Business Energy Saving Tips
Employers can lead by example and motivate your employees to take up the energy saving challenge. This will result in some significant energy saving costs for your business and a notable reduction of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
- Switch to compact fluorescent lights to save up to $50 in energy costs and half a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions with every bulb.
- Encourage staff to turn off equipment and lights when not in use.
- Power boards with on/off switches make it easier to turn off groups of machines, photocopiers, computers, printers, fax machines etc.
- Turn off all unused appliances from the power point. Leaving equipment on standby mode can account for up to $11-$15 in every $100 on your power bill and leave you vulnerable to damage from power surges.
- Work with building management to ensure that air-conditioning and lights are turned off overnight.
- Do not overheat rooms - a 1°C increase in room temperature can increase your bill by 10 percent or up to $48 per year.
- Use fans instead of air conditioners. They can cost as little as only 1cent per hour to operate.
- Keep windows and doors closed when the air-conditioning is on.
- Eliminate draughts by sealing cracks around windows and doors. In winter draughts can increase your heating costs by up to 25 percent.
- Fit draft excluders and auto door closers. Sealed doors are better for cooling in the summer and keeping heat in during the winter.
- Turn off unnecessary lights – this can substantially reduce your power bill.
- Use light-coloured interior paint to reflect light and make your rooms brighter; dark rooms absorb light.
- Insulating ceilings can keep the workplace up to 10°C warmer in winter and 7°C cooler in summer.
- Window tinting, internal blinds and external awnings will reduce heat in the summertime.
- When building a new office consider double glazing your windows.
- Restrict who can adjust the air-conditioning thermostat.
- Locate the thermostat control unit away from heat sources such as direct sunlight, draughts, mechanical or electrical equipment (photocopiers, computers etc).
- Only heat or cool areas that are being used frequently. There is no point heating or cooling an area that is infrequently used such as staff lunch rooms, storerooms and cleaning rooms etc.
When purchasing an air-conditioner it is important to choose a system that is suitable for the size of space you are trying to cool. An air-conditioning unit that is too small for your work area is going to struggle to keep up the demand. This will use more power than a system that is larger and handles the task with ease.
The power rating of air-conditioning systems is measured in Kilowatts. It is generally recommended that you use 125 Watts per square meter of the total floor area to be heated or cooled.
Reverse Cycle Units - Can cool during summer months and warm during the winter months. This is achieved by extracting heat from the outside air and passing it through a condenser. The heat is extracted and used to warm the inside of the room. Reverse cycle units are very economical when it comes to warming a room.
Evaporative Air-Conditioners cost up to 80% less to run than conventional a/c units and cost about half as much to purchase. They work by passing the warm air from outside through a series of wetted filter pads which cool the air via evaporation before passing it into the room to be cooled. As well as cooling; these types of units increase the humidity in the air, which is useful in drier climates without high levels of humidity.
Ceiling fans are a very cost effective option; they can cost as little as 1 to 3 cents per hour which is an enormous cost saving over air-conditioners. On hot days when the fan is not enough; the fan can operate with the air-conditioning turned on and the thermostat raised by 7-10 degrees which will save power.
- Provide enough space for adequate circulation around the fridge to reduce up to 150 kg of greenhouse gases per year.
- Buy an energy-efficient fridge to save up to 4.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases and $450 in running costs over its lifetime, visit www.energyrating.gov.au
- Put cool things back in the fridge immediately after use.
- Make sure the fridge door seals are clean, not cracked or missing and that the door closes properly.
- Check the fridge and freezer thermostat settings.
- Cook toast in the toaster rather than under the grill.
- Check that the oven door seal is not cracked or partly missing.
- Ensure that the oven door closes tightly.
- Use a microwave to reheat food.
- Fill the dishwasher before using and open the door to let dishes dry naturally.
- Only use the dishwasher when you have a full load to wash.
- Switch to a solar hot water system to halve greenhouse gas emissions and save up to $150 per year.
- If possible lower the water heater thermostat to 60-65°C to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy Rating Labels
These labels use a star system to grade power usage efficiency, they also estimate how much power the appliance is likely to consume in a year. This should give you an idea of the running costs.
This is particularly useful when purchasing large electrical items. Check the energy rating labels found on all air-conditioners, fridges, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers and clothes dryers etc.