As a small business owner, you’re constantly working to improve your profit margin. And, whether you’re selling a product or a service, it is something the everyday running costs of a business that can be the most challenging to manage. Your electricity bills are one such expense – something that cannot be ignored and a potentially significant drain on your income. Understanding practical ways to reduce your electricity bills, in either a brick-and-mortar shop or the office, is a smart option for all business owners. This is why we’ve pulled together this guide to help you every step of the way. Let’s look at some of the methods you can use.

Perform an Energy/Electrical Audit

To reduce electricity usage, you first need to have an understanding of how much you’re using on a daily basis. It is an assessment of the energy that you’re using, where it is going and why you are using the amount used every day. An electrical audit will give you a clearer understanding of this, identifying the actions you can take to reduce usage.

A basic audit is something that you could carry out on your own by accessing:

  • The number of devices used throughout the day.
  • How long each device is used for.
  • Bad habits, such as leaving lights on when not in use or running air conditioning in an empty room.
  • Reviewing devices to make sure they’re safe and designed for reduced energy use.

If you’re restricted on time, which is commonplace for many small business owners, many electrical utility companies will offer their commercial customers free energy audits. This will go deeper, looking at any potential leaks, insulation issues and safety concerns as well as providing suggestions for improvements and changes to reduce costs.

Monitor Electrical Usage

As part of your electrical audit, it pays to monitor your electrical usage. Do this over a set period such as a single week. Make note of how often lights are turned on (and left on unattended) during this time frame. Note how many devices are in use and how often they are left on unnecessarily. As we mentioned above, many of the reasons for high electricity bills are linked to improper use and bad habits – we become accustomed to leaving the air conditioning on in a room or forgetting to switch off the lights in meeting rooms when they’re no longer occupied. These small changes may seem insignificant, but for a small business they can add up significantly.

Choose Energy-Efficient Equipment

Many small businesses are heavily reliant on the equipment they use every single day. We recommend choosing devices that have one of these approved labels:

  • The European Ecolabel – The device has been independently assessed and meets strict environmental criteria.
  • Energy Saving Trust Recommended – Used on the most energy-efficient products – top 20% available on the market.
  • Energy Star – Used for office equipment and shows that the product has achieved energy efficiency standards set out by the EU.
  • Eu Energy LabelProvides information about the energy efficiency of a product with dark green being the most efficient.

Devices that fall under these categories have been proven to help you reduce energy usage and save on bills too.

Use Programmable Settings

Human error and bad habits, as we’ve mentioned, are large contributors to higher electricity bills for small business owners. However, making use of modern technology and using programmable settings takes away this worry. Consider having programmable light switches installed that can be set to turn off after a certain time in the day. Programme your air conditioning units to turn on, only when the temperature in a room reaches a certain rating.

Utilise Natural Light

Artificial lighting is essential for many business premises. It is rare to find a shop or office where you can forgo the electrical implications of lighting. However, it pays to make as much use of natural light as possible. If you do have a south-facing window, consider turning off the overhead lights in this space during the lightest times of the day. Opt for LED or CFL lighting where possible as these have been repeatedly shown to use less energy while still efficiently illuminating a space. Many retail shops rely on very bright lighting to create a memorable experience for their customers. And, while this may help to boost your brand and establish a name for yourself, considering the electrical implications here can make a significant difference to your bills.

Use Alternative Cooling Options

Air conditioning can be a highly effective way of ensuring your business premises are cool and comfortable. However, it can also hike up energy bills with the average central air conditioner using somewhere between 3,000 and 3,500 watts per hour during the hottest times of the day. Instead, you may want to consider alternative ways to keep your building cool. Use blinds and window coverings during the warmest times of the day to prevent light and heat from flooding into your rooms. Open windows, where there is a breeze and consider smaller fans to keep employees cool. It also pays to consider your lighting as some incandescent bulbs can produce a lot of heat as a waste product.

Consider Laptops Over Desktop Computers

If possible, it pays to choose laptops over desktop computers. On average, laptops used 80% less electricity than desktop computers. This is largely due to the fact that they can run for a significant time off of battery power. You only need to plug them into the mains when they start to run out of power and most standard models will take less than 2 hours to charge fully.

As you can see, there are many ways that you, as a small business owner, can take measures to reduce your electricity bills. At MJH Electricals, we specialise in domestic, commercial and industrial electrical support for all clients. If you would like more advice on how you can bring down your energy bills, please do get in contact with us here today and we’ll be happy to advise.