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Energy saving tips

Saving energy around your business does require some effort, but if you start with a couple of small changes, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Have a look through the following tips and try implementing the easy ones first, then go from there.

Top energy saving tips for your business

Keep your thermostat at the right temperature

For summer that’s between 21-25ºC and for winter that’s between 18-20ºC.**

Replace old refrigeration units

New fridges and freezers use 40% less energy than ones that are 15 years old.**

Install energy efficient lighting

Lighting accounts for 10-25% of electricity bills, so it’s worthwhile.**

Be guided by the energy star rating

When buying new equipment, the more stars the better.

Switch off standby

Did you know that many business premises are empty for 72% of the year *.  That can mean a lot of equipment sitting in standby mode, contributing towards 10% of your bill.

  1. Plug in timers

    Add plug timers to any appliances not required to run during the night e.g. drink fridges, vending machines, microwaves. 

    Effort: Not too hard (2 Stars)

  2. Install insulation

    Insulation actually works; it keeps the heat out in summer and stops heat escaping in winter. 

    If you have a timber home you may also want to consider insulating the walls and even the floor if it is raised off the ground.
    Where possible, use a good quality, high rated insulation. Silver foil on both sides of the insulation gives maximum effect. 

    Extract vents in the roof will also help heat escape from the roof cavity. If your roof needs repainting, choosing a light colour can also help.

  3. Create a 'switch off' and 'on' process

    Get your team involved and make a checklist of all the appliances you don't need to run overnight. At the end of the day use this list to switch these appliances off at the wall. Use the list again every morning to switch back on.

    Effort: Too easy (1 Star)

Heating and cooling tips

A quick win that can make a difference to your bill is to set your thermostat to the right temperature, at the right times of the year. 

You could increase how much heating and cooling contributes to your bill by 10% for every degree you add in winter and every degree you decrease in summer.** 

  1. Set the thermostat to the season

    Don’t overheat or cool; set appropriate temperature limits in the range of 21°C to 25°C. 

    Effort: Too easy (1 Star)

  2. Keep your thermostat away from the extremes (and staff)

    To make sure your thermostat is telling the truth, make sure it's installed away from heat radiating equipment like fridges, direct sunlight or servers. 

    Also keep it away from draughty areas near doorways or in areas with lower air movement like behind an open door. Plus, make sure your staff can't make any changes.

    Effort: It’s achievable (3 Stars)

  3. Have a 'windows open' day

    When the suns out but it's not too hot, switch your air-con off, open the windows and let the breeze in.

    Effort: Too easy (1 Star)

  4. Take the heat off with a heat recovery system

    If your business generates a fair bit of heat, particularly in manufacturing or in busy kitchens, consider a heat recovery system which extracts moist, hot air with cooler, dry air sourced from outside.

    Effort: It’s achievable (3 Stars)

  5. Make your heating and cooling system's job easier

    Close off internal doors to unused rooms and use light coloured blinds to prevent heat transfer through the glass.

    Effort: Not too hard (2 Stars)

  6. Go more insular

    Investigate improving insulation, or retrofitting double glazing, window tinting and reflective coating to your business premise. Just by installing the right insulation and draught proofing could reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 40%.

    Effort: Not too hard (2 Stars)

Switch to efficient lighting

Lighting normally contributes between 10–25% towards your electricity bill. But for bigger premises it can play a bigger role, making up 50% of your consumption. 

The good news is that it's pretty simple and easy to reduce the effect lighting can have on your bill. By implementing the tips below, businesses could reduce their lighting energy use by up to 82%.^^

  1. Switch off when you leave the room

    This one is super simple and one that all your staff can help out with. Whenever a room, bathroom or office is unused, switch off the lights.

    Effort: Too easy (1 Star)

  2. Install motion sensors

    Take the switch off rule one step further and automate it. Install motion sensors that automatically switch on and off the lights in areas used infrequently during opening hours. 

    These include places like toilets, lunch rooms, warehouses, print rooms and meeting rooms. 

