve got an energy storm on your hands.
But you can’t just rip these items out - they’re necessary for a healthy, functioning workplace. Instead, think about ways to lower their impact. Ensure people only use the right amount of water for them when making a hot drink, for example. Or set a time limit on the microwave, say 5 minutes, to prevent extended use. If you can prevent the little things from becoming big things, you’ll retain employee happiness whilst still bringing those bills down!
Get Your Team Involved
Are you encouraging your team to cut back in certain areas of their life as well? And if you are, are you rewarding them for making a sustainable effort? Many companies talk a very good game about promoting sustainability, but this sentiment isn’t shared throughout the company itself. Even if an employee takes steps to follow suit, their efforts are often not recognised.
And that’s where you need to be different. Encouraging those you work with to stop wasting energy in their homes, cars, and in the workplace can go a long way to ensuring bills are kept low and your carbon footprint stays small. After all, it’s a company wide idea, and it’s willingly enforced by all involved. You’re far less likely to notice oddly frequent energy spikes on your office’s usage bill!
But how can you get your team involved? Incentives often work very well; if an employee proves they’ve ‘gone green’ in their water bill, or they’ve switched to a renewable supplier, compensating them for the effort goes a long way. However, if you are unable to offer monetary motivation, you can also simply surround your employees with green efforts, such as office recycling bins, asking them to bring in reusable water bottles, and place plenty of plants around.
Think About Your Supply Chain
Your supply chain is a big energy-waster. Every business out there is part of one, and knowing how your supply chain works is key to cutting back on energy wastage, and the total amount you’re paying for siphoning out such energy to useless points in the process.
However, a good way to address this issue is through working with eco-friendly suppliers. There are numerous supply houses out there that can guarantee low energy, high productivity, and a totally sustainable supply package. There’s even a directory for finding the right green supplier to work with!
Or, if you source, manufacture, and package and deliver products yourself, think about how you’ve set this system up. After all, when setting up a production line of your own, it can be hard to really focus on what needs to happen, and where things can be reserved - there’s a good chance you’ve made a few energy output mistakes. But you’re on a learning curve! And you’ve already got all of that warehouse space, so why not use it?
Indeed, it might be an idea to look into how you’re powering your supply chain in the first place. You might want to consider your options for conserving energy in firing up the machinery, and keeping it on for as long as possible. For example, you could buy compressed air to help cut back on your electricity usage, via using a more concentrated power source that can double your production capability in the long term. Simple changes like this can go a very long way.
Consider Your General Equipment Usage
How many electrical items run in your workplace? How often do you use them? And how long do they tend to stay on for? Answering questions like these on a regular basis can help you to prevent energy spikes from occurring, which can cost you an extra £100 per month at the least. Now that’s a hefty bill to be paying when you’re a small business! But what can you do? You need the lights and the computers to come on!
Well, try not to turn everything on at once. Indeed, it’s best to turn things on in a steady manner - go one by one around the office, leaving 10 or so minutes in between each flick of an ‘On’ button. This will help your energy usage to stay at a stable rate throughout the day, without massive spikes at any point. Without these huge surges of power, there’s no reason for your utility bill to be so high, and you’ll soon notice the amount tapering down over the coming months.
Run Regular Reviews and Repairs
How often do you get your office equipment seen to? If it’s less than once every 2 years, there’s a good chance you’re wasting energy by simply plugging a computer or copier-printer into a plug socket! And without running proper compliance tests, it can be hard to know if you’re working with viable equipment or not.
Of course, a lot of modern tech can be tested by just looking at it. If you press a button and it won’t turn on, it’s clearly got something wrong with it! But without a proper test, you won’t know what exactly is causing the issue. That can cause bigger problems for your energy usage in the long run, as even if you get an appliance to turn on, the issue could still be present in the background.
Which is where principles like PAT testing come in. When you’re using broken or faulty equipment or appliances, you’re going to be wasting a good portion of your daily energy allowance, simply because this energy has nowhere to go/nothing to do once it’s been picked up by the wires of the faulty item in question. And without a PAT test, you can’t quite be sure that you’ve either fixed the issue, or even identified it in the first place.
But how often should you test? Well, that can be hard to answer. Most of all, you need to get your equipment PAT tested at a rate that makes sense for your working environment. For most companies, about every 48 months is usually the best time frame, but once a year is good for workplaces that make frequent use of electrical equipment.
Keep Better Track of the Way You Use Energy
Do you know how to keep track of the amount of energy you use? If not, it’s time to learn! Monitoring your energy consumption is the most surefire way to prevent too much from being wasted, as knowledge is very much power in this scenario.
There are many apps you can download to your desktop or smartphone, to help you track how much energy is being used and where. In doing so, you can start to learn the patterns of how your energy usage is allocated. Maybe most of it is going towards the air conditioning or central heating, or maybe you’re noticing spikes at certain times throughout the year?
However, seeing as you’ve been keeping an eye, and you’ve got data to compare future spikes against, you can determine whether or not this is a waste or energy or a necessary use. If you want to have total control, be sure to get a Smart Meter installed somewhere in your office - they’re often a lot more precise than apps can be, and they track at more frequent intervals.
Your business might be wasting energy, but you can stop this before it becomes a real problem. Make sure you’re using tips like those above to keep an eye on your energy consumption.
Author - Chris
Author, Editor, Creator of this website.