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 businesses prepare themselves for the colder conditions.
All companies are different, and the amount of gas and electricity you use will very much depend on the industry in which you work. According to 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.
Here is how businesses can protect themselves against extortionate autumn/winter energy bills.
1) Make your office building more eco-friendly
Greenproofing your office needn’t be expensive, time consuming or disruptive, and 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 autumn/winter months.
Heating wars, meanwhile, are inevitable in the office environment. While one person will be sweating, you can bet there will be someone else sat there in their scarf. Always try to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the day, as constantly messing with the thermostat can be expensive.
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 2015.
The number of meters installed in business premises has dropped significantly since the first wave of a national rollout in the third quarter of 2012, though it’s still hoped that all UK premises will have one of these devices running by 2020.
A lot has been made of the benefits that these devices can have in homes, but it’s worth pointing out that businesses can make use of them too. Primarily, the meters will cut down on unnecessary admin, as they will send energy usage readings directly to your business energy supplier. 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.
3) Don’t be wasteful! Cut your energy use down
Here’s some useful insight into unnecessary energy consumption in offices, courtesy of the University of Cambridge:
- A PC monitor that is left on overnight can waste enough energy to print off over 500 pages
- You’d have to plant 10 trees to offset the carbon that is produced by leaving a photocopier on overnight
- Electric heaters tend to generate twice as much greenhouse gas as central heating (they’re also around three-times more expensive to run)
- Leaving a window open overnight will waste enough energy to drive a small car over 35 miles
- Just one light left on overnight over a year creates a similar amount of greenhouse gas as a car trip from Cambridge to Paris (a small department – or for our purposes, business – can save more than £1,000 a year by ensuring lights are not left on overnight)
When put into this sort of context, the statistics are mind blowing. Many of us assume that there’s no harm in leaving things switched on when they’re not in use, but it’s clear to see just how much energy and money we are wasting through sheer carelessness and laziness.
Continue reading more cost-saving tips on page two…
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