We all wish we could operate a low-cost, carbon neutral business where our energy needs come from renewable resources. If you are one of the majority of business owners where this utopia is unattainable in the present moment, what CAN you do?
Quite a bit actually.
Most of your electricity bill will be heating/cooling, lighting, hot water and electronics. This will vary depending on the type of business you run and the make-up of your premises.
The cheapest electricity is the electricity you don’t use
Here are some energy saving tips for five areas that you can adopt today for little to no cost.
Heating & Cooling
Control the Thermostat
In winter, set the temperature to 18-20 degrees and in summer, 24-26 degrees. Every 1 degree you reduce when cooling or increase when heating uses 10% more electricity.
Set a Timer
Set a timer for your heating/cooling to come on an hour before people arrive so you’re not turning it on at a higher than necessary temperature to quickly bring the room to a comfortable temperature, it's already there. Set your timer to turn off your heating/cooling an hour before you close to reduce the electricity used and the risk of leaving it on.
Clean Your Filters
Clean your appliance filters every month when you are using them. The more dust there is covering the filters, the more electricity your unit will use to achieve your desired temperature.
Close Your Doors
Close doors to keep the heated or cooled air only in the space you are using.
Use Draught Stoppers
Draught-stop all doors and windows. If you were to roll up that long sliver of space under all the doors and windows into a ball, you will find a virtual hole in your wall much larger than you realise, that hole is making your appliances work harder to keep the air just right.
Lighting will contribute upward of 10% of your electricity costs. By upgrading your lights to LED you can reduce that by up to 80% and not have to buy replacement lights for 10-20 years*.
Businesses of all sizes can access lighting upgrade rebates through the Victorian Energy Saver scheme. Most lighting types are eligible for upgrade, and depending on the rebates available, it could cost you nothing. Of course you should still turn the lights off when you leave a room!*Based on lights being used for 8-12 hours per day and in full working order (not faulty)
There are many different electronics we use in our businesses, using what we think is a small amount of electricity but it all adds up.
Laptops Use Less Energy
Opt for a laptop over PC as a laptop will use 50-90% less electricity than a PC depending on what you switch from and to.
Use a Powerboard
If you have a computer, and other devices that you only use with your computer. A master/slave powerboard will turn off all devices when you turn off your computer instead of using standby power.
Make Use of Timers
Appliances such as microwaves only need to be on when you’re at work. Put a timer on the appliances that normally get left on so you’re not using standby electricity.
Check Your Usage
You can check how much electricity your device uses by plugging it into a PowerMate. If you want to work out how much that costs you each year, enter the details into the Energy Calculator.Hot Tip: You can hire a PowerMate from most public libraries.
Keep Your Fridge Stocked
Keep your fridge at 70-80% full for efficient running. It needs airflow to run efficiently but also needs cool objects in the fridge to ensure there's little warm air entering the fridge when opened.
Add water in bottles if necessary.
Check Your Seals
Check the seals on your fridge by placing a piece of paper in the door when you close it. If you can easily pull it out, you might need to have the seals replaced.
Check for Leaks and Drips
Check your hot water tank for any leaks, and your taps for drips. A small amount each day can add up to significant energy and water wastage.
Turn Off the Instant Hot Tap
Like your other appliances, if you have an Instant hot water tap, turn it off at the end of the day or put it on a timer.
Install Tap Aerators
Tap Aerators will still give you the water pressure you’re after but using less water and electricity.
Since you’ve come this far and made these changes why don’t you add a cherry on top and switch to a carbon-neutral electricity provider such as Powershop, then you know that all of the unavoidable electricity has been offset. TIP: find a friend to refer you to Powershop and you’ll both get credit towards your next bill.
And remember, the cheapest electricity is the electricity you don’t use.