While there are many sensible ways to save costs and improve efficiency in the workplace, there are some times when things simply go wrong. We take a look at a few of the ways not to cut costs, and give you a few energy-saving tips that won’t cause employee uproar.
Cutting costs can be good for profits – but there is a limit.
In 2008, staff at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital were banned from making cups of tea in the office in a bid to reduce energy consumption.
And in 2011, police in Sussex were banned from charging their phones at work as part of an attempt to save £50 million.
These organisations might have managed to save on outgoings, but what was the cost to staff morale?
‘Miserly’ policies don’t stop at energy savings, either.
In 2005, a law firm executive earning £150,000 a year demanded that his secretary pay a £4 dry-cleaning bill when she spilt ketchup on his trousers. He later resigned after the e-mails were made public.
And just last year, builders at a £300 million facility in Ferrybridge went on strike when they were forced to bring their own toilet paper to work.
If you really want to see significant savings in energy and money without starting an office riot, try a few of our lean, green workplace tips.
Use it only when you need it
The first step to reducing consumption and costs is to cut out excess usage.
A typical office is open for around 10 hours a day. That means that leaving lights and appliances on overnight for the remaining 14 hours could more than double your consumption – and your costs.
In fact, according to the Carbon Trust, a typical small office that leaves its lights on overnight every day for a year use enough extra energy to heat a home for nearly 5 months. So when you leave, switch it off.
Of course, it’s not always so easy to see where your business is using more energy than it needs to to run efficiently. This is where smart meters do come into their own.
Up-to-date meter reads (rather than monthly estimates) give business owners and managers a clearer picture of energy use. While energy-use graphs (one of the online features of a smart meter set-up) can help you to address wasteful areas and plan for times of heavier energy use.
Make your appliances work for you
Some businesses – such as shops with refrigeration units – don’t have the luxury of turning off their machines every night. So if it needs to be on constantly, make sure it’s constantly efficient.
A recent report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that supermarket chain The Co-operative, saw energy savings of 20% just by installing doors on their many fridges.
And for those that can, avoid standby mode. The average UK household spends £30 a year on devices that continue to draw power when they’re not being used. So just think how much a workplace full of computers, scanners and printers would cost you.
Turn things off at the wall when you don’t need them, otherwise you’re just building up a bigger bill for nothing.
Make the most of what you have
And, according to the BRC report, bakery chain Gregg’s installed solar panels on their roofs to get electricity that doesn’t incur a regular charge (apart from the initial installation and any servicing costs).
In fact, we’ve helped Toyota’s engine production centre in Deeside, North Wales to generate 10% of its manufacturing energy needs from solar. Thanks to its 13,000 solar panels installed over three months, the centre will also cut its carbon emissions by 1,800 tonnes per year, helping Toyota in the UK to meet regulatory standards.
If you’ve got roof space that’s currently doing nothing, you could get reduce your energy consumption and get an extra source of revenue by getting solar panels for your business. You won’t just be saving money – you could be making it, too.
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