SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS

Habits and technologies that will reduce your energy use

Check your team, timing and technology to save on electricity costs in your business.

The three Ts for energy savings – Team, timing and technology.

No matter your industry or budget, there are energy-saving actions that you can implement to reduce your bills.

Team

One of the cheapest ways to reduce your energy bill, is by making small changes to how you work day-to-day.

A few simple changes in the right place could noticeably reduce your electricity bill. Appliances on standby can be up to 3 percent of an energy bill, and for every degree cooler you set your air-conditioning, the running cost can increase by 5 percent.

Example

A staff member arrives at 6am and turns on the lights and air conditioning for the entire premises, but only works in one space. Most of the staff arrive at 9am when the site starts operation. If this staff member hadn’t switched everything on, and instead prioritised using only what they needed, the business would use less electricity and save money. If you have individual switches for different spaces, encourage staff to light only the space that they are using. These shifts in habits may seem small, but they can add up to significant savings for your business.

The best thing about changing simple habits, is that this requires little to no upfront investment and can have an immediate effect. There are many ways to implement behaviour change in your business. Here are our top picks:

  • Launch a competition to encourage staff to use less electricity. One office reported a 15 percent reduction in electricity through a clever ‘Floor Wars’ campaign. The campaign encouraged staff to compete to reduce their electricity use more than those on other floors. For more on how to run a staff competition download the toolkit.
  • Install a desktop background on office computers with a reminder to switch off the computer and monitor and the end of the day.
  • Integrate energy efficient behaviours into your staff training and procedures. This could include keeping fridges fully stocked or turning lights off when leaving the room. To learn more about how to be energy efficient in your business, try the energy calculator.
  • Display posters to remind staff to save electricity. Keep them light and entertaining to grab the attention of your team.

Timing

Reduce your energy bill by using energy when it costs you less

Saving on energy isn’t just about reducing the amount of energy you use altogether. Using power strategically can also lead to savings. Take the time to understand your energy plan and determine when to use energy for the lowest price.

If your bill lists off-peak charges, this means you could save by doing some things outside of the peak period. Contact your electricity company to confirm if you pay different prices for using electricity according to the time of day (Time of Use tariff). Once you know when you pay more for electricity, you can decide how to reduce the amount of electricity you use at that time.

Example

Many commercial kitchens and beauty salons do some laundry on-site. These businesses could reduce their energy bill by putting the laundry on outside of their peak period. If their electricity is more expensive in the evening between 4pm and 9pm (this varies by plan), they can save money by turning on the washing machine in the morning, at at another convenient time before this peak period. If this isn’t convenient, they could look into putting the load on a delayed start timer so that it runs during the night after 9pm.

This is just one example of many strategies that will get the best value for your plan type. If you’re unsure how to start making changes, the energy calculator can help you identify simple actions that will help you save.

If you have a solar system, it makes sense to try and conduct energy-guzzling activities while the sun is shining. For those who are unable to alter their operating activity, it may be worth considering installing a battery to store your solar energy.

Technology

Energy efficient equipment

If you are serious about saving energy, making the most of available technology is a great option. Energy efficient 4 and 5 star appliances can use 40-50 percent less energy than lower rated appliances. Next time you are replacing a broken piece of equipment, consider investing in a good quality energy efficient alternative. These systems will reduce running costs, and are likely to have a longer life span.

Maintain equipment

Another way to reduce the energy used by equipment and appliances is by conducting regular maintenance. When equipment parts are damaged or blocked, they can’t perform at full capacity. This means you are still paying the same, or more, to keep it running, but receive less than desired result. Regular maintenance can ensure you get the best value out of your equipment.

Understand your energy use

Technology can also assist you to understand and monitor your energy use. If you have large premises, or run an energy-intensive operation, an energy monitoring system could help you increase your efficiency. Energy monitoring systems can indicate the amount of energy being used by different rooms, or pieces of equipment. This can help you focus your efforts to reduce your bills, and identify faults before they become costly.

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