Energy: How to save money this winter

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How to save money on energy this winter

As temperatures begin to drop, keeping the office well lit and warm at a low cost can be challenging for small companies. Here, Phil Foster, managing director of Love Energy Savings, offers tips on how you can beat the cold and save cash at the same time…

1) Do the simple things first

Foster says: “The biggest mistake companies make is leaving lights on. We frequently see directors walking out last thing at night with the lights still on. Doing stuff like switching lights off or turning heating down is just common sense. The results are immediate too. If you’re a nine-to-five operation, simply powering down electricity can save you one or two per cent, maybe even five per cent off your bills. It’s especially true of IT equipment. The older it gets, the less efficient it is – just like a car. If every staff member switched off their desktop or laptop at the end of every working day, they could save the business more than £35 on its electricity bills. Do that, then you can discuss the bigger savings.”

2) Consider your energy contracts

“We’re still finding that 60 per cent of SMEs are fairly ignorant about price reduction. But one of the best things companies can do is to look at the bills they’re paying already. If your contract is up for renewal this winter, then review your tariff either directly through the supplier or a reputable comparison site.”

3) Invest in LED lights and motion detectors

“LED lights – or light-emitting diodes – can be one of the quickest wins when it comes to streamlining energy usage in the workplace. They produce less heat and are more effective than traditional light bulbs. Some organisations that use a lot of lighting have seen savings of around £30,000. Motion detectors on lights are also a fail-safe way to save energy – they’re like a safety net against negligence. Even if you leave the office with the lights on, they’ll turn off after a certain amount of time. Plus, it’s inexpensive – it costs less than £10 to install a motion detector.”

4) Get staff involved

“If your staff are sitting there in shorts and shirts during winter, then maybe the building isn’t of a suitable temperature. I’m not saying you should get your staff to wear scarves and woolly hats, but it’s worth getting the balance right. Also, try making staff aware of the energy savings they could make via stickers and posters around the office. You could also make staff aware via fun gestures. This could involve working in some incentives, like winning a free breakfast or a bottle of wine if they make savings. Or if somebody’s left a light on, you could make them carry out a fun forfeit. It’s also good practice if the last person to leave the building does a walk-round with a tick-sheet ensuring everything’s turned off.”

5) Draft a draught-proofing proposal

“It depends on the age of the building but insulation is key. Look at the extremities of the building, making sure you’ve got suitable installation at the top end of the building, whether that is a suspended ceiling, an attic, or some kind of vented roof. You can also stick on draught excluders around the office corners, block up any nooks and crannies such as doors, keyholes and letterboxes. It takes only a few pence to do that. To coin a phrase, every little helps.”

6) See that more expensive measures have a good ROI

“If you’re reliant on your boiler to furnish your central heating system, then the payback is the equivalent to a domestic user, so the numbers would be very compatible. If it’s a big boiler that’s furnishing a larger facility like a sports hall, then the payback is going to be much quicker. An efficient boiler is well worth the investment because there’s also the health and safety issue. Replacing old windows with heat-reflecting glass or double-glazing can be productive too.”

For more on Love Energy Savings see:

loveenergysavings.com

@LoveEnergySavin

For more on energy:

Companies slow on energy audits

Lowering energy costs

About author

Christian Koch

Christian Koch

Alongside his work for Director, Christian has written features for the Evening Standard, The Guardian, Sunday Times Style, The Independent, Q, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, ShortList and Glamour in an eclectic career which has seen him interview everybody from Mariah Carey to Michael Douglas through to Richard Branson with newspaper assignments including reporting on the Japanese tsunami and living with an Italian cult.

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