With winter just around the corner, business owners need to be thinking about ways to save energy during the cold season.
Heating a building in winter can quickly become very expensive, and taking steps to reduce energy usage can help you save money on your energy bills during the colder months.
It can be a good idea to start with an audit to identify where you may be able to cut energy costs during winter
Conducting an energy audit can help you find energy inefficiencies, identify opportunities to cut energy costs and give you an action plan for saving energy this winter
You can perform the assessment yourself, or if you’re not sure where to start or what to look at you can get a professional to do an audit of your business energy.
While you want to ensure your employees feel comfortable, you also want to avoid excessive heating during winter.
Having the right thermostat installed can help you make sure you’re only using heating when it’s necessary.
Set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, and put it on a timer so it is only on for set times of the day, and turns off at the end of the day. Every degree you reduce heat can save up to 10 per cent on your energy use.
You may not need to heat your workplace after-hours or on weekends. A programmable thermostat ensures heating is only on when needed.
Try to avoid having the heating on all day and limit use of heating to off-peak hours to keep your energy costs as low as possible.
Only heat the rooms in use
Heating and cooling can account for up to 40 per cent of your energy and if you’re heating an entire building it can be extremely expensive.
Heating less space, means less energy used, so closing off areas not in use may help reduce wasted heat.
Subdivide areas where possible and keep doors and windows closed to maintain a comfortable temperature and keep the heat localised where you need it.
Check for air leaks
If cold air is getting in, then it means hot air is getting out and being wasted. Making your building airtight can help you lower energy costs. Check for air leaks in doorways and windows where your heating may be escaping.
Repair any air leaks, as even small, unnoticeable drafts can result in substantial heat loss.
A portion of a building’s heating energy is often lost through windows. Having proper window coverings in place can act as insulators and reduce heat loss. However, keep in mind that you want to take advantage of natural lighting where possible during winter, so for any sun facing windows keep blinds and drapes open to bring in the heat from the sun.
Additional changes you can make in winter
Getting your heating regularly maintained ensures it will work as efficiently as possible. It’s important to change the filters on heating systems regularly, as clogged filters slow down the airflow and reduce the efficiency of your heating.
As well as heating, your use of lighting can also increase during winter as the days are shorter and darker. Lights can often get left on for longer periods of time, without much thought as to how much energy they use up. Try to avoid putting on all the lights at the start of the day, and only switch on the ones you need, when you really need them. Update your lights with more efficient LED bulbs and remind everyone to turn off lights when they leave a room or at the end of the day.
Many businesses see an increase in their energy bills during winter, but there are some actions you can take to reduce this. For more tips on how to lower your energy consumption, check out our blog on future-proofing your business energy.