With the expectation of large increases in energy prices, we have looked for advice and guidance on how best our clients can reduce their energy usage, and so their costs.
Heating is usually the most significant energy cost in a workplace, accounting for up to 40% of energy use in a non-domestic building. Preventing heat loss through topping up insulation and blocking draughts can significantly reduce heating costs, so it’s a good place to start improving energy efficiency. Simple things to look out for include:
- Make a calendar reminder to set timers to the right date and time, and remember to include daylight savings. Make sure you consider weekends and bank holidays when setting controls.
- Ensure that heaters and boilers are serviced regularly.
- Ensure thermostats are set correctly. Set the heating in offices to 19°C and cooling at 24°C or higher. The temperature in corridors, storerooms and areas of higher physical activity can be set lower than 19°C.
- Ensure air conditioning is turned off in meeting rooms when people leave. Air conditioning in IT server rooms should be set as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Ensure that radiators are free from obstructions.
- Check that employee desks aren’t too close or too far from radiators and air conditioning.
- Identify sources of draughts and fit appropriate draught proofing.
- Ensure windows are not opened when the heating is on!
Clearly, the longer that lights are switched on, the more energy will be used. Often meeting rooms, storage areas and corridors are lit unnecessarily – brief staff to switch off these lights when leaving rooms. It’s a myth that turning lights off and back on uses more energy than leaving them on all the time. When looking at efficient lighting in your business, consider the following:
- Allow natural light in – move anything that blocks windows. Natural light not only costs nothing – it is better for people’s wellbeing.
- Are all your lights LEDs and energy efficient?
- Is continuous lighting needed in certain spaces? If so, consider switching to motion sensor lights.
- Are staff aware of their responsibility to turn off lights? Think about how you can encourage them to turn off lights when they leave a room.
- Consider lighter paint colours or reflective paint.
- Consider vertical window blinds, which let in more light than horizontal ones when open or closed.
- Install a timer switch to ensure lighting is switched off outside working hours.
Office and work equipment can be high energy users. If a piece of equipment isn’t being used, it should be switched off; leaving equipment on standby wastes energy. There are a few things you can do to avoid unnecessary energy use:
- Switch from desktop computers to laptops, as laptops use less energy.
- Encourage staff to turn off monitors and computers at the plug when they leave and avoid standby.
- Optimise the brightness of monitors.
- Activate power saving settings on computers and laptops for all staff.
- Set printers to automatically power down.
- Ensure communal equipment is turned off at the end of the day.
Kitchen equipment can often be overlooked and is an easy place to make energy savings.
- Are the seals on refrigerated areas in good condition?
- Do you have an energy-rated fridge/freezer?
- Are kettles used to only boil the water that’s needed?
- Have you replaced microwaves/kettles with more energy efficient ones recently?
Production and manufacturing equipment are vital to operations, however older and poorly maintained equipment could be costing you. Here are some tips that will help with energy efficiency:
- Switch off motors during breaks and lunch.
- Turn off all machines such as fans, pumps and conveyors at the end of the day.
- Label switches correctly so staff know which operating machinery they can turn off and how to do it correctly.
- Optimise the speed of equipment to save up to half its energy consumption.
- Listen for leaks in compressed air pipes.
- Change air filters regularly.
- For refrigeration to work efficiently, air needs to circulate both inside and out. Here are some simple measures to ensure your refrigeration units work as efficiently as possible:
- Keep doors closed.
- Switch off lights inside cooled spaces when not needed.
- Don’t overfill refrigeration units.
- Defrost freezers regularly.
- Repair door seals.
- Make sure there is space around refrigeration unit vents to allow air to be drawn in and expelled.