Running a small business is rarely an easy venture., It is made difficult by a lot of things from competition to long working hours, but perhaps the most difficult part of becoming a business owner is dealing with money. From office space to salaries, there are so many things that need to be paid for, and often a small margin of money to pay for it. However, one of the easiest costs to deal with, which a lot of entrepreneurs don’t really give much thought to is their energy costs.
The cost of gas, electricity and hydropower can be pretty high when you’re operating a business for 8 hours or more a day, which means that anything you can do to increase the efficiency of your energy usage and lower the costs of running your operation is welcome.
With that in mind, here are some simple things you can do to save money and increase your energy efficiency:
Before we get onto energy conservation, it’s worth mentioning that, as a small business, you should regularly review the energy rates offered by your suppliers to see if you are getting the best deal. Sometimes, changing to a different rate within the same company, such as a small business rate, will get you a better deal, and sometimes you will need to switch supplier completely if you want to save money. So, review every 12 months, or whenever your contract runs out and don’t be afraid to switch supplier – it could seriously boost your bottom line.
Have an Energy Audit
Organising an energy audit, which should be carried out by a professional audit company is a very good idea if you want to pinpoint areas where your business practices are using energy inefficiently. Once you get your audit report back, establish some best practices, and you should see your energy consumption decrease fast.
Switch to CFL or LED Bulbs
If you’re still using old filament bulbs in your workplace, you’re literally burning money. They can be as much as 75 percent less efficient than modern LED, and CFL bulbs and they tend to last three times less than newer bulbs too.
Make Use of Hibernation Mode
If your workplace uses a lot of computers and laptops, then the hibernation mode can come in pretty handy because it enables you and your employees to cut down on the amount of electricity you use without having to completely shut down your computer. That means that, if you need to pop out of the office for 10 minutes, you can conserve power without losing your work and without having to go through the process of turning everything on again, which although it saves energy, can reduce productivity, costing you in another area.
We live in the 21st Century now, which means that in the average office setting, paper is virtually redundant, or at least it can be if you resolve for that to be the case. With things like e-signatures, PDF files and cloud hosting, there is very little need for anything to be printed, and by switching to a paperless way of doing things, you can save serious energy, which will save you serious money, not to mention the money you’ll save on installing printers and buying paper and ink!
Flick the Switch
So many businesses leave on their lights, vending machines, computers, printers and a whole host of other energy-guzzling equipment in the evenings and weekends and it is complete madness. Sure, your office or storefront may look better when it’s illuminated at night, and it may save a few minutes in the morning when everything’s already plugged in, but think of the energy it’s burning! Compare that to the amount of time saved, and you’ll soon see that switching things off at the socket is the smart thing to do.
Replace Old Devices with Energy Efficient Ones
It might not be economical to replace all of your old work appliances right now, but as they start to become obsolete and when they fail, it makes perfect sense to replace them with energy-efficient alternatives that will use less power even if they are used in the exact same way for the exact same amount of time.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Keeping your workers warm in winter and cool in summer is pretty important if you want them to be as happy, healthy and productive as they can be, but if you’re using a traditional thermostat, it probably isn’t very energy efficient. Luckily, that’s easily changed by installing a programmable thermostat which will automatically adjust the temperature depending on how hot or cold it is it when no one is working. They’re pretty affordable too!
Turn it Down
While we’re on the subject of thermostats, turning your work’s one down by just one degree will not be noticeable to your employees, but it could save you as much as 10 percent in the energy department, which could mean a significant saving for you.
Seal the Cracks
It’s always a good idea to go around your workplace every few months checking for drafts. If you find any, then seal up cracks, use draft excluders and consider getting insulation (if you are able to ) and you will be able to better control the temperature of the room without having to resort to turning the heating up or blasting the air con.
If you own your small business premises, then you might want to consider installing skylights in the roof. Sure, it will cost you a bit of cash upfront, but over the years, you won’t need to spend nearly as much money on lighting (depending on where you live) which means that you will conserve energy and save a lot of money in the long-term.
If your business is based in an area that gets lots of natural sunlight, installing solar panels is a good way to save energy and pay less and solar panels are probably cheaper now than they ever have been. Monitor how much sunlight you get and see if it’s worth your while.
Most of these energy efficiency ideas are simple, and most are affordable, so if you want your small business to save energy and money, think seriously about implementing at least some of them!