Many businesses slow down over Christmas, particularly between Christmas and New Year. In Scotland we have four bank holidays to contend with, which for some of us is half our yearly quota. So we naturally wind down and start to think about slipping into something comfy and spending some quality time with
the drinks cabinet our nearest and dearest.
With fewer staff on hand to carry out business duties and fewer clients/customers demanding that their every need is met, you might imagine that businesses see a big drop in energy use at Christmas. Not so dear reader! At least, not necessarily…
Studies by the Carbon Trust and others suggest that business owners and managers often leave heating, lighting and appliances switched on (or on standby) unnecessarily when their business is closed. When we start to look at the figures it becomes clear just how much money businesses could save if they took the relatively simple step of switching everything off and using only the energy required to carry out essential functions over the break.
Here are some top tips to avoid those unwanted energy costs:
- Switch to an online fax service. A fax machine eats power all the time unless you switch it off (which means you won’t get the fax messages). If you switch to an internet fax provider you could save energy and make sure you don’t miss any important faxes.
- Assign someone to walk around your businesses premises just before close of business on Christmas Eve. Train them how to switch non-essential equipment off. Check this has been done.
- Remember that standby is not the same as off. A PC and Monitor on standby can consume 7.6 watts which adds up over time, particularly if you have a lot of PCs in your building.
- Switch heating and lighting off in spaces that won’t be used. It sounds like common sense but bigger businesses often leave large areas lit and heated. If fewer staff are needed to carry out your business then consider relocating them temporarily into one small area to minimise heating/lighting in other areas.
- Communicate to staff that it is their responsibility to switch off equipment they are using.
A quick example of how it all adds up: if 10 PCs are left on standby along with a printer, fax machine and photocopier you could waste 145kwh over the festive period (10 days). That’s more than an average fridge uses in a year!