4 Easy and Effective Ways to Reduce Your Office Energy Bills 32

4 Easy and Effective Ways to Reduce Your Office Energy Bills

This is a guest post by Elliot Waterhouse, web content manager for Selectra and a digital marketing enthusiast that loves modern design and seeing the world.

Efficiency is important to any company.

Whether it be ROI or employee productivity, the most important thing is that we gain as much as possible from each penny that we spend.

One of the areas in which businesses most frequently forget about this is energy.

It is estimated that over half of businesses in the UK overspend on their office energy bills, primarily through severe lack of efficiency and being on the wrong tariffs.

Not only is this bad for the company’s bank balance, but it is also contributing towards the growing issue of climate change and fossil fuel depletion.

Doing your bit for the environment and saving money in the process doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s four simple and effective ways in which you can do it with your company’s office energy bills:

1. Implement green measures.

Making your company green is a great way to reduce the actual amount of energy that you use, therefore immediately reducing the amount you spend.

This is also a great way to attract PR attention. Being a green company at present shows that you care about the environment and can help you build much better customer loyalty.

Improving your energy efficiency through green measures can be done in a number of ways, such as:

  • Encourage digital copies of documents that don’t need to be printed.

Saving on printing reduces your overall energy usage, paper costs and ink costs.

The average office printer costs around £312 per year in electricity alone.

  • Upgrade your light fixtures.

Lighting makes up around 25% of the average office electricity bill, which means great care needs to be taken in what type of bulbs you are using.

Upgrading from halogen to LED or CFL can reduce your usage by up to 75%.

  • Be wary of your office temperature.

Offices frequently overheat and over-cool rooms during times of great cold and heat.

The ideal office temperature for comfort and productivity is said to be between 20-21°C. So make sure you’re not overspending on your temperature control and thus increasing your office energy bills.

  • Install rooms that are erratically occupied with motion sensored light switches.

This way you ensure you are not paying for rooms to be lighted when nobody is in them. Good examples of this are bathrooms, conference rooms and dining areas.

See more ways to increase office energy efficiency here.

2. Switch your gas and electricity supplier.

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Switching your energy tariffs isn’t restricted to your home.

A huge amount of businesses in the UK, namely SMEs, are overpaying on their home or office energy bills by thousands of pounds per year solely due to not having changed their tariff.

Even if you have switched in the past to a fixed deal, once the agreed term has ended (usually one or two years), you’ll be automatically switched over to the supplier’s standard variable tariff, which is usually the most expensive they have.

Here’s an example of just how drastic the difference is between tariffs that provide the exact same product:

  • Region: North Yorkshire
  • Type: Electricity
  • Usage: 245,000 kWh per year
  • EDF Energy’s ‘Fixed for Business 71 to Sep 18’: £28,839.52 per year
  • EDF Energy’s ‘Business Connect 71 to June 18’: £46,195.43 per year

For exactly the same usage, the same product, you could be overpaying by over £17,000 per year for zero reward.

Prices alter constantly, which is why homes and businesses across the country make a habit of changing and fixing their tariffs on a semi-regular basis to avoid these types of overpayment.

3. Get a smart meter.

Requesting a smart meter installation from your energy supplier will allow you to have much more control over the amount of energy you use and your office energy bills will be smaller.

Monitoring your usage in both kWh and £ is an easy way to target the areas of your business in which you need to reduce energy costs.

This will also save you time sending meter readings, giving you accurate, real-time readings that will automatically be transmitted to your energy supplier, eliminating the possibility of estimated readings.

Depending on the size of your business, it is unlikely that this will be the case anyway, but there is no need to risk receiving a bill that does not reflect your actual spend.

The government has committed to a national rollout of smart meters, hoping that by 2020 every home and business in Great Britain will be installed with a smart meter.

As such, it is likely that regardless of the action you take on this subject, you’ll receive one sometime soon. However, waiting until 2020 is only delaying your savings. Meaning, until then you’ll be left in the dark guessing about your energy usage.

Get ahead of the game and give your supplier a call to install your business with a new smart meter for free and start having office energy bills that are more pleasant to look at.

4. Consider generating some of your own energy.

Investing in small scale generation technology not only contributes towards renewable efforts, taking dependency away from our depleting fossil fuels, but will also fill in for some of your supply provided by your energy supplier, reducing your bill quite considerably.

Solar panels are the most popular form of small scale generation for homes and businesses to top up their energy supply. But they can be quite expensive as an initial investment.

That said, for those companies who meet certain green criteria, the government offers a scheme in which you will receive a 30% discount off the full price.

As an alternative to solar panels, depending on your business type (namely if you have a considerable amount of free outdoor space), it may be possible to generate your own energy through a wind turbine.

This will often require planning permission. However, if a sizeable operation could provide you with a huge amount of energy. That said, once again, it is likely that the initial cost will be quite substantial, but will more than pay for itself in the future.

What is your situation with the office energy bills? And how are you planning on optimizing it?

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 11

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.