How to reduce your gas bill
There are many ways for business owners to lower their gas bills. In this blog, we share our top tips on what you can do if your latest bill has got you hot under the collar.
Check the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your premises
All commercial premises that are leased, sold or substantially renovated require an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This is a report showing how energy efficient your building is. If you do not have a copy, ask your landlord or the previous owner for one. EPCs estimate the energy costs of running the building and offer a list of recommendations for saving energy. Your building’s EPC will give you some idea of which areas you should target, For example, you might find you need to consider installing insulation, draught-proofing or replacing the heating system. It also gives an estimated cost for each suggested improvement and an indication of the savings that you could make. A bit of detective work here can direct you to the quickest and cheapest ‘wins’ to save on your gas bill. You can see an example EPC on the government website.
Many commercial properties are poorly insulated. You’re paying to heat your building, and then up to two-thirds of that heat is just escaping. In industrial units, up to 75 per cent of heat can be lost. Depending on the type of premises, you might be able to insulate the roof or walls, or both. Buildings can be insulated internally or externally. Insulation is one of the most cost-effective measures of energy reduction and can save you money on future gas bills. Your toasty-warm staff will thank you for it too.
Doors and windows
Another area in which precious heat can be lost is through doors and windows. In fact, windows often contribute more to heat loss (26 per cent) than walls (nine per cent) or roofs (22 per cent), according to the Carbon Trust. Windows can also benefit your business by capturing solar heat from the sun’s rays, even in winter. Encourage employees to keep windows closed when heating or air conditioning systems are on. Double-glazing is now a minimum legal requirement (except in some listed buildings) if you’re replacing the windows, but triple-glazing and high-performance, low-emitting glass are upgrade options that will reduce heat loss.
Encourage employees to close doors where possible to keep the heat in, and fit door closers. Doors can be draught stripped and the seals can be replaced to ensure that they are not letting heat escape. This may seem trivial but it’s not. Just a 3mm gap in a door will let in as much cold air as if you removed a brick from the wall.
We don’t often think of the heat escaping under our feet, but up to 10 per cent of it does. Insulating floors can be an expensive business, but it is worth considering it as part of a larger refurbishment. Otherwise, sealing gaps between floors and skirting boards, and any other cracks, can be a small and cost-effective improvement.
A smart meter will help you monitor how much gas your business is using, meaning that you’ll be able to more accurately predict your bills. It will also help you see the impact of any energy efficiency measures that you put in place.
Ensure you’re on the cheapest tariff
There are two elements to reducing your gas bill. The first is making efficiency savings so that you use less gas, and the second is to make sure you’re not overpaying on your bill. Utility Bidder have found that over 80 per cent of businesses are overpaying on their energy bills. We monitor the fluctuating gas market and secure your deal when prices are low. Find out more about how our experts can negotiate a bespoke deal on behalf of your business.
How to lower your gas bill in winter
A business gas bill, like a domestic one, is always going to be higher in winter than in summer. Business owners need to maintain a pleasant working environment to keep up staff morale and productivity, so the heating needs to be on. But there are still ways to save.
Even if you don’t have a ‘smart’ heating system, you can make it work more efficiently by spending some time programming it. Use a timer to heat only when necessary. Turning the thermostat down just one degree can make big savings, though make sure your employees are still comfortable. Fit thermostatic valves to radiators so that you can set different rooms to different temperatures depending on their use.
The Carbon Trust recommends a ‘fabric first’ approach to energy reduction. This means prioritising reducing heat loss before installing new systems that generate heat. However, if you have more money to invest in your premises, are looking to make larger savings, or are undertaking a full renovation to maximise energy efficiency, you might think about upgrading your building’s heating system. Intelligent heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems use sensors and smart thermostats to monitor occupancy, learn patterns of how you use the building, and respond to the needs of your business’s day-to-day operations. Using this smart technology can reduce energy consumption in offices by an average of 23 per cent, the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) has found.
If any of the tips in this guide have been useful, you might also want to consult our guide on energy saving for SMEs.