    Effort: Not too hard (2 Stars)

  3. Install energy efficient lights (go for LED)

    If you switch to a light bulb that uses 70% less energy, then that's 70% less that light fitting contributes to your bill.

    LED downlights can last up to 50,000 hours, 25 times longer than halogen downlights - that's 1 LED for every 24 halogens.

    Plus, the longer your lights last, the less often you need maintenance to change your lights.

    Effort: Not too hard (2 Stars)

  4. Remove lights from over lit areas

    If some areas of your premise are super bright then consider delamping. This just means removing some of the light bulbs to reduce the amount of light fittings using energy. Start with areas that get loads of natural light.

    Effort: Not too hard (2 Stars)

  5. Zone your lighting and install motion sensors

    Split your premise in to different areas so you allocate a new light switch for each area. This makes it easier to switch off whole areas that are not being used.

    Effort: It’s achievable (3 Stars)

Refrigeration tips

These appliances are found across most businesses and run 24hrs a day. Especially for businesses like cafes, restaurants and grocery stores, this can be a major cost factor affecting their bill. Even just replacing a fridge that's more than 15 years old, can potentially reduce your refrigeration energy costs by up to 40%.**

  1. Set an energy-efficient temp

    Your fridge temperature should be below 5°C and your freezer should be set between -15°C and -18°C. For every degree colder, you could increase your running costs. 

    Effort: Easy enough

  2. Check the seals are up to scratch

    If you can slip paper through the seal and the door, it is time to replace them. New door seals can improve energy efficient by 10%.

    Effort: Not too hard (2 Stars)

  3. Don't under or overfill your fridge or freezer

    Strike the right balance with your meal prep and grocery habits. Cooling sparse shelves is not energy efficient, but overcrowded shelves will generally take more energy to cool.

    Effort: A bit more effort

  4. Switch off fridges not in use

    If you have multiple fridges, try and combine the contents in to 1 fridge whenever possible and switch off the spare. 

    Switching off a 400-500 litre fridge alone can save up to $180 a year.

    Effort: Not too hard (2 Stars)

  5. Keep your fridges away from the hot stuff

    Especially in kitchens that tend to heat up, try and position your fridge away from other appliances and give it some space. The hotter the fridge, the more energy it uses to maintain the temperature,

    Don't forget to leave your fridge some space - at least 50–80mm between the wall and the back of your fridge.  This gives the coils enough ventilation, avoiding reducing energy efficiency by up to 15%.

    Effort: Not too hard (2 Stars)

Office equipment tips

When you mention insulation, most people think of batts in the roof. But it’s more than that.
It involves anything that:
keeps the heat in during winter
keeps excessive heat out during summer.

Without insulation, a significant amount of the energy that is used to heat or cool your business can be lost. 

By installing the correct insulation and draught-proofing for your premise, you can reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 40%.^^

  1. Switch to laptops

    Swap your desktop and monitor for a more energy efficient laptop. This change alone, could reduce your computing energy costs by up to 80–90%. 

    Effort: It’s achievable (3 Stars)

  2. Put your server in the cloud

    Computer servers generate quite a bit of heat and can consume a lot of energy (depending on their size). For larger businesses it's worth considering an off-site server or virtual server to help reduce your energy costs. 

    Effort: It’s achievable (3 Stars)

    The company hosting your virtual server takes on the responsibility of optimising its performance and you get the benefit of reduced energy and cooling costs.

    Effort: It's achievable (3 stars)

  3. Swap your computer screen saver for sleep

    Change the settings of your computer so it goes to sleep/on standby whenever there's 20-20 minutes of inactivity. A sleeping computer only uses around 10% of energy compared to when its powered up. 

    Effort: Too easy (1 Star)

  4. Go paper-free

    Save on paperwork and reduce your printing costs by sending an electronic version of documents instead.

    If you really have to print, change your settings to print double-sided and print in black and white.

    Effort: Too easy (1 star)

Don't forget the small print
*Source: Energy Rating
^ Source: Sustainability Victoria - Insulation & Draught Proofing
^^ Source: NSW Environment & Heritage - Energy Efficient Lighting Report 2014 
** Source: Australian Government Your Home