Cutting down on electricity usage benefits businesses in two ways: not only will your monthly outgoings be reduced, but you’ll be reducing your impact on the environment. As consumers and other businesses increasingly consider environmental credentials when making choices, companies that can’t show a commitment to simple energy-saving measures may find potential and current clients start to look elsewhere. These five easy tips will help cut your energy bills quickly and efficiently.

Use energy efficient bulbs

Incandescent bulbs, which produce light by heating a metal filament wire, have largely been superseded. The most popular alternative is compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), which offer reduced energy usage and a longer rated life. Although the initial outlay is greater, CFLs are much less costly over the lifetime of the bulb. But while CFLs are a common choice and have grown in popularity over the last few years, they are less efficient than LEDs that offer a number of benefits:
  • LED lamps consume between 1 and 3 watts. This means they are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, CFLs and halogen lamps. Switching to LEDs can in some cases yield a 94.5 percent saving
  • LEDs do not get hot so very little energy is wasted as heat
  • LEDs convert a higher percentage of energy into light within the visible spectrum, meaning less power is required to produce the same amount of usable light. LEDs don’t produce ultraviolet or infrared rays which can’t be seen by humans
  • The lifetime of an LED lamp is around 50,000 hours, meaning you won’t need to replace the bulb for around 12 years. Replacement bulb costs are reduced, as are the man-hours required to change them
  • LEDs contain no toxic materials, so the manufacturing process is cleaner than other bulbs. Fluorescent lamps, for example, require the use of mercury. LEDs can more easily be recycled at the end of their life, making them better for the environment
Sophy Fearnley-Whittingsall of Good Energy told "Saving energy is just as important as sourcing your energy sustainably - and for businesses it can directly impact the bottom line. One of the easiest and most cost-effective changes a business can make is to switch to more energy efficient lightbulbs."

Promote workforce energy-efficiency

Human decisions, such as leaving monitors on overnight, contribute significantly to energy bills. Promoting best practice is an easy way to increase the energy efficiency of your business at a very limited cost. In addition to turning monitors off overnight, employees should be encouraged to turn off mobile phone chargers when not in use, not leave lights on in rooms they have vacated, and only boil the water they need when making a hot drink.

Minimise artificial lighting

Open blinds and curtains to maximise your use of natural light. This will be more effective in summer when we benefit from longer daylight hours. If you need artificial lighting, try and concentrate it only on the areas you need e.g. use a desk lamp if it’s just you in the office. These measures require proactive staff; if you want to automate the process you may wish to consider installing automatic sensors to turn lights off when no-one needs them.

Only print what you need

Print costs can often be high, particularly for smaller companies that use consumer or semi-professional devices. Make sure all staff only print what they need. Emails are commonly printed, and these often contain a colour-heavy logo which requires a lot of energy to print. All printing for internal use should be in grayscale unless the job requires colour e.g. proofing a graphic for use on a website.

Reduce heating costs

According to The Carbon Trust, turning down the thermostat by just one degree can cut your heating bill by around eight percent a year. Try to keep your thermostat at 19 degrees; if employees are cold encourage them to wear warmer clothing before turning on the heating. Leave enough room round radiators to ensure efficient circulation and ensure radiators are turned off in unused areas such as storage facilities. You should ensure your heating equipment is serviced regularly; poor performance can add to your bills.