Ten energy saving tips to reduce business costs
The amazing thing about doing right by the planet is that, in many cases, implementing sustainability measures in both domestic and commercial premises can also save money. Sometimes the initial spend may be large – for instance installing solar panels – but, taken over a longer period, the potential for cost reductions outweighs the initial capital expenditure. There are also dozens of other, small changes, that can be made by businesses and, if applied by large organisations, the benefits for profits and the environment can be immense.
Request that all employees take responsibility for turning off their PCs after work, with one person in each department tasked with checking it is done and for turning off lights and other devices such as printers, photocopiers and monitors. Anything not needed during non-business hours doesn’t need to be on. This shouldn’t impact on essential IT maintenance either as there are softwares enabling IT staff to remotely install patches and perform other maintenance, returning PCs to power-saving mode on completion.
When replacing redundant computers, firms should invest in laptops over PCs, as they can potentially use up to 85% less energy over the course of a year. The other key advantage is their portability, allowing staff to work on the road or from home with ease.
Of course, IT-related equipment are not the only appliances found in large commercial premises. Staff kitchens should be equipped with A-rated appliances, from fridges and kettles to microwaves; this will ensure premium energy efficiency.
On the road
Large companies often employ a fleet of vehicles, whether they be staff cars, logistics vans or lorries. Make them as fuel efficient as possible by keeping a keen eye on tyre pressures and by working with logistics managers to lighten loads. Additionally, give drivers the maximum time to reach their destinations to allow them to drive slower, this will yield positive results. When the time comes to replace vehicles, companies should look to fuel efficient alternatives such as hybrid cars.
Overheating by just one degree can lead to up to an increase of fuel costs of about 8%. Firms can ask staff to check for draughts, then fill the gaps. It’s also a good idea to place the thermostat in an area of neutral temperature. Turning down the air conditioning by just one or two notches, and switching it on slightly later in the year, can save thousands annually for large companies.
The costs and energy consumption associated with running multiple servers can be drastically cut by moving as much data and applications as possible onto a Cloud-based system.
Business premises that have large windows facing the sun can slash their cooling costs by simply painting interior walls white, which reflects heat. That also means that the business can rely on natural lighting for most of the year rather than using energy with artificial solutions.
Rather than holding meetings in a physical setting, often requiring staff, suppliers or customers to travel, firms can employ technology such as Skype to meet virtually. Major organisations can use it to communicate with clients in any part of the world, with no need for flights, hotels or complex travel schedules.
Businesses that use technology to integrate remote working practices will naturally find the costs of maintaining premises falls, with less energy and water used. Even if it’s just one day a week or one week a month, the figures will speak for themselves. There are also many other benefits for business in allowing staff that flexibility.
If your business has large premises, or is spread over multiple sites, then it makes sense to carry out a comprehensive energy audit to identify where savings can be made. Many energy companies provide this service, as do private suppliers. It’s also a good idea to discuss switching to a green tariff with your company’s current provider. If they don’t offer that then it may be worth changing provider.
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Photo: Anton Fomkin