As the cost of living in the UK continues to rise, you might be taking stock of your business’s energy usage at the moment. The good news is that there are lots of small changes you can make that can end up making a big difference to the amount of energy your business uses. Even better, these changes won’t just make an impact on your bills, they could make a positive environmental impact too.
So here are a few ideas on how you might be able to cut down on your business’s energy usage - and hopefully save a bit of money while you’re at it.
Switch off devices when you’re not using them
It might sound obvious, but leaving devices switched on when you’re not using them can be an unexpected drain on your resources. As long as an electronic device is plugged in and switched on at the socket, it will continue to slowly use electricity. These so-called ‘vampire devices’ can end up costing you up to £147 a year (if you work from home), according to recent research carried out by British Gas.
To combat these costs, experts recommend that you switch off all devices at the socket when they’re not being used and also make sure not to charge devices like laptops and mobile phones for longer than necessary.
Get ahead with a smart meter
Although many of us are still entering manual meter reads for our gas and electricity bills, switching to a smart meter comes with a whole host of benefits. Smart meters automatically record your energy usage and send those figures directly to your energy supplier saving you time and providing extremely accurate readings of your usage. This means that you should never be overcharged for electricity, as can happen through ‘user error’ if you accidentally misread your meter.
Another benefit of smart meters is that they allow you to spot trends in your energy consumption, on a day-to-basis, but also over longer periods of time and seasonally. For example, you might notice that your energy consumption is heaviest in the mornings, and as a result, review the devices your business uses in this period and investigate switching to a more energy efficient alternative.
Smart meters should be offered to every small business in the UK by their energy supplier by the end of 2025, even if you operate your business from home. If you rent a premises and your landlord handles your energy bills, you could also approach them about switching to a smart meter, if they aren’t using one already.
Review your energy related purchases
Depending on your business type, you’ll likely need a variety of electronic devices, whether that’s laptops and lamps, sewing machines or coffee grinders. Whatever equipment you need to keep your business running smoothly, it’s worth investigating how energy efficient those items are, particularly if they are a bit older. For example, if your business uses an older fridge freezer it could cost upwards of £55 per year to run, whereas a newer fridge freezer could potentially only cost around £30 per year to run. Obviously you’d need to weigh up the short term cashflow impact of purchasing new equipment, but when the time is right, it could be a great investment to reduce your business’s future energy bills.
While you’re reviewing equipment, it’s worth investigating whether or not your business could switch to using energy efficient light bulbs. There are a few different kinds out there with a variety of pros and cons, but if you work from home, lighting could be creating up to 18% of your overall energy bills, so it’s well worth looking into.
Get the whole team invested in saving energy
If you’re a one person team, then check this one off your list!
If you work with a team, then improving their awareness of energy saving best practices and encouraging them to do their part could give your efforts a far greater impact. This could involve the occasional nudge to switch off unused appliances and lights or you could go as far as to print off reminders, like this free selection of posters designed exactly for that purpose.
Looking for an easier way to track your incomings and outgoings? Try a 30-day free trial of FreeAgent’s award-winning accounting software today.
Disclaimer: The content included in this blog post is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this blog post. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.