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Heating your workplace is essential during the colder months, but you could save on the cost by taking some simple steps to increase efficiency and eliminate unnecessary waste, and with some investment, you can save even more.
Five steps to a warmer workplace for less
A few no-cost and low-cost measures can make a big difference to both comfort and energy consumption:
1. For those with centrally-controlled heating system…
…check that it’s set to come on and go off at appropriate times for the working day, and that these are amended once the clocks go forward or back. Also check that you are not heating your premises on days it’s unoccupied – for example at weekends.
2. Check temperature settings
The optimum setting for most workplaces is 19°C. For labourintensive activities this can be reduced to 16°C, and for sedentary work (ie office work), you may need to increase it to about 20°C. Every 1°C above the ideal temperature could mean you are using up to eight per cent more energy than necessary, so simply adjusting your thermostat could save you money.
3. Only heat occupied areas
A walk around your premises to switch off radiators or turn down room thermostats in areas that aren’t in common use – for example in storage areas or empty offices – can help to ensure you’re not wasting money on heating unnecessarily.
4. Fitting insulation or reflective strips behind radiators
This saves on energy wastage, especially if they are fitted on external walls or next to unheated areas. This can save up to 90 per cent of the energy that would otherwise be wasted through the wall.
5. Aim to ensure doors and windows are kept shut
Particularly when space heating is in use, particularly between heated and unheated areas.
Insulate to save up to 75 per cent
When you consider that up to 25 per cent of heat lost from a building is through the roof, with a further 35 per cent leaking out via walls and 15 per cent escaping through gaps in draughty doors and windows, you can begin to see the business case for investing in insulation. Roof insulation, cavity walls or dry-lining solid walls and sealing up gaps where heat can escape can produce significant savings on energy costs, as well as making your working environment warmer. Zero-interest loans are available through the Carbon Trust, while the government’s Green Deal initiative finances the cost of energy efficiency improvements, with the money recouped via the savings then made.
Running at the right temperature
However you heat water for your business, overheating or storing it in poorly-insulated cylinders can mean it costs more and wastes energy. Check the temperature and adjust your water thermostat where possible – for every 1°C reduction, your energy costs could drop by up to 15 per cent. 60°C is usually optimum unless you need hotter water for catering or specific commercial purposes. As with your space heating controls, ensure your water heating timer is set to meet your requirements and not for times or days when hot water isn’t required. Finally, if hot water is stored in a cylinder, lagging this can reduce heat loss. And aim to get your boiler regularly serviced as this will help to increase efficiency. If it’s very old, it may be worth considering an upgrade as this is likely to dramatically cut running costs.
More information on energy saving
Whatever business you’re in, there could be plenty of opportunities to make savings by reducing energy costs.
Source for energy-saving figures: The Carbon Trust, September 2012
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