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How to be energy efficient in your SME

With sustainability being one of the growing trends for the last couple of years and an energy crisis happening globally and locally. It has become time to acknowledge what your business can do to become energy efficient. Not only will it lower costs but you will improve the view of your brand in the eyes of your customer. Here are six steps to becoming more energy efficient.

Six steps to becoming more energy efficient

STEP 1: Do an energy audit

Before we can make changes, we need to know how we use energy. We need to make a list of the electrical equipment in your business and how much energy each piece of equipment is using. Then we can use a cost calculator to estimate how much energy we use and the price of it. With this benchmark, we can start to implement some cost-cutting strategies.

STEP 2: Change your light bulbs

One of the easiest steps to becoming more energy efficient is to change the light bulbs in your office. If you are still using incandescent light bulbs, then it is time to invest in LED lights. You should also use as much natural light as possible. If you use natural light but there is a glare on your screen sometimes during the day, then install horizontal blinds which can direct the light away from the screen but still have enough light to see. Write a policy where the last person in the office must switch off all the lights when they leave.

Lastly, you can get sensors for lights in areas which you use sporadically. These lights will switch themselves on and off.

STEP 3: Stop a draught

If you have the air conditioner on and the windows wide open, then you are wasting energy. If you choose to open the windows, then set the air conditioner to off. If you choose to have the air conditioner on, then ensure that the area where a draught may come in is closed securely.

STEP 4: Remove ghost power usage

Many appliances use electricity even if they are not being used. Ensure that you switch off equipment which is not in use. When you leave at night ensure to switch your monitors, kettles and microwaves off. You can plug these devices into a multiplug to make it easier to switch off all the devices at night.

STEP 5: Use energy-efficient equipment

When considering appliances to buy for your company look for an energy efficiency label. These labels are part of an energy efficiency initiative by the Department of Minerals and Energy in South Africa. You can also save on electricity by using laptops instead of desktop computers. Laptops can be about 80% more energy efficient compared to desktop computers.

STEP 6: Get your staff involved

For any energy efficiency programme to succeed, you need the buy-in from your staff. Have a meeting about being more energy efficient and hear what your staff may suggest about using less electricity. By having buy-in from your staff it will be easier to implement policy changes in your business with regard to being more energy efficient.

By following these six steps, you are well on your way to saving money and improving your brand’s image in the community.

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