When was the last time you conducted an energy audit on your business?
Energy usage accounts for a large percentage of running costs, so lowering energy consumption should be a high priority for businesses.
Conducting an energy audit is a good place to start, as it will give you a better understanding of how your business is currently using energy and where you could improve efficiencies.
This involves just a few steps that may seem simple but could end up saving you a lot of money.
Look at your current plan
Your current energy plan will give you insight into your energy usage and what it’s costing you. It’s an essential step in your content audit.
When assessing your plan, look out for annual and seasonal trends in energy usage and costs. During winter and summer, businesses use more energy on heating and cooling, so you might want to consider how to improve energy efficiencies during these periods.
Your energy rates might be something you looked at closely when you first chose a provider, but perhaps it’s been a few years since you’ve thought about them. It’s important to keep track of the rates your energy provider is charging to ensure you are getting the best prices you can.
Consider if your current rates and plan suit your business’ needs or if you should be switching to a different provider.
Check your appliances
Appliances each come with their own energy star rating that determines how energy-efficient they are.
You should review the rating for each appliance in your business. Older appliances might have poor ratings or are perhaps not as efficient as they used. It may be worthwhile replacing these with newer, more efficient models where you can.
While it may be tempting to choose less expensive appliances with lower ratings, it will save you much more in the long-run to invest in appliances with higher ratings. You may be able to check the energy efficiency of some of your appliances using the Australian Government’s Energy Rating Calculator.
Lighting may account for a significant portion of your business’ energy usage so it’s important to look at your use of lighting when doing an energy audit.
Switching over to LED lights can have an immediate impact on energy usage. They use less energy than regular lights which can help you save on your energy bills. Compared with halogens or fluorescent lights, LED lights also emit less CO2 and have a longer lifespan, so can be better for the environment and require less maintenance.
Look at where you can get rid of excessive lighting. Lamps are often used as part of interior styling in offices, but this could just be adding unnecessarily to your power bill. Remove lamps from areas that receive a good level of natural light.
Businesses should also look at energy and lighting efficiency programs within their state that provide incentives for improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Another step that could benefit your energy audit is to talk with your employees about their energy usage within the building.
Ask them about whether they remember to turn lights off when they leave a room or turn off their computers and other electrical appliances at the end of the day.
If you know that your staff are leaving lights or heating and cooling systems running all day, such information can be considered when exploring new solutions. This could be as simple as placing up signs to remind everyone to switch things off or implementing timer controls and automatic lighting systems.
Also, make sure your employees aren’t leaving electrical appliances on standby mode as this can end up amounting to a lot of energy usage over time. Adjust the settings on printers and computers so that the standby function is minimised or discourage your staff from using this function at all.
Large, empty refrigerators or freezers can have a significant impact on energy usage. Doing something as simple as filling them with bottles of water can help make them much more efficient. To help with this, you could assign an employee to make sure the office fridge and freezer are kept full on a regular basis.
Talk to your provider
Talk to your energy provider about where you could be saving on energy usage, and therefore, money. They can assess your usage and help look for better solutions more suited to your business.
Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a better plan for your energy usage.
If you’ve already identified areas you can reduce energy usage to save money, it will help you understand what to ask for and make the best decision for your business.
Performing an energy audit will help you identify energy inefficiencies within your business. Whether you’re looking to lower costs or your carbon footprint, improving your energy usage is beneficial to all Australian businesses.
For more information on getting the most out of your energy, read our blog on 6 tips for business energy efficiency.