The New Year has dawned and many of us are focusing on our resolutions and wishes for the next 12 months. But for business owners the dawning of a New Year is a great time to start making plans and introducing changes to ensure a happy and productive 2013. Where better to start than with addressing your energy supply and introducing energy-saving practices. According to The Carbon Trust, even low-cost or no action energy efficiency measures could shave up to 10% off business electricity bills.

Step 1 – Commitment and understanding

Lead from the front; business owners can create an attitude of awareness throughout the whole company by putting energy saving policies at the top of the agenda. Making energy efficiency part of company policy lets employees know just how important the issue is. Providing practical advice and ideas for making cut-backs helps staff to address the issues and start making savings.

Try putting up posters around the office with simple ideas such as turning off your monitor every evening. You could even consider making a member of staff an ‘energy champion’ and to help encourage their team members to think green.

Step 2 – Monitoring and control

As with any new strategies or initiatives, it’s important to keep up momentum and to make sure you (or your energy champion) do your research to see how well the changes are working. Here are some areas to consider:

•   Checking meters and identifying any spikes in energy use

•   Check for seasonal patterns and out of hours use

•   Comparing current use against historical records

•  Double-check invoices to ensure payment is only made for actual use

•   Checking energy consumption benchmarks against similar companies

Taking these steps and gathering as much data as possible will put businesses in the best position to reduce energy bills.

Step 3 – Review and act

Once business owners have the required data there are several ways to turn these insights into savings. Commercial electricity prices fluctuate, so it’s important to look at the number of units used as well as the total cost. When assessing your energy bills, here are some of the things to think about:

Minimise use of peak rate units (such as out of hours use during winter)
Check the tariff is appropriate for the business – contact your energy supplier if in doubt
Set energy use targets for the various business operating hours
Feed all of this info back to the business as part of the energy efficiency policy to show staff members how their actions are making a positive impact for 2013.

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