Electricity can be a big expense for businesses, and many things contribute to your business’s overall energy consumption. Understanding what is using the most energy to run will help you make reductions in energy consumption, manage costs and improve energy efficiency within your business.
Do you know which are your business’s biggest energy users?
How to identify the biggest energy users
If you want to reduce energy usage within your business, the first step is to work out what is using the most energy to ensure that any changes you make will have the biggest impact on costs.
There are various tools you can use to help monitor energy usage. These may be able to be used to set up usage alerts, and identify areas of high energy usage, better allowing you to manage energy use and costs.
If you want to see how much energy an appliance or piece of equipment uses, check the energy rating label. This label provides information on how much energy a particular appliance will likely use over a year, with an estimated running cost. The energy efficiency of your office appliances can have a big impact on costs, so it’s worth investing in the most efficient models you can to help reduce your energy consumption.
A plug-in power meter is an affordable way to check how much electricity your appliances are using. You simply plug the meter into a power socket and then plug appliances into the power meter. This will then show the real-time energy use and cost, as well as how much power is being wasted.
Most common energy users in a business
Depending on the type of business, various things will be contributing to your overall energy usage and costs.
Some things use more electricity than others, but below we’ve listed what will typically contribute the most to your business’s electricity consumption.
It can often take a lot to properly light a business, but you may be using more lighting than you actually need.
While lighting can often be used to create a nice ambiance within the office, consider if you have excess lights that can be removed. Take advantage of natural lighting as much as possible. If you get enough light from simply opening curtains and blinds, try to avoid turning lights on if you can.
Lights can often be left on, even when no one is in the room, especially in spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens, meeting rooms and hallways. Use energy-efficient LED light bulbs and install motion sensors or timers to prevent lights being left on to help reduce your energy use.
Heating and cooling
Heating and cooling systems can be big contributors to your energy costs, especially when trying to maintain a comfortable temperature in a large space.
During winter and summer, the temperature can become extreme and people will turn on heating or cooling to remain comfortable. If left on all day, this can result in a costly electricity bill. Set your heating and cooling system to only turn on for a limited period of time, and maintain the recommended temperature.
To help cut back on this big energy user, use fans during summer, and encourage your employees to dress warmly during winter to help limit use of your heating and cooling systems. You can also close blinds and curtains to keep heat out during summer, and open them during winter to take advantage of warmth from the sun.
Kitchen appliances and refrigeration
Depending on the type of business you have, refrigeration can be a big energy user.
Make sure you don’t leave your refrigerator empty, as this can cause it to work a lot harder and use much more energy. Fill empty bottles with water and use them to fill up your fridge, as the cold mass will keep your fridge colder for longer. Set any refrigerators to the manufacturer’s recommended temperature, and if your refrigerators have become less efficient, replace them with more energy-efficient models.
Most businesses will have a kitchen space for employees. Don’t overlook your kitchen appliances. Kettles and toasters, and other small appliances often get left turned on and plugged in even when not in use. Invest in kitchen appliances that have energy-efficient features to help reduce energy consumption.
Computers and office equipment
From computers and laptops, to copiers and printers, there are a lot of pieces of equipment commonly found in an office space.
Try to avoid leaving office equipment on standby for long periods of time and remind staff to turn off their equipment at the end of each day. Limit printing where possible and invest in the most energy-efficient printer and copier you can.
Laptops use less energy than desktop computers, so consider if you can switch to using laptops and getting rid of excess desktops to reduce energy consumption. A brighter screen can use more energy, so reducing the brightness of computer monitors may also help.
Hot water systems
Depending on your business you may have different needs for a hot water system, but heating water can use up a lot of energy.
The hotter the water, the more energy used. Set the water heater temperature to an optimal level that is not too hot to help reduce costs.
Improve the efficiency of your hot water systems by ensuring your water pipes and water heater are properly insulated. If you discover any leaks, get them fixed as soon as possible to avoid them becoming a more costly problem.
Find out about our electric hotwater to heatpump replacement program to help with your business energy costs.
If you’re looking for more ways to reduce energy usage and improve energy efficiency within your business, have a look at our recent blog on how smart devices can help your business save energy.