Guest Blog: Electric Ireland – Powering back up for business

Energy, Guest Blog, Ireland, Irish News, Partner Content, Sustainability | Tue 6 Jul | Author – Business & Finance

As more businesses reopen as we move through the roadmap for reopening society many companies are taking the opportunity to take stock and review their business to become more efficient.

According to Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the average SME could reduce its energy bill by up to 30% by implementing energy-efficiency measures. It says that up to 10% can be achieved at little or no capital cost. Some investment may be needed to achieve the full savings however, you can generally have payback in about 18 months.

The SEAI has a range of grants available to help your business save on energy costs.

If you are looking for immediate energy savings, however, here are some cost-savings measures you can implement:

Get your lights right  

  • Take advantage of natural light. Clear away any items blocking windows, such as filing cabinets.
  • Turn off all lights when not in use. Lights in meeting rooms and storage areas are often left on unnecessarily.
  • Sensors are particularly useful in toilet facilities and break-out areas – occupancy sensors alone can cut energy use from lighting by 30%.
  • External flood light can be expensive. A single 500w flood light will cost around €250 a year if it’s left on for 12 hours overnight.
  • Switch to LED lights or high frequency T5 fluorescent lights. These can save 45% in energy costs compared to T8 and T12 tubes. And switching your halogen light bulbs to LEDs can cut your lighting costs by up to 80%.

Get smart with electronics 

  • Ensure you have energy-efficient equipment. Laptop computers consume significantly less electricity than desktop computers. But if you are using desktops, make sure you have energy-efficient monitors.
  • When replacing any equipment, be it computers, printers, machinery or motors, choose items with the highest possible efficiency. They might cost more but payback through cost-savings will be swift, and worth it.
  • Switch off all electronics when not in use. This means turning them off at the plug. Even in standby mode they are using 20% of the energy they would consume if they were switched on.

Laptop computers consume significantly less electricity than desktop computers.

Get employees on board 

  • Energy savings and energy efficiency should be part of your business culture. Appoint an employee energy ambassador to oversee and manage use of energy – they can encourage workers to take simple cost-saving measures such as boiling just the amount of water they need, keeping the fridge door closed and turning off kitchen appliances when not in use.
  • Print less. Reducing the use of paper is not only good for the environment but reduces the energy required to run printers and photocopiers.

Reduce peak demand 

  • If you can, stagger work patterns or create a shift system so all your workers are not on-site when electricity costs are at a premium.
  • Check with Electric Ireland for the best price plans for your business.

Make better use of office space 

  • If some or many of your employees are working remotely, it may be time to look critically at your office space. You might find that you could well do with a smaller facility which could yield a significant cash benefit and have lower energy costs. Encourage and maintain remote working as far as possible – making good use of virtual platforms for meetings. This again will help cut energy costs – and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Look after your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC)  

  • Regular maintenance of your HVAC system will lead to cost savings in the long run as units will last longer and require few repair costs.
  • Use fans. Moving air can make higher temperatures feel more comfortable and reduce the need for air conditioning. It is a much cheaper alternative to air conditioning, which can double your energy bill. Make sure to turn off the air conditioning in meeting rooms when meetings are over.

Appoint an employee energy ambassador to oversee and manage use of energy – they can encourage workers to take simple cost-saving measures such as boiling just the amount of water they need, keeping the fridge door closed and turning off kitchen appliances when not in use.

Programme your thermostats 

  • Making small adjustments to how long your heat is on, and to the thermostat settings can have a sizeable impact on your bill. Set your heating at 19°C (18°C is fine for corridors and storerooms) and cooling set at 24°C or higher. Be mindful of your thermostats if you have different working hours at the weekend.
  • Invest in smart thermostats which can be controlled remotely giving you access to your HVAC settings 24/7 – savings at your fingertips.

Energy audit 

  • An energy audit is a review of your company’s energy use. An audit involves a full inspection of your facility and all your equipment that consumes electricity. After the inspection, the auditor will make a series of energy-saving recommendations. To find a registered, independent energy auditor in your area, click here to see the full list on the SEAI website. Once you understand your usage, savings will follow.

Weigh up your transportation costs 

  • If you have a fleet of vehicles on the road, check out whether electric vehicles (EVs) would work for your company. Electric vehicles are far cheaper to run and can be charged overnight using low-tariff electricity.

Learn more about what Electric Ireland can offer your business at electricireland.ie/business