So many businesses are looking for ways to reduce their long-term running costs as well as reducing environmental impact. As many of us are starting to become more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases, research has shown that a third of customers are choosing to buy from businesses that are actively and publicly reducing their impact on the environment.
If you are a business that is keen to become greener, as energy experts, we want to offer some great tips to get you started. Some can be much easier and more costs effective than you think.
- Reduce your energy consumption
On average buildings waste 40% of the energy they consume – now that’s a lot and think about how much that equates to on your energy bill. Ways to make savings are:
- Switching to LED lighting is by far one of the most cost-effective energy-saving measures currently, with savings up to 80% and an attractive return on investment (ROI)! As LED lighting lasts so much longer (up to 50,000 hours), this means you will be saving on both maintenance costs as well as reducing on your waste.
- Insulating walls and roofs to prevent heat loss and aid cooling in summer.
- Implement turning off equipment when not in use (and at the end of the day) rather than leaving equipment on standby i.e. computers. Turning off computers overnight can save up to 75% of their energy costs! A photocopier left on overnight uses the same energy as printing 5,000 A4 sheets!
- Service your heating appliances as those running ineffectively can cost up to 30% more to run.
- Upgrade any old equipment that is energy-intensive to more energy-efficient products.
- Can you reduce, reuse, recycle to minimise waste?
Waste can be a costly expense for a business, both on the bottom line and disposal costs so it makes sense to reduce waste, reuse whatever you can and then recycle as much as possible. Sending waste to landfill is costly (currently just over £90 per tonne) and no doubt will become even more so in the future to encourage less wastage. Here are some ideas to reduce waste:
- Check and see if you have enough recycling points and that they are accessible to encourage use.
- Encourage your staff to recycle and create awareness by promoting what can be recycled.
- Check if you have the right recycling contracts in place to recycle what you need to.
- Create a paperless working environment – replace paper-based systems, digitise forms, reduce handouts in meetings and use projectors and laptops instead.
- Try and use recycled paper products.
- Set your printers to print double-sided to reduce paper wastage and purchasing costs.
- Be smarter
Technology can offer many means of support in reducing your energy, these include:
- Having smart controls/technology for lighting and heating can reduce the need for human intervention. A good example of this is having motion sensors on your lighting, the lights will turn on when someone is using the space, this will reduce the costs of lighting being left on unnecessarily.
- Use programmers to set times for heating and ensure that they run only when needed.
- Setting the heating/air conditioning 1 degree lower in winter or warmer in summer (if you have air conditioning) can reduce their energy costs by up to 10%.
- Energy monitoring using either a smart meter or a half-hourly meter can result in finding ways to reduce consumption through and spotting any anomalies and areas of wastage.
- Buy greener energy
There are energy providers that offer energy from a greener source:
- Review your energy contracts. Search for an energy provider that can offer you both financial savings and electricity that is 100% renewable and reap the benefit of low bills and cleaner energy.
- Try and explore green gas if possible when you review your energy contracts, it may not be a big saver (if any) but, it could really help your credentials and advancements in green gas development. This will increase its cost-effectiveness to make it more viable in the future.
- Could you generate your own energy?
Generating your own energy or heat could save you money and help the sustainability of your business. You can invest in:
- Solar PV is the most widely suitable technology as many businesses have roof space that could be utilised.
- Wind turbines are probably less feasible for most businesses, but they can offer a good generation of energy throughout the year and day.
- Biomass boilers to produce heating and hot water can be a viable option for many businesses if your premises allow for it.
- Flexible and smart working
Many businesses are already taking advantage of more flexible working for their staff as a staff incentive, this can also help you reduce your environmental impact. Some suggestions are:
- Allowing staff to work from home gives them the benefit of flexibility and as a business, you may reduce overhead costs and reducing transport emissions.
- Fewer car journeys will reduce the wider impact that your business has on the environment. It can also elevate office space and parking.
- Use technology to hold virtual meetings, this will reduce the number of meetings where staff need to travel. This will also reduce the number of mileage claims and reduce expenses budgets too.
- Put in place a car-sharing scheme and give sharers preferential parking or other incentives to encourage fewer vehicles travelling to your business. This works for both commuting and work trips.
- Set up a cycle to work scheme to encourage those who live locally to cycle instead of drive.
- More efficient vehicles
Can you reduce your fleet emissions and fuel consumption? Here are some ideas:
- Compare vehicles to ensure that you get the lowest emission vehicles possible which will also cost you less to run.
- When reviewing your fleet, assess whether electric vehicles (EVs) or hybrid vehicles could be an option as they have become more popular, affordable and viable as an alternative for many businesses.
- Install EV charging points to help staff and customers with their own EV charging.
- EVs and charging points are a very visual way of showing you are reducing your environmental impact as well as demonstrating you are a progressive and responsible business.
- Some incentives and support may be available to help with EV charging points.
- Also, if you combine EVs with solar PV, you could charge your vehicles for free.
- Create environment champions
Harnessing the enthusiasm or support of your staff in this journey to a greener business is an essential element as they can be your champions in your business to ensure that wastage (physical and energy) is reduced and to identify other initiatives or opportunities. This helps with:
- Creating awareness with staff and getting them to bring ideas.
- Introduce some healthy competition between teams or sites on reducing wastage.
- They can be your eyes and ears to feedback on what works and what doesn’t as well as share best practice and new ideas.
- And sharing the workload makes it easier for everyone.
- Start your greener journey, contact us:
Talk to us about funding options and Tax Relief on upgrading your lighting to LED.