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Spring is in the air – it’s time to get your business’ energy use in check

Mark Bowen, UK marketing director for ScottishPower, gives office-based businesses his top tips for refreshing energy efficiency practices this Spring.

The weather might have different ideas but officially, Spring has sprung! The worst of winter is finally behind us and we can start to look forward to longer days and warmer temperatures.

The last couple of months have been pretty chilly, so it’s likely your business has taken measures to ensure staff and customers stay warm. However, now is the perfect time to review your energy practices to ensure you’re being efficient and not spending any more money than is required.

A recent survey by ScottishPower in partnership with YouGov revealed that a staggering 51% of businesses don’t monitor energy use in any way. This means that UK businesses are missing out on vital energy savings and the opportunity to invest funds back into the business to help it grow and succeed.

Often with large numbers of employees working in one space, using a variety of technology, office-based businesses can be big consumers of energy. All it takes is some simple measures and tips to get your employees on side to reduce energy use and make monetary savings that could make a huge difference.

1) Nominate an energy champion

Identify a staff member who is willing to take on a role of energy champion. It will be their job to ensure all staff are adhering to simple energy saving measures like switching off lights, powering down computers instead of leaving them on standby and only printing when necessary.

Set the energy champion energy saving targets and track progress and encourage them to build a team of staff members who are all committed to helping reduce your businesses energy use. Having a small reward scheme in place will help to get buy in and keep staff motivated.

2) Turn down that thermostat and let the outside, in

Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C could save you up to eight per cent on your annual energy bills – for any business, that could mean huge savings.

According to YouGov, the optimum office temperature is 21°C, and this is also the temperature at which employees are the most productive, so adjust your thermostat temperature and timer to make sure you’re not overheating your office unnecessarily.

It can be tough working long hours indoors, especially when the sun comes out and the weather hots up. Open up windows when the temperature allows to let in some fresh air and natural light. Studies have shown that a well ventilated office space helps to boost brainpower and leaves employees feeling less tired and more productive.

If it’s required, consider your use of air conditioning carefully, ensuring its only on in occupied rooms where opening windows to let air circulate isn’t an option.

3) Make use of natural light

With the arrival of longer and brighter days, it’s likely you will be able to easily reduce your use of office lighting. However, employees often get into the habit of switching on lights even if they are not required, so consider small signs above switches that encourage employees to think about whether lighting is really needed.

With lighting accounting for up to 25 per cent of a business’ energy use, making savings here can have a big impact. Make sure lights are switched off in rooms that aren’t in use and double check at the end of the night that there are no lights still on.

Switching up old incandescent bulbs for LED ones will also make a difference, in fact you can make energy savings on lighting of up to 90 per cent. Although this may require initial investment, the long-term savings will pay off.

4) Time for a Spring clean

It’s hard to believe, but a spot of Spring cleaning can actually help you reduce energy consumption. Dust off any lightbulbs to make the most of the light and, if you have kitchen facilities in your office, defrost your freezer and clean the coils behind your fridge – this will help the appliances to work more effectively and use less energy in the process.

For more energy saving advice from ScottishPower visit: scottishpower.co.uk/small-business