Five ways you can save money over winter in your business

We live in financially challenging times, and we need to save money where they can. Here are five ways you can save money over winter in your business.

The furlough scheme has ended, and government support is lifting. And while restrictions on movement and mixing may help some businesses, for others, it means welcoming people back into a central workplace and all the costs this entails.

 While the energy bill is only one cost of many this winter, rising prices mean it is likely to be a significant one. When trying to save money, there are few instances when one action will make a dramatic difference. Your aim will be to make small incremental changes and see a total saving worth the effort. 

Here we explore five minor changes, which will save money for your business this winter if done consistently.

1) Switch suppliers

Energy costs have increased significantly throughout the year and this is likely to continue into 2022. The number of deals available in the market have decreased and many are at much higher rates. So it is important to understand what tariff and deal you are currently on…is it a discount deal, variable or fixed rate…perhaps you are out of contract.

It is only by knowing your current deal and cost can you consider if there are better offers available. It may be the case that you could save by switching or it may be best to sit tight until prices start to come down.

2) Undertake an energy audit

To make meaningful changes, you need to know where your business is using most of your energy. Using your smart meter and some clever investigative skills, you can work out what is costing you the most and make changes in this part of your facilities. 

3) Stop the standby

What might surprise you about an energy audit is that your electricity use is still significant overnight. A single desktop computer left on standby over a year will cost £10. If you are a company with more than 100 computers, you can see how this cost quickly adds up. Then, consider the other equipment you leave plugged in and waiting for your return; you have an immediate action that brings savings.

If you are concerned that you have been telling staff to do this for years and with little behaviour change, you might want to invest in smart sockets. These sockets turn off the electricity to the items at a programmable time. By buying these switches, you take the responsibility away from fallible human beings.

4) Change your bulbs

Changing your bulbs to LED lights might cost you more upfront, but you will save money in two ways. LED bulbs use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs also last on average 10,000 hours rather1000 hours. Therefore, over the lifetime of the bulbs, you will save a lot on your bills – think 2p per bulb per month and multiply that by the number of lights you have in your business.

5) Turn your thermostat down

Consider this cycle. You are conscious of your bills, so you do not turn the heating on. You are delighted at the energy savings, but your staff are cold, and their productivity has decreased. So, in an attempt to appease your employees quickly, you whack your thermostat up to full and blast the work area with heat. Happy employees but an astronomical bill.

As an alternative, try keeping the work area at a consistent temperature. You can save money by taking that consistent temperature down just 1 degree. We normally go for 21 or 22 degrees on our thermostat, but 19 or 20 is warm enough and could save you, according to the Energy Savings Trust, close to a hundred pounds a year on a standard home. For businesses, depending on the size of your premises, you can significantly expand these savings.

To make sure that this lower temperature is enough, be sure to go around and seal up drafts. Good insulation will make the most of the heat you produce, with little waste.

Small changes can help you through tough times

We live in tough times. Being in business today requires much resilience. Where the margins are small, we need to make savings wherever we can, and energy-saving is one of those items on the list where it is easy to be proactive.

Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR based in Armagh, Northern Ireland. She has previous experience as a website editor and journalist, and currently works with Power to Switch.

Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos