Our top 16 summer energy saving tips for business
From restaurants and retailers, to automotive dealers and aged care providers, there are energy saving tips that could help any business owner to reduce their energy use.
In the summer months, your electricity consumption could be higher than other times of the year, which can have an impact on your energy costs. Exploring ways to reduce electricity usage in the workplace could help to reduce your electricity costs, which could be good for your bottom line.
As the temperature rises, here are our top summer energy saving tips for businesses.
BEFORE IT GETS HOT
#1. Understand your electricity consumption
An energy audit can help you to identify areas for improvement and explore how to reduce your electricity usage in the workplace. There might be an upfront cost but it could help to improve your energy efficiency in the long term and reduce your electricity costs, especially over the summer months.
You could also conduct your own energy audit of your premises. Look for ways you could use less electricity to potentially reduce your electricity costs in your work areas, storage spaces and staffrooms.
If your business is not already using My Account, register to start taking advantage of the features available. This could help you to track your electricity usage and costs, which can help you to plan ahead and potentially modify your electricity consumption.
#2. Start planning for hot days ahead
Consider getting your electrical appliances and equipment serviced or cleaned ahead of the summer months. For example, your air conditioner, exhaust fans or air filters might need to be cleaned to make sure they’re working at optimum efficiency.
Installing timers and sensors can help to make sure you only use electrical equipment, appliances and lighting when they are needed, rather than running them all day. Before the summer months could be the perfect time to source and install these devices to help make your business more energy efficient.
#3. Be aware of peak demand
Your capacity charges are calculated according to your business’ electricity usage on Peak Demand Days in the previous year's summer. The Peak Demand Days are the four days with the highest demand in the network from 1 December to 31 March each year. Understanding capacity charges and when periods of peak demand usually occur and planning ahead could help you to reduce your capacity charges you have to pay the following year.
Here’s a quick summary:
- Peak Demand Days are generally the hottest days in summer.
- Demand for electricity is generally highest between 4pm and 8pm each day.
- By being aware of when peak demand usually occurs, your businesses could plan ahead to determine which days are more likely to result in peak electricity usage levels. It could then put in place a plan to reduce electricity usage on these days during the period from 4pm to 8pm to potentially avoid higher capacity charges the following year.
Learn more about how to manage your capacity charges. If you’re eligible, your business could also sign up for our Peak Demand Notification Subscription Service to let you know when the Peak Demand Days are predicted to occur.*
* Synergy's Peak Demand Notification Subscription Service is offered in Synergy's sole discretion. Terms and conditions apply.
YOUR TEAM & THEIR EQUIPMENT
#4. Get your team on board to help reduce your energy costs
Add energy efficiency to the agenda for your next staff meeting. Your team could have some great ideas to help reduce your energy consumption over summer, especially since they have specialised knowledge about your business processes, equipment and operations.
Getting them involved early could pay off throughout the season as you work together to create an energy efficient workplace. For example, you could set an energy savings goal together, outline the steps you’ll take to achieve it – and even plan how you’ll celebrate!
#5. Choose the most energy efficient equipment
If it is time to replace your equipment or appliances, consider options with the highest energy efficiency rating. These could cost more compared to less efficient options, but the running costs could be lower over the lifespan of the item.
#6. Make the most of in-built energy saving modes
Make sure your team are familiar with the manuals which come with each item of equipment they use. This will help ensure the equipment is used in the way it is intended, and likely provide for better performance.
The manual may also include details of any energy-saving modes or options . For example, your computers, laptops and other equipment might have a hibernate feature which can be activated during lunch breaks or other times the equipment is not in use.
YOUR OFFICE SPACE
#7. Use your air conditioning carefully
Running your air conditioning all day long could be adding to your electricity costs. Be aware of the hottest times of the day and plan ahead to cool your space during these times, if this suits your business.
If it suits your operations, try to use fans rather than air conditioning. Fans can help to circulate cool air and keep everyone comfortable without the higher levels of electricity usage needed for your air conditioner to function.
#8. Set your temperature settings for energy efficiency
The temperature of your workspace and staff areas can have a big impact on your electricity costs.
