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Eight easy ways to save energy now the light nights are here

Follow our nifty energy-saving tips to make the most of the longer days and warmer weather


With the arrival of spring and the clocks going forward, we can start to look forward to longer days and warmer temperatures.

The promise of summer can also signal a return to energy savings. If you want to make the most of the opportunities, here are some simple tips to get you started. And, don’t forget, if you haven’t returned to the office yet, you can apply the same advice at home. 

1. Change the timer on your heating system when the clocks change 

Unless you have a modern heating system with a clock that automatically updates, don’t forget to change the timers once the clocks have changed. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting energy, and your hard-earned profits, to needlessly heat your premises for an extra hour when your staff aren’t even there.

2. Reset the thermostats 

You may have had the temperatures cranked up during the colder months, as the clocks change it’s worth dropping the thermostats down a degree or two. Your colleagues probably won’t even notice the difference, but you will see the difference when the bills arrive.

3. Ask staff to 'switch off' lights when they're not needed

With more daylight hours, staff shouldn’t need to be reaching for light switches so early in the day. Lighting can account for up to 50% of your electricity bill.

A quick way to save energy is to make sure lights aren’t left on in rooms that aren’t being used, including offices, meeting rooms, storage cupboards, toilets and other infrequently occupied spaces. It makes sense, but we must all be guilty of leaving the light on by accident at one time or another. It’s easy to forget.

Our website has everything you need to help you encourage and remind your colleagues to switch off lights when they are not needed. Resources that are ideal for running a successful ‘switch-off’ campaign in your business include a range of professionally designed, downloadable posters; stickers; and web graphics.

Encouraging staff to be more energy efficient and reduce bills can be done throughout the year. Check out this great example from Edinburgh Leisure, which reduced energy use at one of its sites by 13%.

4. Label your light switches 

It’s the end of the day, you’re about to head home and go to turn off the lights in your area. But instead of a simple click, you’re faced with a number of light switches on the wall. Which switch is for your area, and which one will plunge the rest of your colleagues into darkness?

If you’re like most people, you probably won’t take the risk of making the wrong choice and just head straight out of the door, leave all the lights on and let the last person out switch them all off. This is a common occurrence in businesses and a big waste of energy. However, there is a simple solution, just label your light switches. Find your free template here.

5. Get your lighting for free, by using natural daylight 

Making use of natural daylight instead of having lights on is one of the best things you can do to save money and be energy efficient. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of businesses that have lights on in broad daylight.

So, open your blinds, declutter your windowsills and let the light shine in. It’s not only your energy bills that will feel the difference. Natural daylight helps improves productivity and has the added bonus of improving the overall wellbeing of your staff.

6. Relax the dress code

Dress codes in our workplaces have changed quite a bit in recent years; ties and suit jackets now often being reserved for days with important meetings (or at least when senior management is in town). In spring and summer, it can pay to give staff the freedom to dress appropriately for the warmer conditions – we’d draw the line at bathing suits, but short sleeves and even shorts could mean you don’t need the aircon on quite as much.

7.  Allow hot desking (literally) 

Setting an ‘ideal’ temperature that will keep everyone happy can be a cause not just for office unrest (and lost productivity), but it can really crank up energy bills. All too often, we see offices where the heating is fired up one minute, quickly followed by someone else switching on the air-conditioning because ‘it is too hot'.

People are different and no single temperature is right for everyone. At the same time, as luck would have it, most buildings have warmer areas (next to server rooms, equipment, etc) and cooler areas (near the doors and windows, and away from equipment). So, if you can, set up a hot-desking system that allows your staff to take advantage of these temperature differences and sit where they feel most comfortable.

8.  Upgrade your lighting 

OK, you’re not going to be able to do this overnight, but if you have older types of lighting, the sooner you upgrade to newer technologies, such as LEDs, the quicker you’ll start saving and stop wasting profits.

Installing LEDs is one of the most common measures businesses are undertaking to reduce energy costs – with the potential to cut energy bills by 75%, you can see why the technology is so popular.

If you’re a small or medium-sized enterprise, and you’re not sure if your lighting should be upgraded, please speak to one of our advisors. Their help is free. They can look, do the sums and tell you if your lighting should be upgraded. They’ll also be able to help you apply for an interest-free SME loan from the Scottish Government to help you make the change.

So, there you have it, eight ways your business can reduce its energy use, save money and play its part in beating climate change through the spring and summer months.

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