How To Cut The Electric Bill Of Your Business In Half: 15 secret tips
Running a business isn’t cheap; you know it, and everyone knows it!
This can often be evidenced by the utility bills that the mailman happily sends your way if you’re living in the 21st Century (you are, by the way).
If the cost is more than you expect, this might only add to the financial problems your business might already be facing.
The energy in form of electricity is a resource that you as a business owner can not overlook. Business owners are always in search of an alternative that fits into the characteristics of electricity.
Some business managers have their electric bill as the largest expenditure after space rent. It’s shocking but not a surprise. Hence, saving your power usage is a good way to keep your financial plan in check.
This is a great liberation to you and many businesses.
First, I would like to tell you that you can either conserve your usage or be more resourceful in your usage. When you conserve your electricity usage, you only connect the device when in use and disconnect when not in use.
This is the simplest form of power conservation. It is more of a short-run remedy to cut your bill.
Being resourceful with power usage is more for the long run. When you install a more efficient gadget, the power usage is cut down, then your bill in turn. This means that some of your gadgets will be replaced wholly while some may require a little change of parts and components.
Thankfully, there are many other ways to reduce your business energy costs, and while you might face a short-term expense in some cases, you should be able to make savings in the long term.
Here are some tips to cut that electric bill in half!
1. Book an energy audit
How To Cut The Electric Bill
Of Your Business In Half
An energy audit is a way of measuring energy usage. It shows you the power rating of all your appliances so you can know how to go about cutting their use or change them to a more efficient one.
You can do an energy audit yourself by walking around your building to assess where you might be wasting energy. This includes checking your appliances for the Energy-Star label, as well as looking for any drafts that might be coming into your building.
You might then make the relevant next steps, such as switching your appliances and insulating your business premises. However, you might also want to book an energy audit, either by calling your utility company if they provide a free energy audit program or by paying for an energy audit professional.
The service is a free service from the power companies. For instance, in Nigeria, some independent power organizations do energy audits for free. An example of such an organisation is the MTN LUMOS centre.
They might pick up on something you haven’t noticed, and will give you advice on trimming your energy usage. With little electrical knowledge, this is something you can do yourself but to ensure accuracy, you should engage the service of an expert.
You can also get the metering appliance to track your electricity usage. It can be installed for different workspace or a group of appliances.
2. Go efficient
This is the trend in order to get smart with the electricity industry. For lighting, one way to go efficient is to use energy-saving bulbs.
The likes of long-lasting compact florescent light and LED bulbs are recommended and used by utility companies. You wouldn’t see a business with a prepaid meter or solar power using the incandescent bulbs.
The incandescent tungsten bulb days are over when you can get a 20 watts energy saver bulb with the same luminosity as the 100 watts tungsten bulb.
That is a whopping eighty percent save on power usage.
You can also go efficient on office equipment like Fans, computers, printers, and photocopiers.
Check the equipment in your workplace, from the computers and printers in your office to the refrigerator you might have in your break room. Do they have the Energy Star seal of approval?
You might have seen some office equipment with signs on them that say “Energy saver”. These office equipment are smart and conserve energy. Even when they use power, they don’t consume much.
If not, consider replacing what you do have with their energy-saving alternatives. Most modern appliances are energy and eco-friendly as standard, but look for the appropriate certification when you’re shopping around.
Again, there might be an expense, but you will see a noticeable drop in your electricity bill.
A Cathode Ray Tube television will consume five times more than a Light Emitting Diode Television. The same thing goes for a computer monitor, a Liquid Crystal Display monitor will save more energy than the CRT monitors.
So when you’re buying or upgrading your office equipment, ensure you purchase a low power, energy-saving equipment.
3. Turn Off Your Appliances
You may wonder why your bill is still high even with less usage. Most of the appliances you use in your office still consume power, even when they are off.
For instance, your laptop still consumes power when plugged in even when you have shut it down and your battery is fully charged. Similarly, your printer sill guzzles power when on sleep mode.
The best way to plummet this usage is to turn them off or unplug if applicable.
4. Keep it natural
There is nothing as free as nature’s gift. Your business will gain more when you utilize the gift of nature instead of paying to get the same thing.
Do you know you can have a well-lit room without electric bulbs? Yes! simply make use of the windows. Lol. Fold the curtains, rotate the window blind to allow sunbeams in. Beautiful illumination, all for free. oh-oh!
In addition, you can reduce the power consumed by the Air Conditioning System (mind you, this equipment consumes a whole lot of energy) by using fresh air from the windows.
You can also use fans to help circulate the natural air. So you need not put the AC on all of the time.
5. Go Smart
It is no assumption that technologies today are getting smarter. Take advantage of this by using the latest technology is wisdom.
The first one I will encourage you to utilize is the power saving features that come with your equipment. Most new printers, television, photocopiers will go into power-saving mode when they are not used for a specific period.
The period can be factory preset or programmable to suit your business need.
It is not a new feature for the computers, you just need to set it to sleep or hibernate after some time if not use.
I would like to note one feature of laptops that is fairly recent as would be seen in Hp EliteBook and ProBook. The power is cut out as soon as the battery is fully charged so it uses less power if it is on and no power when it is switched off.
Another example is motion detectors. Motion detectors infused with CCTV can be utilized to control your lighting system. They can also be made to switch on the light when motion is detected and off when motion is not detected for a while.
Air Conditioning Systems come with a thermostat to control the flow of air. You might need to set the temperature to suit your need. The thermostat is responsible for checking the temperature, start or stop the AC from working to keep the temperature of your office relatively constant.
