Small changes could save UK businesses millions on wasted energy

commercial property innovationThe UK’s 5.7 million businesses are spending £29.1 billion on energy every year, and could be making significant reductions in its cost according to a study by With Earth Day this Sunday, (April 22) the research claims that tiny tweaks to workplace routines could make a positive impact on the environment, whilst slashing companies’ electricity bills.

Kilowatt per hour (kWh) (that’s 1,000 watts used each hour) is the unit of measurement of an appliance’s usage, with the current average national business cost of this, 17.5 pence. A typical SME, which employs up to 249 people, uses 30,000kWH or approximately £5,250 of energy on average each year.  Even the nation’s 5.5 million microbusinesses (0-9 employees) guzzle 10,000kWh or £1,750 on average per annum.

According to the research from, it is desktop monitors, computers and lighting where businesses could be saving most. The average UK office has 16 employees, so each desktop computer running for eight-hour days, 260 days per year, uses 3,328kWh of energy, worth £582 in working hours. Turning off devices when they’re not in use or setting them to a timer is a great way to cut down on wasted energy. If all staff members left their computers on and put their monitors in sleep mode while not at work, the 16 employees would use a huge 9,955kWh over a year – that’s a hefty £1,742. Simply ensuring all devices are properly switched off when you are away from your desk sees an impressive 63 percent reduction in energy spent, meaning only 3,702kWh is used.

A photocopier left on standby all day costs £459.90 (2,628kWh) over a year. Turning the device off completely out of office hours would see a huge saving of £323.40, as the usage would be just 780kWh. With the average office worker using 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, and that 65 percent of these pages are thrown away or recycled on the same day they’re printed, it’s a good idea for managers to look to choose printers with double-sided capabilities. Making the switch from fluorescent lamps (728kWh) to CFL lighting (69kWh) would see a massive 75 percent decrease in energy used for lighting over the year.

And while heating is a contentious issue in many offices, a flat panel wall heater uses around 1,560kWh per annum but for great savings on office bills, they should wave goodbye to portable electric heaters – one of the worst workplace energy-sappers, using up 2,080kWh – a stonking £364 when only used for half of the year.