Energy prices grow steeper every day, and homes and businesses are all feeling the pinch. The energy costs of your business cut into profits, so doing all you can to lower those bills is essential. Read on for three ways you can slash the amount of energy you use in your workplace and reduce not only the amount of money you spend, but your carbon footprint too.

Conduct an Energy Audit

By December 2015 every business in the UK with over 250 employees will have to undertake an energy audit by law. Businesses won’t have to act on any recommendations, but conducting any energy audit is the best way to identify the key areas where your business is wasteful or inefficient, and is the first step to reducing energy costs.

A full audit normally consists of a preliminary audit measuring current energy usage and behaviours, and a comprehensive audit which takes a full inventory of everything from the structure of the building to the efficiency of machinery. A full report on current costs, suggestions for implementing changes and ROI then enables you to see where you can save the most.

Invest in Energy Efficient Lighting

Most businesses use almost 35% of their electricity consumption on lighting alone, so investing in energy efficient lighting will make a big difference. Retrofitting a whole new energy efficient commercial lighting system is an investment that will pay for itself within two years. LED lights are twenty times more efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs and fitting LED’s enables businesses to reduce their lighting bills by 80%.

Not only that, but the quality of light is better, and maintenance costs are reduced as good quality lamps will last for at least five – ten years. A good commercial lighting company such as will carry out an energy audit on your premises and supply and install the correct lighting systems for you. You can also access funding from The Carbon Trust to help you pay for installation.

Motivate Employees

Don’t underestimate the amount of savings that can be made simply by getting your employees on board to help save energy. It’s a cliché, but switching lights off is a very simple step. One 100 watt bulb left on constantly costs £50 a year. You could appoint an ‘energy champion’ to motivate employees to help save money, and encourage your workforce to switch off lights, computers, monitors, photocopiers and other electrical equipment when they’re not in use.

Other changes you can make include:

  • Turning the heating down but ensuring it’s still a comfortable temperature. Keep the thermostat at 19°C.
  • Replacing old and inefficient electrical equipment
  • Avoiding using air conditioning – open windows instead
  • Keeping doors shut
  • Keeping windows clean to maximise light
  • Arranging for cleaning to be done in the day rather than at night when the building is empty but all the lights are on.
  • Making sure heating timers match occupancy times
  • Maintaining heating and cooling systems for maximising efficiency. Make sure fans and ducts aren’t blocked or broken.

Wendy Lin is a freelance writer, painter and successful entrepreneur. She stands for eco living and is passionate about promoting sustainability at all levels.