As Australia gears up for an exceptionally hot summer, the urgency to cool the workplace becomes paramount. Alongside the rising temperatures, there’s the looming threat of blackouts, adding another layer of concern. Many businesses are apprehensive about the dual challenges of maintaining a cool environment and the associated costs. Yet, by implementing practical energy-efficient measures, companies can not only prepare for the sweltering months and potential power outages but also manage energy expenses effectively.

Here are some valuable tips to make your business summer-ready!

Maintain and Upgrade to Energy Efficient Appliances.

When preparing your business for summer, it is vital to check the well-being and suitability of your workplace appliances. 

Air Conditioning – Ensure the air conditioning is in the best shape by scheduling an inspection and getting an expert service. Keeping the filters and coils clean can improve efficiency, meaning it won’t take long to reach the required temperature.  Upgrading the system can be a long-term investment, too, as newer systems are more energy efficient, saving you money in the long run. 

Efficient Lighting – Upgrading to energy-efficient alternatives like Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) can convert more electricity into light, meaning they are more energy-efficient. They also emit less heat than traditional bulbs, keeping your workspace cooler and your bills lower.  

Thermostats – Upgrading to programmable thermostats allows you to set a temperature schedule, ensuring that the AC only runs during office hours and avoiding unnecessary usage. Implementing zoning systems allows different building areas to have separate settings and prevents excessive use of the cooling systems. 

When searching for better appliances, it’s important to check for ones with Energy Star Certification, as these models consume less energy, offering long-term savings. You can install timers and motion sensors to ensure they only operate when necessary. 

Energy Saving Alternatives

Businesses can also look for cheaper solutions to avoid spending money. These include: 

Optimising Insulation – Businesses can check for air leaks in cracks, gaps and openings around windows and doors. Sealing cracks by weather-stripping or caulking can prevent cooled air from escaping, thereby maximising efficiency. Although this may reduce visibility, window films can reduce heat without obstructing natural light, thus maintaining the indoor temperature. 

Checking and Investing in better roof insulation can reduce strain on your HVAC systems by keeping the indoor temperature stable.  

Sunshading solutions – Companies can install exterior sunshades or awnings. Not only do these stop unnecessary cooling, but they also add to the aesthetic of your offices. Using blinds or curtains to block out direct sunlight can reduce indoor temperatures. 

Ventilation fans – Strategically placing exhaust fans in busy areas can improve airflow and dissipate heat, cooling down spaces without needing to use air conditioning.

Natural Solutions

When making the change to a more energy-efficient, affordable summer, sometimes the simplest of tricks can make the difference, with no costs attached.

For example, companies can harness natural ventilation by taking advantage of early mornings and late evenings to let cool air in.  Businesses can open their windows at night and close them during the day to keep the heat out. 

Other solutions include maximising natural light throughout the company. Employees can arrange workstations near windows to make the most of natural sunlight to reduce the need for artificial lighting, keeping energy consumption and costs down. 

Consider Working From Home

With growing concern about intense heatwaves and the possibility of blackouts, businesses might consider encouraging employees to work from home either some days or every day. 

Here’s why this could be a wise move:

  • Energy Conservation: By reducing the number of staff in the office, there’s less reliance on office cooling systems. This can significantly cut down on energy consumption.
  • Reduced Blackout Risk: With fewer businesses drawing heavily on the power grid during peak times, the strain on the grid decreases, potentially reducing the likelihood of blackouts in your area.
  • Employee Comfort: At home, employees often have more flexibility to create a comfortable working environment tailored to their preferences.
  • Boosted Productivity: A comfortable environment, free from the stresses of commuting in the heat, can lead to increased focus and output.

The challenges posed by an exceptionally hot summer are not unavoidable and embracing remote work can not only help businesses manage energy costs but also ensure the well-being and productivity of their teams.

Shifting Hours to Beat the Heat

In addition to considering remote work options, businesses can adapt by adjusting their operational hours during the summer months. Here’s why shifting work hours can be a strategic move:

  • Beat the Peak Heat: Adjust work schedules to start earlier and end before the hottest part of the day, reducing reliance on air conditioning during peak temperatures.
  • Employee Comfort: Employees can avoid the hottest times for commuting, enhancing their overall comfort and productivity.
  • Save on Energy Costs: Shifting to cooler hours can lower energy bills, as operating during peak heat is often more expensive.

Implementing the change will require you to:

  • Communicate the new hours clearly.
  • Offer flexibility within a range of start and end times.
  • Regularly review and adjust based on feedback and energy savings.
  • This strategy not only aids in energy conservation but also demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being and environmental responsibility.

Engage with Your Employees

Employers can promote awareness by educating their workforce about energy-saving practices like turning off lights and deactivating appliances when not in use. This may include switching off fans and air conditioning when no longer working in the room.  Companies can establish “Green Teams” that are dedicated to implementing and maintaining energy-efficient practices. These teams can create a sustainability culture in the workplace. 

Energy Saving for the Summer

By incorporating these strategies, businesses can stay cool during the summer while reducing energy consumption and costs. It’s important to remember that using multiple steps, regardless of how big or small, may equate to substantial benefits. Through teamwork, employers and employees can create a workspace that prioritises efficiency and sustainability during summer. 

At Next Business Energy, we champion the move towards a more sustainable and cost-effective future. Embrace energy efficiency, and watch your business thrive both financially and ethically.

Visit our website for more information on how you can make your business summer-ready.