Check your thermostat is set at a comfortable but reasonable temperature – we recommend setting your air conditioning to 24C in summer. The smaller the difference between the temperature outside and inside, the lower the amount of energy required to run your air conditioner.
#9. Stop air leaks where possible
Check the seals on your doors and windows to make sure there are no air leaks, which could mean your air conditioner is working harder than it needs to.
Don’t cool the spaces you don’t need – and keep doors shut in between rooms so you’re only cooling the areas you’re using.
#10. Choose energy efficient lighting
If you’re in the habit of having all your lights switched on all day in all areas, you could reduce your electricity usage by turning lights off or using dimmer switches where you can.
Take advantage of natural light whenever possible and use activity-based lighting such as lamps if required. Many business owners choose to have sensor lights installed in areas which are only used at certain times – such as in meeting and break rooms.
If you’re not already using LED or CFL globes, we recommend switching to these as they generally use considerably less electricity compared with traditional incandescent options.
#11. Look at your window treatments
While it’s important to make the most of natural lighting, in the summer months, it’s also important to remember that light creates heat.
If the hot sun streams down through your office windows during the day, you could keep the heat at bay by pulling the blinds down during the hottest parts of the day.
You could also consider investing in quality window treatments, which could include tinting or block-out blinds. Keeping the heat out means your cooling systems don’t need to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature.
#12. Consider airflow for energy efficiency
If you’re in the food industry, run a floristry business or have other temperature-sensitive stock to store, it’s likely that you have a cool room.
To improve your summer energy efficiency, make sure your cool room is not too full. Adequate airflow is crucial in your fridges and cool room and it is important to organise them correctly to enable them to work at their optimum efficiency. If there is no space between your products, the cool air can’t flow as easily. This means your cool room might need to work harder to get those products that are stacked closely together to the right temperature.
Be sure to check that your thermostat and defrost settings match what you need to maintain your stock at the correct temperature.
#13. Keep the cool air in
If you have a cool room or large stock fridges, try to plan ahead to keep as much of the cool air inside as possible. This can stop air leaks, which could mean your refrigeration systems need to work harder to keep your stock cold. Start by checking the seals to make sure these are airtight.
You could also consider loading or unloading your cool room or fridges in batches to reduce the number of times you need to open the door. It’s may also be worthwhile considering an air curtain to keep cool air in and hot air out.
OTHER SUMMER ENERGY SAVERS
#14. Run your pool and spa efficiently
If your business premises have a pool or spa, consider an energy-saving pool pump and filtration system. Only run your filter as required, not all day. Remember to always follow the manufacturer recommendations.
If you know your pool or spa won’t be used at certain times, cover it up to prevent heat loss and help keep the water temperature comfortable. You could also consider a solar pool cover to heat your pool or spa.
#15. Consider your hot water costs
Almost every business uses hot water in some way – so you may be able to find ways to be more energy efficient with your hot water heating. Choosing the most energy efficient hot water system could help you to reduce your overall electricity usage in the summer months.
Consider timers on your taps to reduce the amount of hot water used throughout the day –this could also have the added benefit of making sure taps can’t be being left running by accident.
Consider hot drinks too. For instance, most of your staff might prefer cool drinks during the summer months. If only one or two prefer a cup of tea, a small kettle for the break room could be enough, rather than a hot water urn running throughout the day.
#16. Put WA’s sunshine to work for your business
If your business uses most of its electricity during the day when the sun is shining, you could be in the perfect position to take advantage of commercial solar power.
With solar panels on your roof, you could use the electricity generated by your solar PV system to help power your business during the day, rather than drawing that electricity from the grid. The size and type of solar PV system that will suit your business will depend on a range of factors – so speak to an accredited solar supplier for a quote.
If your business already has a solar PV system, make sure you’re taking advantage of the potential savings by using the electricity it generates for your business.
The key is to use as much of the electricity generated by your solar PV system during the day as possible, when your solar panels are generating electricity – unless you have a battery. This could be achieved by making some simple habit switches, such as running your dishwasher, washing machine or IT back-ups during the day rather than overnight.
Our Energy Savings Checklist has more tips to help you reduce your energy use during warmer weather and can help you understand what could be done to help you improve your business’ energy efficiency.