As Australia moves further into summer, it’s time for businesses to start thinking about how this may impact energy usage and costs.
During summer months there is often a rise in demand for energy, with many businesses and households running air-conditioning at the same times. This increase in demand may result in higher energy costs.
Luckily, there are some things you can do that may help lower your business’ energy costs over summer.
Assess your cooling system
For a cooling system to work efficiently, it needs to receive regular maintenance and cleaning. Especially with forced air cooling systems, it’s vital that its filters are routinely cleaned and replaced, as a dirty or clogged filter will reduce the system’s efficiency.
Look at the energy rating on your air conditioning to find out how efficient it is. If your system is quite old or does not have a good energy rating, you may want to consider updating it with a more energy-efficient system.
Using ceiling or floor fans in conjunction with air conditioning systems can also help you reduce costs. While fans may not be sufficient enough on their own, they use a lot less energy than air conditioning units. Using them with a cooling system means you may be able to raise the temperature of the air con and use less power while remaining cool.
Set your thermostat
As the temperature outside rises, it is hard to resist the temptation to blast the air-con on the coldest possible setting. However, this is one of the surest ways to see your energy bills increase.
Try to keep your thermostat adjusted to a temperature that is just cool enough for people to be comfortable. As a guide, somewhere between 22 and 24 degrees Celsius is where you should set the thermostat. Be aware, that for every single degree of cooling you can do without, you’re saving on your energy bill.
Turn your air-conditioning off when you don’t need it, don’t leave it running all day. If you’re able to, set a timer so that it will turn off automatically to ensure it does not remain on for too long. Also if possible, don’t waste energy cooling rooms that are rarely used, only cool the areas that need it.
Keeping doors and windows closed may also help minimise the cold air that is lost.
Consider your lighting
During the summer, take advantage of natural sunlight. Most days will be light enough that you shouldn’t need to have lights on during the day unless your building has insufficient windows to provide enough natural light.
Lighting can also produce a level of heat, which can add to your indoor temperature. Switching to energy-efficient lighting, such as LED light bulbs can help reduce energy usage, and they also produce less heat than regular incandescent bulbs.
In many offices, it is common to leave lights on in shared areas, such as the kitchen, bathrooms and meeting rooms, even when not in use. Try to get your staff in the habit of turning lights off when they leave a room or invest in sensor lighting to help cut down on wasted energy.
For more information on ways your business can save on energy usage, read our blog on improving energy efficiency in the workplace following COVID-19.