You’ve all seen those middle-aged women being given a new outfit to wear on This Morning, and you may have even caught a few episodes of Snog Marry Avoid?, where guests who dress in an overly-ostentatious way are encouraged to ditch their rows of chin piercings and bright pink hair for a lovely girl-next-door frock and a delightfully-tasteful bob.
We all contemplate giving our appearance a complete makeover from time to time, but have you ever considered giving your home or business an ‘energy makeover’? If not, it’s high time that you did.
What does an energy makeover entail?
This should be fairly self-explanatory. The whole point of an energy makeover is to whip your property into shape, ensuring that it is as eco-friendly and efficient as possible.
British Gas recently announced that it had given Bryn Deri Primary School in Cardiff a £100,000 energy-saving overhaul, after the school had won the energy supplier’s latest competition. With this sizeable chunk of cash, the school received the following:
- Solar panels
- A display screen that not only shows how much power the solar panels are generating, but also says what the weather forecast is and offers energy-saving tips to students and staff.
- LED lighting and controls
- Hot water pipe insulation
As a result of the changes, British Gas says the school should be able to cut its electricity consumption by 39 per cent.
You don’t need £100,000 to give your business an energy makeover
It would be nice to have a six-figure pot of cash available to spend on the latest energy-saving technology, but this is simply not possible for most small businesses. Never fear, as you can significantly slash your energy bills without having to stump up such an eye-watering sum - you just need to be clever, creative and dedicated.
Here are seven ways to give your premises an energy makeover on a budget.
1) Use your notice boards and intranet effectively
You don’t have to fork out loads of money to buy a digital screen that offers useful energy-saving advice to your staff, a la Bryn Deri Primary School. However, it is important that your workers know how they can cut their energy consumption.
Regularly add new tips to your noticeboard and make sure these pearls of wisdom are also in a prominent place on your intranet. If staff see them multiple times a day, the penny is more likely to drop.
2) Install solar panels… for free
Okay, we’ve heard the old adage; you get nothing in this world for free. We know that successfully applying for a solar panel grant or loan doesn’t mean you’ll be getting your panels for absolutely nothing - you’ll pay the money back eventually - but it’s still worth exploring this option.
Cash flow is crucial for all businesses, so if somebody can help you with the initial cost of installing solar panels, you can make savings on your energy bills without overstretching yourself to start with. Our business energy guides explain how you could even end up selling some of the electricity that you generate via feed-in tariffs. Take that, energy companies!
3) Conduct an insulation audit
If you’re a small business in a small property, it pays to make sure that you’ve got adequate insulation, especially if you are based in an older building.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, 45 per cent of heat in an uninsulated building is lost through solid walls, while 20 per cent is lost through windows and doors. While installing double-glazed windows throughout your property is costly, adding a few draught excluders and sealing strips to your external doors won’t break the bank, and such simple measures can have a lasting effect on your energy bills.
4) Start using smart meters
If the government has its way, every building in the UK will have one of these by 2020, so you might as well get used to them now.
We talked about the pros and cons of smart meters in a recent blog article. It’s fair to say they divide opinion, but they can ultimately help you and your staff to see where you are wasting energy unnecessarily.
5) Switch your bulbs
LED bulbs have been unfairly stigmatised. True, the first incarnation of the LED bulb underwhelmed, as they were notorious for being dim, but this technology has developed considerably in recent years.
The Carbon Trust insists that 40 per cent of a building’s electricity use is attributed to lighting, so this is the most obvious place to start making economies. Go around your business and replace all of your old-fashioned bulbs with new LED versions. Again, this won’t cost you a fortune, but it could save you plenty of cash in the long run.
6) Buy a chimney balloon
A lot of small businesses are based in old houses that are converted into corporate premises. Chances are you’ll have blocked all of the building’s old fireplaces off, as they serve little purpose if you have central heating.
However, the chimney is essentially leaving a gaping hole in your roof, so you need to close it off in order to prevent heat from escaping. Chimney balloons are cheap, easy to fit yourself and are designed to allow for ventilation, which ensures your chimney will remain dry and won’t cause damp to seep through into your property.
7) Bleed your radiators
More often than not, we don’t need a complete makeover, just a few minor tweaks here and there - maybe a slightly different hair style, a nice piece of jewellery or a daring new shirt - can give us a vibrant new look.
By the same token, you may think you need a fancy new central heating system, but have you considered that your existing set up will work just fine if you give it a little TLC?
As part of your energy makeover, give your radiators a darn good bleeding. It’s common for air to get trapped in your system, restricting the amount of heat emitted by your radiators. By regularly bleeding your radiators, you can ensure that they are heating up properly, which means you can turn your thermostat off much sooner. Simple yet effective.
We told you that you don’t need £100,000 to give your business an energy makeover. Most of our tips are cheap and easy for everyone to do, so what are you waiting for?
If you require any more information or advice from the experts at Love Energy Savings, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.