How your business can be more energy efficient this summer.

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Warmer weather is here and we couldn't be happier, but with warmer weather comes along overheated workplaces which could see your energy use going up as you try to cool them.

We've all been in offices where no one takes charge. The radiator is on full, windows are open. People are using fans etc. Air-conditioning gets switched on. By the end of the day energy use is through the roof, leaving you with a hefty energy bill and your carbon footprint is substantial.

As a small or medium enterprise (SME), energy efficiency should be your number one priority for a number of reasons including saving money on your energy bill and reducing your carbon footprint. Either way it is a benefit to you.

This is why our Energy Specialists have put together a few tips that can help your business be more energy efficient.

Calculate first.

The first step to energy efficiency is first calculating how much of it you use, and how much you might be wasting.

To do this smart meters are the best way to go as it shows you how much you’re spending on your energy. This really helps if you’re trying to lower your business energy bills and implement energy efficiency measures in your workplace. The smart meter essentially tracks exactly how much your business uses and what it costs.

Alternatively you can do this with your Commercial Energy Performance Certificate (also known as an EPC). The EPC report includes your property’s current energy efficiency rating (G is lowest and A is highest) and recommendations on where to make improvements.

Avoiding heat loss.

Overheated offices are the worst and can be really uncomfortable for employees and can affect the functionality of IT systems. Windows are often opened because rooms are too warm. If rooms are overheating it could be that you’ve an inefficient heating system.

This could be costing you money if you’re still heating a room that doesn’t need to be heated. Instead of opening windows, first check that your heating is turned down a little until a comfortable temperature is reached. It’s important to check with employees and consult them regarding any temperature adjustments.

Air conditioning.

Air conditioning can use a huge amount of electricity. In fact, air conditioning can increase a building's energy consumption and associated carbon emissions by up to 100%. Air conditioning can use lots of energy, and we of course will always recommend opening a window first.

However many organisations choose to use it which is why we have come up with some simple, low-cost ways to save electricity and make your air conditioning system more efficient.

  • Temperature controls for air conditioning.

Make sure your air conditioning doesn't operate below 24°C. Also, make sure that you don't have the heating and cooling systems competing against each other - it's a waste of money. The best way to do this is to keep a temperature gap (known as a 'dead band') between your heating and air conditioning control temperatures.

  • Variable speed drivers and air conditioners.

Don't produce more cooling than you need - this wastes money and energy. Variable speed drivers can vary the output of your air conditioning system to meet your needs throughout the day. This will help you save money on energy costs.

  • Cooling coils and air conditioners.

‘Free cooling’ coils use the outside air as a source of cooling for air conditioning systems (when it's cool enough). This saves money because you won't need to use as much electricity to produce cooling for the air conditioning system.

With the UK's temperate climate, ‘free cooling’ coils can produce big savings.

Switching to solar.

This may not be for every business, however switching to solar can be an efficient way to produce and use your own power on-site. We know what you're thinking, that we don't have enough sun in the UK for solar! But, believe it or not, solar powered technology has come a long way. Solar panels are now able to generate power even when it’s cloudy!

For more information about solar panels visit our friends over at E.ON.