Energy efficiency tips for small business

Ground-roots business makes up the fabric of the Australian economy. There were some 2 million companies operating in Australia in June last year - and 97 per cent of these were small businesses according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. With such a high proportion of Australians working under the SME umbrella, even the most tiniest change to your company's energy practices can make a difference to the country's environmental impact. 

With gas and electricity prices rising, making the move towards more energy efficient habits can not only reduce your business's carbon footprint, but save you money as well - and it could even provide a point of difference for your customers. Here are some points to keep in mind when reducing your business's energy usage. 

Team effort 

Business is a team sport. The first thing to do when making an effort to cut down on your company's energy bills is to get everyone on board. Consider setting up a committee or team that monitors how things are going around the office and where you can make improvements. Empowering staff to take initiative and make good choices is half the battle - and sets you on the right path towards reducing the amount you pay to your electricity and gas suppliers

To further guide guide your efforts to cut down, figure out how your business consumes energy. If you operate a cafe or restaurant, your gas prices might be higher due to the cook tops and ovens, while an office block might spend more on lighting and air conditioning. 

Make the change

With everyone on the bandwagon, try making small changes. Encourage staff to turn monitors and printers off at the end of the day, and switch off lights when they have finished using a room. You can also replace old lighting with energy efficient models and even reduce the number of lights in your workplace. Set a timer for your air conditioners and heaters - and lock it to prevent people from adjusting the temperature.

The office kitchen can use a large amount of power. Ensure microwaves, dishwashers and refrigerators have a high energy rating and monitor that they are being used responsibly. By positioning the office fridge in a space out of direct sun and away from other appliances, you can also decrease how much energy it uses. 

Check eligibility 

There are a number of initiatives across Australia that encourage businesses to reduce their energy consumption, so it's worth investigating what your small enterprise might be eligible for. Small businesses in South Australia, for example, can trim their energy bills by joining the state government's Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme, which offers financial assistance for installing energy efficient appliances and even insulation. 

Posted by Richard West