Energy can be a significant cost for small businesses. A focus on efficiency and using less energy to achieve the same outcomes and reducing costs is therefore essential.
Energy Policy WA, an agency providing advice to help the WA government to make well-informed decisions about energy services has provided the following tips to boost the energy efficiency of your business.
A range of technology is available to help support your business to become more energy efficient. Use timers to switches appliances and devices off when you don’t need to run them, or make turning them on and off part of your daily routine. Motion sensors can be used on lights in areas that are used infrequently, so you don’t need to rely on your customers or staff switching them off.
Review your refrigeration
Fridges take up a lot of energy.
- Review your stock levels to see whether you can consolidate goods to allow you to turn off extra fridges.
- Check your fridges’ seals regularly to see whether they are keeping cold air in or wasting power.
Adjust your thermostat
Thermostats should be adjusted to suit the season.
- 21˚C to 25˚C is a good room temperature range in summer; raising it just a degree or two can bring energy savings.
- 18˚C to 20˚C is a recommended range for winter, with lower temperatures drawing less power.
Insulating ceilings or applying reflective coatings to external surfaces can also cut down the amount of energy needed to keep your premises comfortable, and reduce your reliance on heating and cooling appliances.
Upgrade appliances and lights
The efficiency of each appliance in your business makes a big difference to the overall amount of power you use. Upgrading underperforming items to more efficient ones may have a significant up-front cost, but can reduce your energy use in the long term. Lighting is one of the easiest changes to make, by switching to the lowest wattage globes suitable for your needs and ensuring you are using energy efficient bulbs.
Review your use
Take the time to understand how much power you use and when you use it. There are many monitoring products and apps available to help track your energy use, including for individual appliances so you can consider upgrading to more efficient models. Review your power bills regularly, comparing them to the same time the year before to understand any changes.
Check you are getting the best deal
Small businesses can be supplied power in several ways:
- Directly from an electricity retailer — if you use more than 50 megawatts of electricity in a year you can choose between retailers to find the best deal. If you use less than 50 megawatts per annum with Synergy, ask about alternative pricing options if you use a lot of power overnight or on the weekends.
- As part of your rental agreement — if your power bills are unexpectedly high after entering into a rental agreement, consider negotiating with your landlord to have your rates reviewed. Note that your rental arrangements could also affect your access to solar or other alternative energy sources.
Installing solar panels as an alternative to using electricity from the grid may give you access to lower cost power. If your business is unable to install or make use of your own solar panels, look for other arrangements where you don’t own the panels (or battery) but pay a lower rate for the power they produce.
You can also think about how to reduce your use by downsizing your office space or allowing staff to work remotely.
Making changes to save money on power will also mean you are benefiting the environment. Share your story with your customers, suppliers and partners to show what you are doing to make your business greener.
- Energy Policy WA tips for reducing your power bills.
- The Business Energy Efficiency Advice (BEAP) program is funded by the Australian Government to provide energy efficiency advice to small businesses. They offer individual energy efficiency consultation for businesses with between six and 20 staff.