Energy efficiency tips for businesses impacted by uncertain times
As Australian businesses of all sizes change and adapt to the evolving challenges, managing unnecessary energy usage is vital to improving energy efficiency in your business.
Lighting can account for a high portion of electricity bills and for some businesses it can be as high as 50%. Here are some quick ways to help reduce the amount of energy you use to light your business:
- Switch to LED lighting: Light Emitting Diode (LED) globes could reduce your energy usage on lights by up to 50%. Swap out old lights throughout your business’s premises with more efficient LED globes. There are government rebate schemes in NSW, VIC and SA, which can assist.
- Switch off lights: Lighting a room you’re not using is a waste of energy. Encourage your staff to switch off the lights every time they exit a room or leave for the day. Add ‘switch off’ stickers near light switches and building exits.
- Install motion detectors and timers for lighting to help make sure the lights only come on when they’re needed.
- Natural light is best: Where possible, open blinds and curtains in the morning and light your business up naturally – and for free. You can also move workspaces to naturally-lit areas.
Savings can begin by turning your equipment off when not in use. This can help reduce standby power usage, which is a key source of hidden energy use that can amount to more than 10% of your electricity consumption. A few tips to switch off include:
- Switch off electrical appliances at the wall, such as computers, monitors, printers and copiers if not in use.
- Turn off the lights if you are not using a room.
- Turn off the air conditioner or heater if not required.
If your team is currently working on-site and/or from a home office, the following energy tips may help you save money.
- Set computers and other equipment to automatically turn off at the end of the day. Appliances such as printers and photocopiers can often be set to ‘energy-saving’ modes.
- Instal smart plugs on equipment to automatically turn on and off on a schedule and to monitor energy consumption. Or use a standby power control board – this will turn off devices when they haven’t been used for a certain time.
- Remind after-hours cleaners or tradespeople to turn off the lights when they leave (if applicable).
Heating and cooling
A single degree cooler or warmer can make a significant difference to your energy costs.
- Set the temperature in your office to 24-25°C on hotter days and no more than 18-20°C on winter days.
- If maintaining these temperatures isn’t making a difference, have your thermostat checked.
- Make sure that your office is as draughtproof as possible. If there are leaks around doors and windows, consider draught strips and draught seals; if there is a fan in the bathroom or kitchen area, consider buying a cover for it or replacing it with a fan with self-closing louvres.
For businesses that are continuing to run refrigeration equipment during this time, here are some ways to help you save energy.
Stock your fridge at the end of each day
- Restock refrigerators, bottle cabinets, and freezers at the end of each day. Fill any empty spaces with boxes of stock or bottles of water. This reduces the amount of cold air escaping and warm air entering every time the door is opened, placing less workload on the compressor.
Maintain the correct temperature
- Ensure the temperature is set correctly for each product and check this regularly with a thermometer.
Replace worn seals
- Keep an eye on fridge seals and replace any that show signs of wear. A poorly-sealed fridge uses much more energy than a well-sealed one.
- Protect the fridge motor from direct heat or sunlight and ensure there’s enough ventilation to allow heat to escape.
Service your equipment
- Simple steps such as maintaining your equipment can help reduce energy consumption and provide immediate cost savings.
- Regularly cleaned and serviced pieces of equipment operate better and are more energy-efficient. For example, if you don’t regularly clean refrigerated display cabinets, they can use up to 10% more energy.
- Similarly, air conditioning and heating vents and filters can fill with dust and need more energy to produce the same results.
Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances
If your business is looking to upgrade appliances, it’s important to consider energy-efficient appliances by looking at the energy star rating label before you purchase. The more stars, the less energy it’ll use – which will save your business in the long term. Learn more about the energy efficiency star system and how to reduce your business’ energy consumption.