Energy Saving measures can cushion the impact of price increases

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By Dave Hickey

When energy costs are increasing by 80% in a quarter, making small adjustments to your energy consumption may feel like a futile exercise – the proverbial Sisyphean* task.

While we have little influence on the price we’re charged for energy we can control how much of it we use.

Controlling usage

There are no big wins with any of these steps but collectively they can help reduce the pain of the price increases and should provide a – small – cushion against the rapid inflation we’re experiencing right now.

Appoint an energy champion

Assign a role to one person who will take responsibility for creating and implementing an energy management plan. Make sure that person has the ability to implement change or direct access to someone who can.

Understand your energy bills.

Learn more about how your charges, what costs are fixed and if there is any variability in rates charged across your working day.

Monitor Usage

Ensure that your appointed ‘energy champion’ reads your meter regularly and chart your electricity usage patterns. Look to identify peak and off-peak usage.

Review operations

Look at how your business uses electricity and consider implementing cost saving options.

Plan and implement improvements

Set energy efficiency targets for your business and develop action plans to help you and your staff work towards these targets. Establish a budget for what can spent to achieve savings as well as the reductions in usage expected from these and other measures.

Monitor and adapt

No plan survives its first contact with reality. Ensure that you have regular (at least quarterly) reviews of the plan and its progress to date. Adapt as necessary and re-set goals for the next period.

Consider changing provider

There may be small savings to be made on switching. Every little helps!

Staff involvement

Get your staff involved and keep their awareness and enthusiasm up. With everyone’s co-operation, you should see a decrease in your energy usage and your bills.

Practical tips

Below, you’ll find some energy saving tips to help your business work efficiently and save you money:

  • Lighting & Office Equipment
    Replace existing lights with energy efficient alternatives.
    Install occupancy sensors to make sure lights are not left on unnecessarily.
  • Power down computers and office equipment, including monitors, printers, etc. Don’t just let them go into ‘Sleep’ mode.
  • Heating
    Reducing heating levels by 1°C overall saves up to 8% on energy costs – but do not reduce your heat to a level that causes discomfort.
    Use heating controls effectively – only heat areas that are occupied, and turn down the heat outside business hours.
    Insulate the building.
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
    Coordinate your air conditioning and heating to avoid wasting energy.
    Don’t put heat-generating equipment near air-conditioned spaces.
  • Compressed air
    Consider switching from compressed air equipment to an electric equivalent.
    Reduce pressure to the minimum acceptable level in order to reduce your energy consumption and costs.
  • Motors & Drives
  • Purchasing or changing over to an energy-efficient motor makes sound business sense.
  • You should fit automatic controls including timer switches, load sensors and thermostats to improve efficiency.
  • Refrigeration
  • Check your equipment for anything that may prevent it running efficiently, such as gas leakage, ice build-up or damaged door seals.
  • If possible, leave products to pre-cool before going in the fridge or freezer.

*In Greek mythology Zeus punished Sisyphus by condemning him to push a massive boulder up a hill eternally. As soon as he reached the top it would roll back down, and he would have to push it up again.

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