Trick or Treat? 6 energy-saving myths you probably believe – but shouldn’t

Energy Saving Myths

When you are a small or medium business owner in the UK, finding ways to keep costs under control is one of your top priorities. One specific area of focus involves identifying areas where the biggest energy savings can be achieved. There are a lot of myths out there that mostly centre around opinions and give you mixed messages about how to save on energy costs. Some of this information may not be objective and will usually fall more into the category of ‘trick’ rather than ‘treat’. This makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction, so let’s take a look at these energy saving myths.

These myths are usually divided into two categories. The first category of myths will often lead many business owners to believe they are becoming more energy efficient when, in fact, they are not. The second category involves the ones that will discourage some business owners from undertaking energy efficiency, leading them to believe energy savings are too far out of reach.

In the spirit of Halloween, we’ll call these energy-saving myths ‘tricks’, and the facts will be very nice ‘treats’. Let’s take a look at 6 things business owners probably believe about energy savings – but shouldn’t.

Trick #1: Energy efficiency only makes sense for huge corporations because of the expense

Treat: Companies like Apple and Google may spend millions towards making their businesses more efficient, but all businesses of every shape and size can take steps towards becoming more efficient – without breaking the bank.

Simple things such as investing in more energy-efficient equipment (printers, monitors, appliances, and boilers) can substantially cut down on energy use and help you save money.

Next, you can ensure that your employees are following mindful energy conservation practices such as turning off lights and office equipment, unplugging appliances at the end of the day and using more energy-efficient lighting such as LED and fluorescent.

All of these things combined can go a long way in improving efficiency and generating long-term savings.

Trick #2: Leaving computers on actually increases their lifespan and uses less energy

Treat: Leaving computer equipment on for extended periods of time not only wastes energy (and money), but also can reduce its lifespan. Turning off equipment when it’s not being used is actually an important step because when it’s done consistently, the savings can really add up.

IT experts say that a typical PC and monitor combination could consume around 200 watts when sitting idle – so if a system runs 24/7, that’s a cost to your business of over £230 a year. If turning your computers off is not a convenient option, simply automating the process to ensure that your desktops are only awake for eight hours a day, will still save you over £150 per seat.

Trick #3: A building management system can replace real-time energy monitoring

Treat: A building management system may control your building’s lighting, power systems, ventilation, and more, but they don’t do much when it comes to monitoring your energy consumption. That’s because a building management system can only go so far. They can control the systems of a building but can have a lack of insight into how these operations actually run, and where the electric, water, and gas resources are being consumed.

Your energy provider may be able to provide you with a business smart meter to help manage your energy consumption in a clever way. Smart meters will send readings automatically at regular intervals, which allows you to compare usage patterns, analyse energy performance, reduce wastage and optimise energy efficiency in real-time. The data from this can also be used to predict future business needs. Most building management systems can’t compete with the type of value these smart meters provide.

Trick #4: It’s better to leave your building’s heating on low 24 hours a day, rather than switching it on and off

Treat: This is another popular myth. You will actually save more by switching on the central heating only when it is required. In a business environment where buildings are often unoccupied for large periods of time, heating a building when it’s vacant is a waste.

Trick #5: There’s no reason to think about cooling costs in the autumn and winter. You won’t need your cooling system for months

Treat: Autumn and winter can be the best times to plan, especially if you have an ageing cooling system. It’s likely to draw a significant amount of energy during the summer months which can contribute to ongoing, expensive repair bills. By installing a high-efficiency unit in the autumn or winter, you can set up savings for the long-term and cut down on your cooling costs.

Trick #6: Businesses that don’t have the budget to purchase a new, efficient boiler can really do nothing to reduce heating-related energy costs

Treat: Even if you don’t see a high-efficiency boiler in your immediate future, there are many steps you can take today that will give you maximum performance out of your current system. Annual servicing can help prevent costly heating bills, and replacing worn pipe insulation along with repairing steam traps, can drive down operating costs as well. Enquire what services are offered by your Gas Safe registered engineer today.

We thought this Halloween season was the perfect time to debunk those myths that sometimes border on tricks rather than treats. With all the misinformation that’s out there today about business energy savings, this will help you separate fact from fiction, and identify those areas in your business where there are some real opportunities to save.

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