11 Ways Small Businesses Can Cut Energy Costs

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Whether your organisation is a large multinational or a small startup, keeping your operating costs low is key to maximising profit. Many costs are hard to control but cutting your electricity costs can be really easy. Here’s 11 ways you can reduce them:

1. Switch off equipment when not in use

Many businesses are open for 40-50 hours a week, but use power for 168 hours (hours in a week). That’s a lot of wasted power. Make sure that you switch off all printers, equipment, computers lights, air conditioners, coffee vending machines overnight and on weekends. They continue to draw power even if they are plugged in.

2. Heating and Cooling

Set your thermostat at 20 degrees. In Winter, every degree above 20 can add as much at 10 per cent to your heating bill. Avoid turning on the air conditioner or heater when the weather is relatively pleasant. If you have windows, leaving them open will let you have some fresh air, and also have a major impact on the company’s power bills.

3. Review your Network Costs

Most businesses believe that network charges are simply pass-through charges that they cannot effect. Choice Energy find up to 3 in 10 large market businesses are on the wrong network tariff due to their usage patterns reflecting a different demand profile. Getting this wrong is costly as this can be the biggest part of the bill.

4. Allow employees to work from home one day a week

Give your employees an option to work from home. With the ‘internet of things’ employees can connect to an office network safely and securely. With less employees in the office, less power is used. Working one day a week from home for employees also reduces their commuting cost and time by 20 per cent.

5. Power Factor

Have you checked your power factor lately? If your power factor is poor you can be overpaying for your kVA demand as much as 30 per cent!

6. Turn on your light and equipment at different times

Have you heard of ‘15 Minute Interval data’? Well, the 15 minutes when you use the most power is typically how your network provider calculates how much to charge you for your demand. If you’re a school, retail outlet or manufacturing business and you turn your lights or equipment on at the same time, you are probably overpaying for your demand. Try and turn on your lights and equipment in 16 minute intervals. For example: 25 per cent of your lights or equipment at 7:30am, 25 per cent of your lights or equipment at 7:46am, 25 per cent of your lights or equipment at 8:02am,  25 per cent of your lights or equipment at 8:18am

This can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Use timers and energy management software if you want to take the next step.

7. Use an Energy Broker

Many brokers wont charge you a cent to find you a better deal for your electricity as they’re remunerated by the retailer who wins your business. It is common to use a mortgage broker to find the best mortgage, so engage an expert to help with your energy. Even if they have fees, most people would pay hundreds of dollars to save thousands of dollars.

8. Upgrade all outdated equipment with energy star appliances

If your old heater or air conditioner isn’t efficient, it could draw additional power costing your business money. Look out for energy star ratings.

9. Commercial Solar

Did you know your business may be able to get a solar system without any out-of- pocket expense? If you use the right company, you can often use government grants, coupled with creative cap-ex and non cap-ex finance options, where your savings on electricity can go towards paying the system off. Solar energy is free, clean and renewable.

10. Update your lighting

With government efficiency schemes, often LED upgrades can be free with only installation costs. Return on investment for lighting can be less than a year. Replace old incandescent and halogen light globes with energy-efficient globes which save power and last longer.

11. Involve your employees

By involving your whole team in cost cutting idea creation, they will feel part of your solutions. You never know, they may turn this list from 11 to 20 tips!

Chris Dean is Managing Director of Choice Energy, an enthusiastic team of energy consultants with one goal: to have fun cutting energy costs and saving Aussie Businesses money.

Chris Dean is Managing Director of Choice Energy, an enthusiastic team of energy consultants with one goal: to have fun cutting energy costs and saving Aussie Businesses money.