Phil Foster, CEO of Love Energy Savings warns small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over rising energy cost despite the warm season and suggests ways to improve energy efficiency and save money.
It’s time to rejoice, summer is finally here! As a nation of weekend sun worshippers, we couldn’t be happier to see the rays shining through our windows and warming up our homes. However once the weekend is over and it’s back to business, our enthusiasm for a warm temperature starts to decline. After all, who wants to be in a stuck in a stuffy office for an entire day?
Summer months may turn the heat up on energy bills
Business owners who have consistently struggled with their energy bills may think that June will be the answer to their prayers, but unfortunately the warmer months may actually increase the size of energy bills for some companies. While it certainly does cost a large amount to have the heating running all of the time during the winter months, the addition of air conditioning throughout summer can also add a substantial chunk to your overall energy bills.
Air conditioning can increase a building’s overall energy consumption by 100%, according to the Carbon Trust. It takes up to ten units of electricity to produce just one unit of compressed air, when you consider how many air conditioning vents you have in an average sized office that operates at a typical 40 hour week, you can understand how summer energy bills rise so steeply.
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Employee temperature wars can also cause energy bills to rise. Whatever time of the year it may be, there will always be some people who insist on having the heating on and others who are desperate to open all of the windows. This constant cooling and warming to meet employee demand can equate to a chaotic general temperature, as well as causing your energy bills to soar. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has estimated that electricity prices will rise by almost 30% for SMEs over the next five years, so the time has come to put our bad summer energy habits to bed.
In addition to this, brightly shining sun beaming into the office may seem pleasant at first but after spending an hour squinting at your computer screen it will be time to pull down the blinds and turn the lights on. Research by DECC revealed that lighting can create up to 40% of a business’ energy consumption, so it is crucial to keep these costs to a minimum.
Don’t take a vacation from being energy efficient
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has estimated that SMEs could reduce their energy bills by 18-25% by installing energy efficient measures around the office. But energy management is full-time, year-round job, which businesses should never take a break from.
Staff annual leave during the summer months means that everyone in the business should be even more vigilant when it comes to being energy efficient. While there may be less people in the office, it only takes a few pieces of equipment to be left on for a couple of weeks while people are away to significantly affect the cost of your energy bills.
It’s still not too late to transform your bad energy habits. Becoming more energy efficient doesn’t have to cost your business an arm and a leg, there are plenty of simple and cost effective strategies that can reduce your energy consumption.
Simple steps for saving money
1) To reduce the cost of your air conditioning, ensure that it is switched off in rooms that aren’t being used, for example meeting rooms and the kitchen.
2) Decide whether you are going to open windows or use the air conditioning to cool the room, never use both as these will waste energy.
3) Many systems operate with a controlled timer, so be sure to program the timer so that it doesn’t operate during weekends, bank holidays and evenings when employees are out of the workspace.
4) Utilise natural light by rearranging your office so that it doesn’t interfere with computer screens or people’s eyeline. If this is unavoidable, install sensored lights that are triggered by movement so that the lights will only switch on when people are working in the space.
For smaller businesses the DECC has released a guide for SMEs to enhance their energy efficiency. The report claims that energy prices are expected to rise by 30% over the next five years with a third of firms in the UK claiming it is the cost of energy which is a key barrier for growth. Despite this, many businesses are still falling into the trap of paying overly expensive energy tariffs.
New regulations mean that it now only takes six weeks to switch suppliers and energy price comparison sites, such as Love Energy Savings, can make the switching process even simpler. A business would only need to take 10 minutes out of their day to enter their postcode and estimated energy consumption for the best deal to be highlighted to them.
By implementing energy saving actions as soon as possible businesses could start saving money today. It is important that energy management is not pushed down to the bottom of the to-do list but starts to become a more important part of cash-flow and business management.
Phil Foster is the CEO of Love Energy Savings. Phil has always had a strong desire to support UK SMEs, helping them to make much needed savings on their energy bills. With that in mind, he created a business energy comparison service to help business owners not only improve their profits, but also save valuable time in the process of comparing and switching suppliers. Advocating energy efficiency and awareness of energy usage, alongside tariff comparison, he is committed to helping SMEs save money so they can continue to grow.
Photo: oatsy40 via flickr
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