A programmable thermostat can also be used to put on or off your air conditioning system at a time you set.
6. Identify what is necessary
You need to work on what is necessary. There is a fine line between luxury and necessities. Know when to make use of your luxurious appliance and when not to use them.
I need not tell you to switch them off when you are not using them. Print only when necessary and when you are not using a piece of office equipment for a while, turn them off.
7. Look for renewable alternatives
With technology, alternative energy sources have been made to be more efficient and accessible. The capital cost of the alternatives can be high but you will get the value in the long run. The easiest alternative is solar power system.
The only part of the system that needs to be serviced is the power storage (the cell or battery). It also costs a fortune.
While you may need to service or change the batteries once in seven to ten years, you might just need to clean the solar panel more (for dusty areas) and might not need to service it at all.
The other alternative you can use is hydropower, wind power or a combination of either. Depending on the location and size of your business, one of these alternatives will be ideal while others won’t.
So choose the right alternative you think will be best for your business.
8. Take advantages of opportunities
Being properly informed will always keep you at an advantage. Good information prepares you to take opportunities as they present themselves.
For example, in some countries, Energy Distribution Company has subsidized charges when you constantly load your prepaid meter.
Several Utility companies offer discounts for energy-saving processes.
This isn’t practical for every business, but if you can go down this route, you will save yourself a fortune on electricity and water bills. You could add a solar panel system to your premises, for example, as this is one way to receive free electricity and heating from our friend, the sun!
There will be an expense involved when looking to switch to renewable alternatives, but thinking of the long-term future of your finances, they might be cost-effective.
9. Educate yourself
This may seem quite unconventional but you’d agree with me that you tend to gain more when you learn from experience and other people.
Try to attend or have a representative in the energy management conference.
This will enable you to learn new ways by which you can save on your electricity usage. It also allows you access to the latest energy management software and hardware and their usage.
You might even get deals on that equipment right at the conference or exhibition. You will also benefit when your employees have learned energy management.
When you allow them to brainstorm, you might be surprised on ideas they will come up with and how those ideas will impact your business’s energy-saving practices.
10. Plan your Downtimes
Another way to cut your bill is to ensure that your office equipment are not using power when it is holidays, weekend or night time.
One good practice is to cut out all other equipment and light save the security lights during the holidays and weekend.
The same goes for night time, the light in the offices are useless when no one is in the building. Also, ensure the security lights consume low energy so that you will not end up spending a big amount of your electric bill on security lights.
11. Be Cloud-based
If your business is IT or you rely on the use of servers. You can cut more than half of your energy bill if you move to cloud-based services. Even when there’s a power cut, you’ll have no worries.
You will no longer need to cool off physical servers or have a constant consumption of your energy. Apart from the part that all your data will now be globally accessible, you get to save on the cost too.
To help your air conditioning, including the use of fans, you should get your office well insulated. It is advisable that the ceiling of your roof is installed with A.C to keep out the heat received from the sun.
To keep your workspace cool, you will need to reduce the amount of heat entering your office from the sun through the window by use of window blinds. This can be managed in such a way that you keep the heat out when necessary and you can let fresh cold air in too when needed.
13. Organize and clean
You may wonder why I put organize and clean together or what they got to do with energy-saving.
Let’s talk about the organization of your office first, you will spend less energy to circulate air when you layout your office furniture well.
You plan the place you put your office equipment so that they do not obstruct or reduce natural or artificial ventilation.
The sources of light too should not be blocked. If you have adequate access to the light source, you would need fewer bulbs. Cleaning is essential for both light and air-conditioning. Luminosity is dependent on the cleanliness of your bulb and light covers.
You may say they don’t often get dirty but depending on your business, you might need to clean them twice to thrice a year. Your ventilation system – the air vents and filters – also need to be cleaned regularly.
It is advisable that you clean your AC filters once every month in order to improve efficiency. A dusty filter will make your AC drain more power because it will be working under stress.
14. Avoid estimated bills
This suggestion is more applicable to Africans especially, my home country, Nigeria.
It is no longer news that the Nigerian electricity distribution companies are encouraging the use of the prepaid meter. A common mistake business make is using Estimated Billing System.
I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be a victim of estimated billing. In Nigeria, the power company are always ready to estimate your bills. You should opt for the prepaid meter, though some business still uses the old analogue postpaid meter.
From experience, I pay less than half of the bill I normally receive when I started using the prepaid meter.
15. Watch Your Habits
The last but not the least in this list, habits.
Humans are habitual beings and this will affect your business if you or your employees have habits that waste energy. Hence, you can encourage your employee to be energy-saving oriented.
Also, you can imbibe practices like Workforce Energy-efficiency and the ones listed above to keep your energy usage down. You often incur more cost when you are going efficient but the cost is bearable when you think about the long-run savings.
It’s about using your common sense really, so if you or your employees are guilty of bad habits, you should make an effort to curb them. As examples, you should turn lights and appliances off when they aren’t needed.
You should turn the heating down or off when the temperatures are not blisteringly cold. And you should open your windows in your office to let cool air in, instead of being reliant on the air-con. Simple steps, but highly effective when it comes to reducing your energy bills.
Not all of the guides listed will give you a noteworthy decrease in your electric bill but when they accumulate over time, you will be surprised by how well you have saved.
Don’t be afraid of the mailman again (or the ping from your email inbox).
There are all kinds of ways to reduce your business energy costs, including the suggestions presented here.
So, heed what I have just told you and commit to further research. You will have fewer financial problems within your business if you do.