The cost of electricity is a major concern for small business according to Canstar Blue research. A survey of over 500 small business respondents found 86% are actively trying to use less electricity to save on their power bill.
What are some ways to save on electricity costs?
Most of the ways in which businesses can save on electricity costs are common sense, but sometimes it’s good to take a step back and remind ourselves.
Adjust the thermostat
If your businesses has air conditioning and/or heating, ensure that the thermostat is set at a reasonable temperature that is not too cold in summer or too warm in winter. Keeping the temperature at an even – and not excessive – level can save you money. This usually means around 20°C in winter and 24°C in summer, depending of course on your particular city’s climate.
Also ensure that you have your air conditioner serviced regularly, a fully operational air conditioner is an efficient air conditioner. Servicing includes making sure the condenser is running properly, as well as cleaning out any filters and components.
If you’re replacing a computer, consider whether you could use a laptop instead. They can tend to be more energy-efficient than a desktop – and more portable as well. Also try not to leave the computers running all night – and think about what other items could be switched off at the end of the working day rather than left on standby. Compare laptops and desktops below:
|Appliance||Typical watts||Hourly running cost|
(Source: SA Government)
While insignificant on a per-hour basis, the difference between a laptop and desktop is that a desktop can use double the amount of power or more. Not to mention that laptops can be taken off the charge. While these figures seem small, the total costs over the year can be significant, especially if there are many computers in the office.
Think energy efficient when replacing items
If you are replacing any items – from refrigerators to heaters to the light bulbs, consider energy efficient replacements. Thankfully most appliances these days tend to err towards energy efficiency than ones even five to ten years ago. Compare the average fridge running costs here.
In terms of light bulbs, ensure that you replace incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps. EnergyRating.gov.au estimates that lighting for commercial purposes can be 18 and 40 per cent of the energy bill. Think about what you can save with this table from the South Australian Government below:
|Type of globe||Watts||Typical hourly running cost||Hourly running cost for all globes in an average home|
|Main voltage halogen (globe)||75W||$0.02||$1.19|
|Low voltage halogen (downlight)||70W||$0.02||$1.11|
|Compact fluorescent light (CFL)||22W||$0.007||$0.35|
Most businesses now have energy-efficient bulbs installed, but if you’re in an older building or you haven’t changed blown bulbs recently, it can be easy to forget about the type of lighting you’re using. As well as this, it can be easy to keep using the fridge you’ve used for 10 years as a trusty steed, rather than put it out to pasture in favour of a new energy-efficient model.
Check the fridge seals
Even small things such as replacing the seals on your refrigerator can make a difference to your electricity bill. Use the $5 note trick to determine if you need new seals. Also clean the staff fridge out regularly – it’s amazing what can end up growing in there! Apart from the hygiene issues, an overcrowded fridge is an expensive fridge to run.
It can pay to take the time to sift through your staff fridge. Oftentimes there’ll be disgusting old lunches past their prime, a lot of tubs of margarine with one slither of spread in the corner, a lot of cut vegetables, not to mention a lot of other unused clutter. By trimming the fat in your fridge, you can ensure it’s not working overtime to keep pointless things cool.
Could solar power be an option for you? Find out more about solar power here.
If you have choice of provider, then exercise that power of choice to see whether you could be receiving a better deal elsewhere. Read our small business – electricity providers customer satisfaction survey results to see how some of the providers around Australia shaped up.
Get your staff on an efficiency drive
Being mindful of energy usage in a business environment is a team effort. If you have staff, why not bring them on board and set a challenge to reduce the energy bill by, say 10 per cent. Everyone helping out could mean the difference of hundreds of dollars saved in your electricity bill per quarter. Most of the electricity-saving strategies staff would use in their own home can be transferred to the business environment. There are several ways staff members can join in on the energy-saving scheme:
- Shortening showers in the end-of-trip facilities
- Shutting down computers at the end of the day
- Mindful use of the fridge/s
Getting your staff in on the energy-saving efforts can bring the team together and make your job easier when it comes time to pay the power bill. Staff power management is a sure way to reduce the power bill, something that can easily be controlled with a powerful energy management interface.
What is the most trouble-free way to cut power bills?
The answer is an automated, real-time energy use monitoring system. Ever wanted a centrally controlled monitoring system that allows you to see when and where electricity is being used in your home? It sounds like a really convoluted way to save money, but it is perhaps the single most powerful tool that gives you a comprehensive vision about what’s right and what’s wrong with energy use in the office.
Most electricity and solar retailers now offer a range of systems which let you use your smart phone, tablet or computer to identify inefficient use of power (e.g. standby power), minimise peak demand, monitor the health of your solar systems, and provide insights into how to improve your office’s energy efficiency.
Reducing the power bill of your business can seem like a monumental task. We admit, it can’t be done overnight and habits are tough to break. It can be made easier by breaking it down into manageable segments over time, and with teamwork from your staff. Eventually you could be saving considerable amounts every quarter when that bill rolls around!