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Cold air, heat loss and air leaks can all be the enemy of your business’ electricity bills in the cooler months. The good news is that making changes to improve your winter energy efficiency of your business could be easier than you think. Here are some simple tips which could help you to take control your business' winter electricity use.

Tip #1: Start planning before it gets cold

There are some simple steps you can take before the chill of winter sets in which may help to reduce the impact of heating and lighting costs on your next Synergy bill. Before the winter months arrive, you might like to:

  • Get your team involved. Committing to energy efficiency for your business can be a win for everyone. Share your goals with your team and consider their ideas to reduce your overall electricity costs too. If you have an advanced meter installed, it’s easy to share graphs and data relating to your electricity use. You can access this data in My Account.
  • Install insulation to help reduce heating and cooling costs. Ceiling insulation can help to reduce hot air escaping through your ceiling, which could mean that your heating system doesn’t need to work as hard.
  • Invest in an energy audit. Take a tour of your premises and look for air leaks, ways to use more natural light and where you might be able to stop heat loss. You could also consider a professional energy audit, which could be a worthwhile investment for your long-term energy efficiency.

Tip #2: Examine your heating and cooling costs

As the temperature drops, start by exploring other ways of keeping warm inside your business premises, such as closing doors, having a long-sleeved uniform option or fixing air leaks, before your heating system gets switched on.

Heating and cooling costs may make up quite a significant part of your electricity use, so you might like to:

  • Stop heat escaping. If you usually leave your door open, consider closing it to reduce heat escape. You could pop a sign on your door to let customers know you’re open (and always exploring new ways to improve your energy efficiency). 
  • Check your temperature settings. In winter, an energy efficient temperature setting is between 19C and 22C. This is generally a comfortable temperature, especially compared with outside conditions, and for every degree the thermostat goes up, you could be adding to your electricity costs. 
  • Use a timer. By leaving your heating on all day, you might be use using more electricity than you realise. You could also consider turning your heating off the hour before and after your usual hours of operation,  which could reduce the amount of electricity used to save on your heating and cooling costs, when setting up, prepping, or closing down for the day. 

Tip #3: Look at your lighting

Showing your products and services in the right light is essential - but it’s important to consider how lighting contributes to your electricity use. The way you need to light your space will be different for every business, but you might like to:

  • Switch off when you can. Use signage to encourage your employees to turn off lights when they leave the room. Some spaces in your workplace, such as meeting rooms, don’t need to be lit all the time. To make sure areas are only lit when they are being used, you could set timers or sensors which turn on the lights only when required. 
  • Choose LEDs. Check that your light bulbs are the most energy-efficient option and consider replacing any incandescent bulbs for LEDs.
  • Make the most of natural light. In winter months, open your blinds and make the most of natural light, and if lighting is required, switch it on only in the areas it’s needed. If you receive direct sunlight through your windows, this could have the added bonus of helping to warm your space too.
  • Add windows or skylights. Lighting in sheds or warehousing can consume a lot of electricity. You could consider adding windows or skylights to make the most of natural lighting. 

Tip #4: Reflect on your refrigeration

Whether you have cold storage, cool rooms, freezers, product display fridges, or just a break-room fridge for staff lunches, you could consider:  

  • Conduct an audit. Take a look at the type of fridges, and other refrigeration appliances that you have and where they are positioned. Consider factors such as where your cool room is located, particularly if it receives direct sun, if you could replace panels for more energy efficient versions, or add a door cover to walk-in fridges and freezers to keep the cold air in. Using covers over display fridges overnight can help to keep cold air from escaping. An energy audit can provide information about how to run your refrigeration in the most energy efficient way. 
  • Check the lighting in your fridge. Some types of lighting may generate heat, and increase the temperature within a fridge, which may increase your electricity consumption as your fridge might need to use more electricity to stay cold. If this is the case, switching to LED lights may assist.
  • Plan your storage. If you have a cool room, spreading stock out evenly to ensure the cold air is circulating means that your refrigeration may not need to work so hard to stay cool.

Tip #5: Check your equipment and appliances

These tips could help to reduce your energy use at any time of year, but the winter months could be the perfect time to adopt some new habits. You might like to:

  • Switch off when you can. Standby power can add to your energy costs - so take a look around your premises.  The appliances, devices and equipment you can switch off overnight will depend on your business, but you could find some easy wins by switching off chargers, photocopiers, printers and the coffee machine at the end of each working day.
  • Look for the star-rating. Every time you need a new appliance or piece of equipment for your business, take a close look at the Energy Rating Label. The more stars it has, the better. Higher-rated appliances might cost more upfront but generally save you in running costs in the longer term.

Get more energy efficiency tips for business

Our Energy Savings Checklist has more tips which may help you to reduce your energy use during cooler weather and can help you understand what needs to be done to improve your business’ energy efficiency.