Procurement 21 September 2015

Five ways to lower your energy bills for Q4

Greenproofing your office needn’t be expensive or disruptive – even the smallest changes can make a big difference
Green-proofing your office needn’t be expensive or disruptive – even the smallest changes can make a big difference

The managing director of Love Energy Savings provides his advice on how your firm can keep the energy bills down as the colder months approach.

We’re creeping towards the time of year when newspapers go crazy with their shock-inducing weatherisms and the Met Office, somewhat bizarrely, is already using social media to encourage people to #nameourstorms. While the threat of a “Polar Plunge!” and “Weather Bomb!” are almost always exaggerated, it is nevertheless important that micro businesses prepare themselves for the colder conditions.

The UK’s “Big Six” business energy suppliers have come under increasing pressure to lower prices this year, and it seems that declining global wholesale energy costs are steadily translating into financial savings for consumers. However, there’s always a worry that as levels of energy consumption go up in the winter months, prices will follow suit.

All companies are different, and the amount of gas and electricity you use will very much depend on the industry in which you work. For micro businesses, cash flow is key and even the slightest cost increase can have a big impact. According to statistics provided by British Gas, the average office will report a 63 per cent increase in gas usage from autumn to winter. While it’s inevitable that business energy usage will rise in the fourth quarter of the year, there’s no need for companies to pay over the odds to stay operational.

I’ve put together a handy guide to advise businesses on how to protect themselves against extortionate autumn/winter energy bills.

(1) Making your workplace eco-friendly

Green-proofing your office needn’t be expensive, time consuming or disruptive – even the smallest changes can make a big difference.

According to the Carbon Trust, the overall energy bill of an eco-conscious office can be up to 65 per cent lower than that of a standard workspace where no effort has been made to curb energy usage. Fixing draught-proof strips to doors, using heat-saving window blinds and ensuring that windows and doors aren’t left open unnecessarily are all simple measures that can save you a small fortune in the colder months.

Heating wars, meanwhile, are inevitable in a small office environment. While one person will be sweating, you can bet there will be someone else sat there in their scarf, usually resulting in some very heated arguments. However, do try to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the day, as constantly messing with the thermostat can be expensive. Layers, woollen garments and communication are key here.

Also, as we approach the fourth quarter it’s worth making sure that your office is set up to retain heat. Have you got adequate insulation? Is your boiler working to its optimum level? Have your radiators been bled so that your central heating system is working effectively? Being prepared pays dividends in the long run.

(2) Smart meters are worthwhile

New government statistics show that 2,300 smart meters and 16,400 advanced meters were installed in smaller non-domestic properties by large energy suppliers in the second quarter of this year. It’s estimated that 621,400 smart and advanced meters had been added to these sites as of June 30th 2015.

A lot has been made of the benefits that these devices can have in homes, so if you work from home this is a must, but it’s worth pointing out that small firms can make use of them too. Primarily, the meters will cut down on unnecessary admin, which is a great benefit if you have limited staff. They will send energy usage readings directly to your business energy supplier and they’ll also give you a better idea of how much power you’re using, and more importantly, wasting. This takes us on to our next point.

Read on to see how the flexible working era has made saving energy easier for businesses.

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