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There are a number of ways your company can invest money in order to reduce gas and electricity usage.
The size of the savings generated by these investments will of course depend on the size and the type of business and premises you have.
Before deciding what changes to make, establish which aspects of your company’s operations are the most energy-hungry and focus on addressing those.
Below we round up the potentially most profitable options and explain how long you can typically expect these investments to pay for themselves.
Rowan Wallis from advice organisation the Sustainable Business Partnership says that buying LED lighting is one of the most effective ways to cut energy bills.
“You can typically recoup your original investment within two years if you’re replacing halogen lights, because LEDs use 90% less energy,” Wallis explains.
“If you are replacing fluorescent tubes, energy use is only cut by half so the payback period is longer.”
Wallis adds that the prices of LED bulbs have fallen in recent years and with the cost of electricity rising, the time it takes to repay the original investment has been getting shorter.
Another option is to install sensors in your workplace which automatically turn off lights when no one is around.
The potential savings here depend on the type of lighting you have: if you haven’t switched to energy-efficient bulbs the amount you stand to save is significantly greater.
Wallis says that a sensor can be bought and installed for between £80 and £100.
“Motion sensors can also be a visual sign to your workforce that you are committed to saving energy,” he adds.
Heat loss is another big source of waste, both domestically and in the workplace, but the cost of installing insulation can deter some businesses from making the investment.
“Cavity-wall insulation or roof insulation can typically pay for itself within five or six years,” Wallis says.
You could also consider creating your own power using renewable energy sources, although again this will involve a significant initial outlay.
For commercial premises with a large roof, Wallis says, solar PV panels could start to pay for themselves within about eight years.
Getting an energy consultant in to offer advice on potential money-saving changes can also be cost-effective. “An independent consultant is likely to be more impartial than speaking to a supplier, who will be likely to favour their own products,” Wallis says.
The cost of hiring a consultant can vary widely and is dependent on the size of your organisation and premises, and what you are asking the consultant to look into.
One of the simplest and most effective investments could be in training staff in energy efficiency.
“This is what a business should do from the start before moving on to more exciting technology,” Wallis says. “Train staff to switch equipment off when it is not being used, for example, and to set the heating at the right level and not change it during the day.”
Finally, says Wallis, it is vitally important to monitor your energy use and expenditure, especially after implementing any of these measures.
Employees are likely to remain more committed to saving energy if they are kept appraised of how effective their efforts have been.
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