Taking regular meter readings and comparing consumption over a number of months is a good idea, if your business manufactures something tangible try to measure energy use per product item. This will allow you to spot patterns and identify areas where savings could be made.
Turn off any air-conditioning, extraction, compression or ventilation units whenever there’s nobody in the workplace to benefit from their use. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it’s laziness that’s helping to kill the planet.
• Encourage staff to switch off lights in unoccupied areas or where daylight is adequate. You could cut your lighting costs by as much as 15%, just by making sure you turn lights off in rooms and corridors that aren’t being used.
• Make sure windows and skylights are clean and free from obstructions to make maximum use of daylight.
• Turn off interior display lighting out of hours.
• Label switches clearly so that lights can easily be turned off in unwanted areas.
• Computer screens, photocopiers and printers should be turned off when not in use and base units turned off at the mains overnight.
• Check that doors and windows are not left open unnecessarily in winter.
• Check taps are not dripping or left running.
• Check room thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves are on the correct settings.
• Turning down the thermostat by 1oC can reduce your annual heating bill by 8-10%.
• Keep furniture clear of heaters and radiators so that heating is not obstructed.
• If you have fan heaters, are the internal filters clean? Dirty filters lead to loss of heat output with consequently longer running times.
• Set your heating to match occupancy: use timers to preheat buildings in good time for occupancy, avoid heating unused areas and make sure the building is not heated when not in use.
• Check boilers and thermostats – serviced boilers can save up to 10% on heating costs.
• Make sure you know where all the time switches are and make sure they are set to the correct time and correct day.
• Reduce ‘on’ times where you can.
• Make sure that the heating isn’t too hot in mild weather or too cold in severe weather.
• Can lighting levels be reduced? Switch off or dim unnecessary lights.
• Don’t use more light than you need. If you’re only working in one part of the room, why have all the lights on?
• Clean and check diffusers and reflectors.
• Use the most energy efficient bulbs available. If you have fluorescent tube lighting, replacing T12 tubes with T8s will reduce the lighting energy demand by 10%.
Hot Water Systems
• Can the hours of availability of hot water be reduced?
• If electricity is used to heat water, can it be done on a cheap rate tariff at night?
• Check the insulation around pipe-work and tanks and replace any damaged or missed sections.
Compressed Air Systems
• Can the pressure be lowered? Check the requirements of your equipment and tools (reducing pressure by 10% can lead to a 5% energy saving). Make small, incremental reductions, checking that operations are not affected.
• Power delivered by compressed air is convenient but expensive – are there cheaper alternatives for some jobs?
• Turn compressors off during breaks and when not required (an idling compressor uses around 40% of its full load).
• Can power be delivered more efficiently? For instance, fitting a venture-type nozzle can use 30% less compressed air.
• Make sure you know where your water meter is. Regular meter readings can help you locate underground leaks before too much has been wasted.
• Make sure urinals don’t flush through the night. Devices which prevent urinals from wasting water can pay for themselves in a few months.
• Check overflow pipes and cisterns for running water.
• Why not have an energy champion within your organisation to take responsibility and promote energy efficiency in your business?
• Financial support may be available to help you achieve some of these ideas.