Six key devices to help you save money on running costs

Looking for clever ways to reduce your outgoings? Find out how these six key devices can help you save money on running costs.

Have you ever heard the phrase energy phantoms or even energy vampires? While they sound like the making of a horror film, these phantoms and vampires are the devices you have plugged in that are sucking energy even though you are not actively using them.

While we are partly talking about those devices left on standby, some just plugged in and are not being used. The worst offenders in sucking at your energy supply are your smartphone chargers, but even the lowly toaster is stealing a little energy the whole time it is plugged in.

What does this mean for small business owners? It means your premises are costing you money every day, even when you don’t step through the door. In turn, there is an opportunity to invest in some smart devices that will end up saving you money. 

Here we look at six of the best devices to install in your business. When marginal gains matter, these are a vital part of your money-saving strategy.

1) Smart power strips

The phantom or vampire electricity usage in your building may account for 15% of your utility bills. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in a smart power strip, which switches off electricity to devices. Have a look around your business to where you have computer monitors, lamps, smartphone plus, and more plugged in, and use a smart power strip to manage the energy to these devices.

2) Smart thermostats

Honing the temperature in your building is an important way to manage your utility bill. A single degree in temperature can make a significant impact. Whether it is making the building warmer or cooler, the management of the climate costs a lot.

So a device that allows you to control this temperature precisely – and some that even learn your needs – can make a big difference. Energy-saving specialists, such as Energy Rates in the US, claim this can save between 10 and 25% on your energy costs.

3) Smart lighting

There are two ways smart lighting can save you money. First, you can program devices that will automatically turn off when the area is not in use. The second is that they use LED bulbs, which are far more energy-efficient and last longer than older bulbs. Count the number of bulbs in your business and multiply it by £2. Your answer is how much money you will save each year because you are using LED bulbs.

The best thing about smart lighting is that they come with a burglar deterrent. Many insurance companies now realise the benefits of a smart light that switches on at random points and will offer insurance reductions.

4) Smart window coverings

You might think that voice-activated blinds are a luxury. However, solar-powered smart blinds can help you control the temperature in a room and the amount of energy used to light an area.

Surveys suggest that a smart window covering could save you between 11% and 20% on your space heating and cooling alone. Closing the blind rather than upping the air conditioning can have this much impact on your utility costs.

5) All-in-one smart controls

Rather than going around your commercial buildings adding devices here and there, you may want to take advantage of the Internet of Things and connect all your smart devices to a single system that can be controlled through your phone or tablet. You could control the heating and lighting on the way to work. You can make sure the security system is enabled from your home. 

Part of this all-in-one system could be an integrated smart security system that can save you energy and help to lower your insurance premiums. There are security providers now that offer a single package, including motion detectors and facial recognition in real-time. A single system will mean less drain on your energy but will also secure your infrastructure too.

6) A smart investment

It is easy to see these smart devices as a drain on your resources. The initial investment might feel prohibitive. However, the return on investment of these smart devices over a year makes financial sense. Start with small purchases, such as smart power strips and monitor the impact. You will soon find yourself committed to the Internet of Things!

Aodhan O’Donnell is the founder of Power to Switch, a free to use, independent price comparison service for home energy in Ireland. 

Photo by Dan LeFebvre