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Switching energy supplier is the quickest and easiest way to make a dent in your business gas and electricity bills. But if you want to cut costs even further, and over a sustained period of time, you’ll need to make your business more energy efficient.

Energy costs can contribute significantly to your business's bottom line, which should be incentive enough to make sure your company is using energy as efficiently as possible. Research from the Carbon Trust suggests that cutting your usage by 20% can have the same impact on profits as a 5% increase in sales.

But before you start making changes, it’s worth finding out how much energy a business the size of yours is using, and how much it should be paying for gas and electricity each year.

Average business electricity prices and usage

Business size Average annual usage (kWh) Average price (per kWh) Standing charge (daily) Average annual price
Microbusiness 5,000 – 15,000 13p – 13.5p 26p – 30p £650 - £1,800
Small business 15,000 – 30,000 11.8p – 13p 24p – 26p £1,900 - £2,900
Medium business 30,000 – 50,000 11.3p – 11.8p 21p – 23p £3,300 - £5000

Please note: The figures given above are based on industry averages and are only intended as a guide. It’s worth remembering that many contributing factors can impact the amount that you pay for your business electricity, including consumption habits and the location of your business premises.

Average business gas prices and usage

Business size Average annual usage (kWh) Average price (per kWh) Standing charge (daily) Average annual price
Microbusiness 5,000 – 15,000 4.1p – 4.5p 23p – 26p £300 - £700
Small business 15,000 – 30,000 3.8p – 4p 21p – 22p £800 - £1,400
Medium business 30,000 – 50,000 3.5p – 3.7p 18p – 20p £1,500 - £2,000

Please note: The figures given above are based on industry averages and are only intended as a guide. It’s worth remembering that many contributing factors can impact the amount that you pay for your business electricity, including consumption habits and the location of your business premises.

Once you have a rough idea of how much energy your business should be using, you can look at ways to reduce its usage – the good news is, just a few simple changes can make a big difference.

Carry out an energy audit

If you’re serious about making your business more energy efficient, the first thing you need to do is carry out an energy audit to help identify any areas in which your business could reduce the amount of energy it uses, and help you prioritise those changes that will maximise the impact.

You can hire a professional to do this for you, or if your building is small enough, you can do your own energy walk around the building.

Take a check list with you and identify opportunities to reduce output. It’s a good idea to do this twice, once at a time of day when you would expect high levels of energy to be used, and then once again at an expected low time. Varying the times of your walk rounds will provide a better picture of when and where energy might be being wasted.

Install energy efficient lighting

The way in which you light your workplace can have a huge effect on how much energy your business uses, and simply changing your lighting can help cut your energy costs. Energy saving lightbulbs and LED lights tend to be a bit more expensive than standard bulbs, but use 80% less energy on average which will save you money in the long run.

It’s also a worth installing motion sensors to make sure lights aren’t left on overnight, or when rooms aren’t in use, and create seating plans that make the most of any natural light.

Make the most of the heating

It sounds obvious, but making sure that all your windows are double glazed will greatly reduce your heating costs – although there will be an initial investment cost, this will be quickly offset by the savings you make. It’s also worth considering fitting doors with self-closing hinges to help keep heat in occupied rooms, and use draught excluders to plug any gaps around doors and windows.

Consider fitting radiator boosters to reflect lost heat back into the room and reduce the cost of heating an office space, and avoid using portable electric heaters as they are very expensive to run. If you have to though, fit a timer switch so they turn themselves off after a designated period.

Turning the thermostat down even two degrees can drastically reduce energy bills, but make sure you keep within the 18-20°C range to keep staff comfortable. Programmable thermostats can help ensure heating isn’t left on when no one is in the building.

Cool the office naturally

If your office gets hot during the summer months, fitting blinds is a cost-effective way to keep cool by stopping heat from the sun coming in from the windows. If you do have to turn on air conditioning, make sure all windows and any doors leading to unused rooms are closed so the system can run more efficiently.

Use energy efficient office equipment

Older office appliances can waste far more energy than newer models, so replace outdated appliances with new equipment that scores highly on the Energy Star rating (this is the appliance efficiency rating that all equipment must now display).

It’s also worth considering swapping any desktop computers with laptops, as these portable models use around 90% less energy, and switch laser printers for more energy-efficient inkjet models.

And make sure things like kettles, fridges and boilers are all updated over time, to make sure you’re using the most energy efficient models.

Create a green office environment

Encourage recycling by ensuring there are multiple, clearly labelled recycling points all around the office, in kitchens and next to desks and printers particularly. Place informative posters next to recycling bins so that everyone knows what goes where. Stock the stationary cabinet with recycled paper products - paper can be recycled up to five times – and remind staff to think twice before printing to save paper and energy.

Ask staff to turn off their equipment at the end of each day rather than leaving it on stand-by which uses far more energy. You could also designate one person each week to take responsibility for turning off shared equipment such as printers, scanners, microwaves, lights, air conditioners and coffee machines.

Install solar panels

Installing solar panels is a great way to save on the energy you use from your supplier. Although it can cost a lot to set up, there are several grants and loans available to help businesses mitigate the costs (check out Enhanced Capital Allowances, Climate Change Agreements, the EU Emissions Trading System, the Green Deal, Combined Heat and Power and Salix Finance). Once set up, solar panels have a long lifetime and few maintenance problems.

Take regular meter readings

Analysing energy bills and taking regular meter readings will help you to track how energy is being used and let you take control of energy costs. This can help you assess the seasonal pattern of consumption and identify unexpectedly high or unusual patterns of energy use. If you see an unexpected fluctuation, check if some equipment malfunction or change in working method has caused an increase in energy use.

Switching supplier

If you think your business energy bills are too high, switching energy providers or even the tariff can help make a significant cut in overheads.

Speak to one of our commercial energy experts today on 0800 158 5296, or leave your details with us, and we’ll give you a call back. We’ll help to make sure that the tariff you are on is right for your business and see if there is a way for you to make better use of cheaper electricity rates and minimise use during peak rates.

What would you spend your savings on?


or call 0800 158 5296

or call 08001585296

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