With a difficult financial climate, many retailers have experienced a rocky road as the high-profile cases of Comet and HMV demonstrate. Every little helps when it comes to keeping costs down, so here is a look at how UK retailers can start cutting their costs by cutting their energy usage.

Retailers consume energy in various ways but there are some common areas where wastage often leads to unnecessary expenditure. It’s estimated that business owners could knock 20% off their business gas and electricity bills by making some simple changes such as managing heating and lighting conditions.

You could also find that switching to another tariff that is more suited to your individual needs helps you to save money. Here are some tips to help you improve your energy efficiency and cut your bills in the process:

Heating

Heating can account for up to half of your energy consumption. Some small changes can add up to big savings:

• Increasing the thermostat by just 1°C can add almost 10% to your bills every year. Your heating system uses far less energy to heat your premises to a slightly lower temperature, even if the heating is on for longer. Try turning the heating on a little earlier for the desired effect.

• At this time of year, customers will be coming in from the cold so you don’t want to make them leave because your retail space is uncomfortably hot. Try maintaining a temperature of around 19°C.

• There’s no point in heating an empty shop. Try turning your heating off an hour before you close. The residual heat will be sufficient until the shutters come down.

Lighting

• Energy efficient bulbs use up to 80% less electricity than traditional lamps. Look for LED and compact fluorescent models – which will also produce less heat. That means less strain on air conditioning units in the summer months.

• Light is required constantly on the shop floor during trading hours but consider installing motion sensor lighting in backroom areas like stock cupboards so energy is only being used when it’s needed.

• Natural light is your friend. Keep windows and skylights clean to reduce the use of artificial light. This will also improve the appearance of your premises for your customers.

The big switch

Switching business gas and electricity suppliers can be a great way of saving money on top of making energy efficiency improvements to your business. Shop around (pardon the pun) and get a quote to see how much you could save.

Find out more ways to save with the energy-saving guide for retailers from Energy Made Simple on the British Gas website.

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