Your energy saving checklist: Top 6 things you need to do to stop wasting money on energy

Want to save on your business' energy bills? Regardless of your business' size or budget, these simple steps will help you cut energy waste...

Dr Paul Swift

Dr Paul Swift is an energy consultant at the Carbon Trust. He has helped businesses around the world cut energy waste. His energy saving checklist provides simple, achievable steps for businesses that want to get their gas and electricity bills under control, whatever their size or budget.

Follow his simple steps to see if you can save on your energy bills…

1. Check your figures – know how much you’re really using every month

  • Speak to your energy supplier about getting a smart meter. They give you accurate bills and help you keep track of how much you’re spending.
  • Check you’re not using more than you should against sector benchmarks (e.g. the Better Building Partnership for offices).

2. Take a walk around your premises – find out what equipment uses the most energy

  • Note the wattage of all of your equipment. A smart meter combined with plug-in watt meters (which measure energy use of individual appliances) will help you work out which equipment is causing the peaks in consumption – so you can take action to cut costs.

3. Get your timing right – only use energy when you need to

  • Can you switch your high wattage items on a little later, or turn them off earlier?
  • Make sure your air conditioning and heating are set to the right times for your business hours.
  • Get some plug-in timers – they’re around £10 each. They’re an easy way to make sure everything gets turned off at the end of the day.

4. Kit yourself out – invest in energy saving equipment

  • Before shelling out, ask yourself: How long will I be in this property? How long am I prepared to wait till this kit has paid for itself?
  • Prioritise the things you use a lot, like fridges and lights.
  • Understand product energy labels – Is A grade definitely the best? A++ might be better.
  • Check the Carbon Trust’s Green Business Directory of accredited suppliers to help you decide what to buy.
  • Specialist financing is available for energy efficiency improvements, as well as capital contributions of up to £10,000 through the Carbon Trust’s Green Business Fund.

5.Get employees on board

  • Reward good behaviour. Find an incentive for staff – it doesn’t have to be financial.
  • Focus on the changes that will save most money. Worry less about smaller things (like phone chargers).
  • Why aren’t staff changing their behavior? Find the root of the problem. And don’t be scared of tackling tricky issues (e.g. temperature in the workplace).
  • Make staff feel part of something good – don’t preach. Posters and emails should be light-hearted and funny.

6. Keep warm – stop heat escaping

  • Check your property for drafts. Borrow an infrared camera if you can so you can see where heat loss is occurring.
  • Insulate, insulate, insulate. Loft roll for attics, and insulating board for holes.
  • Cheap tweaks like foam strips on doors and windows and brush fixings in letter boxes can stop energy pouring through the cracks – the foam strips may need to be replaced every so often.

For more information about how smart meters could benefit your small business, visit the Smart Energy GB website

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