Cost of living crisis: how business services companies could make savings on their energy costs

Companies offering business services such as cleaning, catering and security are among those most impacted by rising inflation. Here are some pointers for making savings on your energy costs.

We've partnered with Octopus Energy to offer some short- and long-term fixes that could help your business reduce energy costs. The short-term tweaks require little or no upfront investment and could have an immediate impact on costs. The steps to long-term savings may require some additional investment, but could improve your cash flow well into the future.

Maria Dolan, our Sector Manager for Consumer Industries, says: “With the trajectory of energy and fuel costs continuing to rise, efficient management to support cash flow and control operational costs has never been more important. To recognise the impact on the business services sector and to support expectations that businesses need to map their pathway to net zero by 2030 through effective transition plans, we have been working with our partners at Octopus Energy. This article provides a series of sector-specific tips that could be implemented by businesses immediately as well as investment ideas for the long term to generate potential cost savings and possibly an element of energy independence.”

Five short-term tips for your business

1. Choose the right tariff

How and when you use your energy should determine your choice of energy tariff. Depending on your meter type, you can opt for an Economy 7 tariff, which will give you both a day unit rate and a night unit rate. If you have energy-intensive appliances that you can programme to come on at night – for example ovens, dishwashers, or heating and cooling systems – you can make use of the cheaper night-time unit rate. 

2. Switch off

Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when switched off, and encouraging staff to be mindful of this could help save costs. Ask employees to enable sleep mode when not using a computer for more than 20 minutes, and remember that screen savers are not energy savers – in fact, they can even use more energy than leaving the screen active. Computers and monitors should be switched off if not being used for more than two hours, and when equipment isn’t being used for an extended period, unplug it. These are just a few examples, but engaging employees in a conversation about small changes could make a big difference. 

3. Reduce water temperature and consumption

Less water consumed means a lower water bill and a lower energy bill. Low-water-consumption showers and toilets, automatic shower controls, and tap aerators – clever devices that reduce the amount of water flowing through a tap without losing water pressure – are some of the tools you can use to do this. You can also avoid running appliances such as washing machines on half loads, and try turning down the water temperature on your boiler. As well as using less energy to heat the water, this helps reduce standby losses – where heat escapes from the water heater because the water is already hot. 

4. Keep it clean

Ensure that air conditioning units and refrigeration and freezer systems are kept clean and free from dust, debris and obstruction. While it may seem a simple step, this could produce big results in efficiency, helping to bring down your energy bills. It could also extend the lifetime of the machines.

5. Maintain your equipment

Service your boiler annually, check your refrigerators and freezers are not leaking fluid or cold air, and test any technology you have, such as computers or servers, to make sure it’s all operating efficiently. While there may be some costs involved, you could save money on your energy and fuel bills in the long run. It also helps if you delay switching on heating or air conditioning until later in the year.

Remember that screen savers are not energy savers – in fact, they can even use more energy than leaving the screen active

Four steps to potential long-term savings

1. Use smart thermometers 

Smart thermometers and automatic timers will give you greater control over your heating and cooling. You can programme them to make sure the heating is off when the office is empty, for example at weekends, then comes on again just before people arrive for work. You can also use a smart thermometer to turn the heating or cooling off once the room has reached a specified temperature. 

2. Use fewer fridges and freezers

It’s often cheaper to run one larger unit than two smaller ones. By more effectively using the space you have, you may find you’re able to make do with fewer units. 

3. Generate your own energy 

You could save money through on-site generation by installing solar panels on your roof, or elsewhere on your work premises. With the cost of electricity rising quickly, investing in assets that could produce your own power could lead to significant long-term savings. If you don’t use all the energy you generate, you can sell it back to the grid for an additional revenue stream. 

4. Electrify your fleet

As the prices of petrol and diesel rise, your employees and your business will be facing higher charges. Switching to electric vehicles and installing charge points in your car park could help both you and your employees to save on vehicle running costs.

Support for your business as costs rise

Feeling the pressure of rising costs? You're not alone. Find services, resources and guidance, which could help you cut costs and plan for what's ahead. 

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

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