When you are a small business, there is no money to waste. The margins are tight, and any cost efficiency you can make is going to make a significant difference. Energy is becoming the most expensive outlay for any individual or business, and soaring gas prices are pushing the energy caps higher and hitting our pockets hard.
With this current state of affairs, now could be the time to give your small business an energy upgrade. Here we offer advice, exploring the signs that there is work to be done to ensure energy work for you.
While you might be happy with your current supplier, it is possible that there is a better deal on the market. When you have been with a supplier for a long time it is easy to drift to an expensive tariff. Checking out a price comparison site can give you instant insight into significant savings that can be made by switching. The process has been made significantly easier and you are unlikely to notice the moment that your new supplier takes responsibility for your energy.
Upgrading your facilities
As well as working with your supplier, there are many practical things you can do within your business to make it more energy efficient. The use of smart technologies might feel like a significant investment but realistically the return you will see is significant.
You can start your journey with smart technologies for free. Most suppliers are offering installation of a smart meter or energy monitor. While this metre facilitates more accurate and instant updates on your energy usage, it also gives you a tool for finding inefficiencies. Making an energy saving could be as simple as replacing the old tea urn with an up to date coffee machine. How did you find this out? When you switched on your tea urn and the smart metre revealed a significant leap in usage.
For a small business, understanding where your costs are coming from is a significant help in maintaining profitable margins.
A smart thermostat allows you to manage heating in zones throughout your building. From here, there are many ways to continue to employ smart technologies to increase the value you get from your energy. The Internet of Things is massive in larger enterprises, as they connect all resources within their buildings to a Building Management System. While this might be excessive for a small business, it does reveal some of the potential in upgrading your facilities.
Driving out inefficiencies
It is also important to look for places where old and broken down resources are costing you money. Your old boiler could be draining your bank account. Getting a service or replacing the boiler is a great way to ensure you reduce your energy bills. Newer boilers have been designed to be much more efficient than older models. While changing your boiler might cost you over a thousand pounds, it is worth considering how many months of lower bills it would take to repay this investment.
Similar savings can be made with your air conditioning unit. While aircon has become more important since the pandemic, it is an electricity hungry resource. Consequently, getting an upgrade could end up saving you money. Even getting a workman in to clean out the filters each year can have a significant impact on the efficiencies of your system.
When looking around your other resources in your workplace look for its energy efficiency certificate. The more you can use products with an A++ rating, the more money you will save.
Small changes, big deal
It might seem that this energy upgrade is going to take significant investment. As a small business, you might not have the capital to invest in smart technologies or new energy-efficient equipment. Yet, the good news is that big savings can be made with small changes. Your old bulbs, for instance, could be costing you more than you need to pay. Switching to LED bulbs can have a significant impact on your annual electricity bill. Count how many bulbs you have and multiply this by a few pence every week, the savings add up.
In reality, upgrading your energy use is about upgrading the attitude and behaviours of your team. It is likely that computers, monitors, and other appliances are left on standby rather than switched off. Such behaviour could be leeching a lot of energy and costing you money. While you can invest in smart sockets that switch off on a timer, it is more important to educate your team on the importance of making efficiencies – especially with energy at this time.
It is also worth considering whether working from a central office is required anymore. While the pandemic has caused inflation and higher energy costs, it has also changed our attitude to working from home. Upgrading your energy use might be as simple as closing the doors on the office and connecting via an internet connection. Your employees can all get tax relief on the energy they use while working from home, and you don’t have to pay bills to keep them warm.
Energy is likely a high cost on your balance sheet right now, so you can do much to increase the profitability of your small business by exploring these energy efficiencies and upgrades. Often in business, it is the small choices that end up having the most impact. Changing your supplier or even just changing the light bulbs could do much to upgrade your energy. However, we all need a much more future-oriented vision for our utilities and it might be time to invest in some of the technologies that are designed to drive efficiencies for the sake of the planet. While saving the Earth, you will also save much needed money.
Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR based in Armagh, Northern Ireland. She has previous experience as a website editor and journalist, and currently works with Power to Switch.
Energy efficiency stock image by Chones/Shutterstock