Along with other business expenses, the rising cost of energy in Australia can be a headache for small business owners.
According to the general manager of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland, Kate Whittle, the high prices are putting small business owners in a difficult position.
“Businesses are either passing those increases in costs on to customers, seeing reduced profit, or they are reducing their staff levels,” Ms Whittle said.
While the actual price of energy may be beyond your control, there are many ways you can curb your small business’s energy consumption, and save big on your energy bills.
Transform the way you use energy
Changing your business’s energy consumption habits is the first step to reducing your energy bills. Even simple energy-saving measures can lead to large savings – and make your small business more sustainable to boot.
Changes you can make include:
- Encouraging staff to turn off computer monitors, lights and all electrical equipment at the end of each day
- Installing sensor timers on lights, so they automatically switch off when areas aren’t in use
- Making sure after-hours cleaners switch off lights when they leave
- Regularly servicing tools and equipment, so they don’t use more power than they need.
And if you’re not already using energy efficient light bulbs – start! They last up to 10 times longer and are up to seven times more efficient than alternative lights. They also emit a more natural-looking light, which can help create a softer, more welcoming atmosphere for your team and your customers
Invest in smart climate control
While it may be tempting to cut back on heating and air conditioning, the wrong adjustment can leave your staff and customers sweating or shivering – and hurt your productivity and sales.
The smarter solution is to invest in a programmable thermostat, so you can set up a climate control schedule that suits your small business.
For example, if your business works during normal office hours, you’d need more heating in the morning. You could therefore program your thermostat to start early, reduce the heat during the day when it’s warmer, and shut off completely overnight.
If your business doesn’t work to a set schedule, it might be worth considering spending a bit more on a smart thermostat. This calculates your energy needs and adjusts the temperature accordingly.
Installing passive energy-saving measures is a great way to make your business more sustainable and reduce your energy bills over the long term. These include:
- Light-blocking curtains and blinds: These are an easy way to regulate your workspace temperature, and reduce your reliance on air conditioning and heating. They can block out the hot afternoon sun in summer, and trap heat during the cooler months.
- Double-glazed windows: These provide more efficient insulation from changing temperatures, so you can reduce your energy consumption.
- Renewable energy: As well as being more sustainable, there are a range of government grants and rebates available for small businesses who install renewable energy systems. For example, small-scale technology certificates (STCs) can be sold for profit or exchanged for energy discounts, while feed-in tariffs pay you for the excess you send back to the electricity grid.
If you’re keen to invest in smart ways to reduce your energy bills, a Prospa small business loan can help.