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27 ways to cut your energy bills

10. Ask your supplier for help

Energy companies are surprisingly active at helping customers cut energy usage. British Gas runs Energy360, providing businesses with advanced monitoring and metering, a Building Management System healthcheck, carbon reduction advice and a dedicated energy manager.

11. Eco PCs

Lower power PCs are more than an eco-fad. Apple launched the Mac Mini with the claim it was the world’s most energy-efficient desktop computer?, and now other names are going green. Advent has launched an Eco PC which runs on 25w a tenth of a normal machine. British-brand Aleutia sells the U6, which connects six users to one box, so it can boast a per-user consumption of a mere 12W.

12. Circulate air

Hot air rises, so it makes sense to push that air back down to ground level. Tesco, which knows a thing or two about keeping overheads down, recently started installing high-volume, low-speed fans in its distribution centre to keep the air moving. Its supplier, MegaFan, founded by entrepreneur Garry Stiven, claims a reduction in gas consumption of 70 per cent, a saving of £25,000 for the supermarket. Running costs are as low as six pence an hour per fan.

13. Next-gen bulbs

Low-power lightbulbs are not popular. They flicker, take time to heat up and lack the full colour spectrum. So say hello to the likely replacement of these unlovable bulbs: LEDs. Light-emitting diodes are phenomenally cheap to run, don’t flicker and last for years. UK supplier Greenled, founded by eco-entrepreneur James Millar, kitted out the Crown Hotel in Woodbridge, Suffolk, with LEDs for £13,343, plus ?9,000 in fittings. Expensive At first. But the project was part funded by an interest-free loan from the Carbon Trust of £11,200. Lighting costs are now £494 a year, down 90 per cent.

14. Be wary of fixing your prices?

The current price of oil reflects an equilibrium between traders who think the price will rise and those who think the price will fall. Why might it fall” For starters, new liquid, natural-gas pipelines are coming online, plus oil shale extraction technologies are being developed, both of which could more than offset rising demand and the depletion of existing wells. Just something to bear in mind if you are offered fixed kWh prices for the next two years.

15. Zap the Xerox

Big, power-hungry kit like photocopiers gets left on all year round. If you aren?t in the habit of making copies at 3am on Sunday morning, then buy a digital timer to turn the beast off after hours. Maplin sells digital plug-socket timers for a tenner.

16. Contact the Carbon Trust

It costs nothing to ask the experts. If your energy bill is more than £50,000 a year, ring the Carbon Trust and they?ll send round an energy guru to give your business an energy audit. If these guys can’t lower your bills, no-one can.

17. Zero margin electricity

Tip for the future: At Cost Energy. Philanthropist Matt Stockdale made his fortune with Oven Pride, which he sold last year. His new venture will sell energy to business consumers at cost price (hence the firm’s name). Stockdale believes he can reduce the UK’s fuel-poverty problem and give the energy majors a long-overdue poke in the eye. Can he do it” Well, At Cost Energy hasn’t got an Ofgem licence yet, but Stockdale has generated a lot of buzz, appearing on GMTV and ITV News.

18. Keep in heat

Insulate. Double glaze. Exclude draughts. Fit automatic door closers. Management consultants call these tips ?low hanging fruit?. We call them the bleedin” obvious though it’s disturbing just how many firms refuse to investigate even the most obvious energy savers.

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