Owning a business is the goal of more people these days than ever before, but while owning a business is one thing, getting that business running at a profit and keeping it that way is another story entirely, and many an entrepreneur has discovered that the costs involved outweigh the profits to an alarming and often catastrophic extent. One of the most crucial – and steadily rising – costs is the energy required, so to reduce business energy costs is a top priority.
1) There are many ways to cut the cost of energy, and for a business one of the best and simplest is to get a professional assessment and advice from the provider. Most power companies in the UK offer a free or very low-cost evaluation of a customer’s energy use and will provide information and advice on how it can be lowered. In addition there are numerous non-profit sites such as moneyexpert.com that can do a general cost analysis and point out specific areas where you can save money.
2) Once you have a clear idea of what your energy costs are: conserve power wherever possible. This covers everything from turning off lights when they’re not needed, replacing old-style bulbs with energy-efficient LED and CFL lights and using the ‘sleep’ or ‘hibernate’ mode on computers not currently in use, to installing a skylight so you can get free lighting during the daytime – if the weather cooperates.
3) According to the Carbon Trust, heating accounts for about half the total energy use in most businesses. Be aware that every single degree of heating – or overheating – equals an increase in your power bill of around 8%. Make sure your thermostats are set at 19-20°C for heating, and make doors and windows are as draught-proof as possible. Remember skylights provide solar heat as well as light.
4) Not as obvious but quite important is to keep close track of expenditures. Know where your meters are and how to read them, and make a practice of recording those readings on a regular basis. This allows you to quickly identity unusual or excessive use of power, not to mention ensuring that you’re only paying for the power you actually use.
5) Another thing many business owners ignore at their own expense: there is considerable competition amongst energy suppliers, and you may be able to cut your costs significantly by changing to another company. Make the effort to find out which supplier offers the better deal for your particular needs, and if you decide to make a change be sure you know the terms and conditions of any existing contract and of the potential new one.