Becoming a green business: Four tips to save energy around the workplace

Published: 19 Dec 2014 09:30

Special Report: Energy & Renewables

FOR many businesses, energy saving is written into their corporate social responsibility policy (CSR) from the outset. Along with the rest of the UK, Scotland has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by the year 2050, which means saving energy, using less fuel and rethinking the way many businesses are run.

By Phil Foster of

By Phil Foster of

Renewable energy is one of the best tools for combating climate change and Scotland is no stranger to sustainable power sources. A report from the United Kingdom Committee on Climate Change, published earlier this year, stated that 46 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand was met by renewables in 2013. While the work of renewables is certainly improving the situation, it is definitely a long-term strategy, so what can businesses do to reduce energy use and reverse the effects of climate change right now?

Most businesses are guilty of consuming large amounts of energy throughout the day. With technology dominating industries, we now have computers, phones, printers and many other appliances running for over 12 hours a day to keep our businesses going. According to research by the Carbon Trust, a 20 per cent cut in energy consumption is the same as a 5% increase in sales, so it is in a company’s best interests to limit their energy use.

With this in mind, how can we save energy in our businesses?

Switching energy suppliers

You don’t have to take your energy supplier’s word as law - unbeknown to you there could be a much cheaper energy tariff out there.

As you will already be aware, business energy tariffs can be a lot more expensive in comparison to home energy tariffs and suppliers are often guilty of extending your contract so that you end up locked into a plan that isn’t right for your needs. It is also a common misconception that switching suppliers is a complicated and time-consuming process, however this is simply not true.

Energy price comparison sites allow you to instantly go online and compare hundreds of suppliers and tariffs. All you will need is your usage and current supplier’s details to see if you could make a saving. No matter how large or small your business is, it is always worth having a look to see whether you could save.

Educate your staff

Encourage your staff to become green ambassadors for your company by educating them about the ways in which they can save energy around the workplace.

While you don’t want to sound patronising, remind staff that they need to be conscientious around the workplace. Remind them that simple measures such as remembering to turn off lights when not in the room, switching off appliances such as computers and printers, while also being conscious about their surroundings such as closing doors and windows, can make a big difference to your overall carbon footprint.

By including them in this initiative you will be promoting yourself as a green business, which should secure you more customer loyalty in the long-term, as CSR International research shows that 49% of consumers claim they actively buy from responsible brands.

Heating and lighting

Most businesses demand bright lights and warm rooms to help their staff feel comfortable and focused throughout the day.

Heating equates to 29 per cent of businesses’ energy bills, according to research by the Carbon Trust. As this number is so high, there are definite savings to be made. Instead of turning the heating on and off whenever the temperature fluctuates, have a thermostat set to an average temperature. This will create a steady room temperature so that it never becomes too hot or cold.

Even in workplaces filled with natural light, we are often inclined to switch lights on which can waste a great proportion of energy. Utilise natural light for as long as possible during the day, and then only use the lights you need rather than switching them all on at once. Occupancy sensors are a great tool for businesses because they automatically switch lights off when they have detected no movement for a set amount of time. This ensures lights cannot be forgotten about and left on for long periods when nobody is present.

Become more energy efficient as part of your company’s New Year’s resolution and see how much money you could save.

Phil Foster is a director at, where businesses can compare their energy tariffs.

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