Bright ideas

Cut down on your energy bill

Energy is probably not at the top of your list of ways to save money for your business, but it should be. By adopting good habits and making wise investments, you can channel money back from energy to other areas of your business that need it more. Try these simple tips for minimizing your energy spend.

Into the light

Sunlight is free, but electric light isn’t. However, you can consciously control the amount of electric light you use, which can reduce your energy bill quite a lot. Try these ideas:

You can consciously control the amount of electric light you use, which can reduce your energy bill quite a lot.

·        Turn off the lights in any room that isn’t being used and have your staff do the same.

·        Take advantage of the sunshine: open curtains and blinds, turn off the bulbs, and consider putting in a skylight.

·        Replace your standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), which save energy and last ten times longer, or use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) – they last ten times longer than CFLs and, because they’re solid, don’t shatter like other bulbs.

Running hot and cold

Temperatures change with the seasons. Somehow it’s always either too hot or too cold. Winter is an energy guzzler – it’s not cheap to keep that electric heater running! Luckily there are ways to keep a consistent temperature without having to pawn your possessions.

·        Curtains and blinds at windows that face the sun should be kept open to raise the temperature and closed to cool things down.

·        An electric fan will pull down warmer air from the ceiling in winter and will keep things cool in summer so you don’t have to use air-conditioning too much.

·        Always close your external doors when using air-conditioning.

·        Tune up your heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system for optimum performance twice a year.

Keeping cool

It’s essential to keep food and drink cold, but it doesn’t have to be at your own expense.

·        Defrost and maintain refrigerators regularly, check that seals are in good order, and keep evaporators and condensers clean.

·        Open fridge doors as little as possible and keep fridges or cold rooms away from heat sources.

Some like it hot

Hot water uses up around 40% of a typical household’s consumption –  reducing losses in this area can make a big difference.

·        A geyser blanket will prevent your hot water geyser from losing heat throughout the day.

·        A geyser timer will help you control usage by setting the geyser to heat up only when you need it.

·        Water needn’t be heated above 60°C – it will be comfortable for bathing and kill legionella bacteria.

Plugging into savings

The biggest energy hogs can be computers, equipment and appliances. Stop feeding the monster  with these cost-cutting tips:

·        Set unused computers to sleep mode or turn the monitors off yourself.

·        Unplug all office equipment at the end of the day, as electronics draw power for as long as they’re plugged in.

·        Battery chargers also need to be unplugged when batteries are fully charged, as they also leech energy – don’t just leave your phone on charge all day!

Switch to pre-paid electricity

It used to be that prepaid electricity was unpopular among consumers, who preferred the convenience of an always-on supply to the cost savings that pre-paid makes possible. However, the benefits of pre-paid electricity outweigh the disadvantages. You can:

·        Monitor how much electricity you use by tracking how much you buy and finding out which appliances are causing your usage to spike

·        Budget better, because when you know how much you need from month to month, you can forecast how much you’ll need to spend

·        Avoid the annoyance of reconnection fees that have to be paid every time you get disconnected for missing a payment – your meter will tell you when it’s time to top up

·        Be secure that you are paying the right amount – paying upfront means you’ll never be shocked by an unexpectedly big electricity bill.