As temperatures plummet, businesses can still avoid soaring heating bills, by following some top tips from Resource Efficient Scotland, a programme of Scottish Government-funded Zero Waste Scotland.
The independent, specialist advice service, which provides free support to businesses on resource efficiency, is providing some simple steps on how to save energy and money on heating during the current cold snap.
Marissa Lippiatt, Resource Efficient Scotland said: “Heating workplaces such as offices, retails outlets and workshops is essential during these colder winter months. Good heating and insulation provides a comfortable environment for customers and staff alike, ensuring sales and productivity do not suffer. But while heating is essential, it is also a big expense – for many of the organisations, it can account for as much as half of total energy costs.”
By following Resource Efficient Scotland’s seven quick tips, businesses and public sector organisations can ensure they are well prepared for the cold weather:
1. Switch your heating off before close of business each day – Most buildings will stay warm for a long time after heating is switched off. Yet many organisations wait until close of business to switch off their heating. Save money, without impacting on comfort levels, by switching heating off much earlier in the day.
2. Don’t heat unoccupied areas – Are you heating seldom-used store rooms, meeting rooms and offices? Do a quick walk around of your premises to check, and turn off (set to frost protection) any heaters in areas that aren’t being frequently used.
3. Set appropriate temperatures- The appropriate temperature for a workplace depends very much on the type of activity being carried out. However, the minimum temperature suggested by the Health and Safety Executive is 16oC, and between 18oC and 20oC is common. If your heating exceeds 20oC, then it should be possible to turn it down without any objection. A 1oC reduction could cut your bill by up to 8%.
4. Make sure frost protection temperature settings are correct
During cold snaps, to prevent damage from frozen pipes, it is good practice to leave heating running in the evenings and weekends. But you don’t need to leave heating running at normal temperatures – if you are doing this, save money by setting your thermostats to frost protection settings (which is around 5 -9oC).
5. Locate staff next to each other – If you have staff thinly spread across your site, why not try hot-desking and encourage staff to sit together? This will make your building easier to heat (people generate heat) and also allow you to switch off heating in areas that become unoccupied.
6. Block draughts and close windows – The most effective ways to reduce heating costs is reduce heat losses from the building itself. There are lots of quick ways to reduce heat loss, such as fitting simple door brushes and self-closers or using adhesive foam tape to draught-proof windows. And of course, if a member of staff opens a window, make sure they close it once they have cooled down.
7. Don’t block heaters – Keep the space around heaters clear and make sure staff don’t pile up files, boxes, laptop bags etc. in front of them. Otherwise, heat won’t be able to circulate effectively around your premises.
8. Upgrade your boiler – If you have an older boiler, you should replace it with a more energy efficient model. The savings you can make on your heating bill make this a cost effective project to undertake straight away, and you may be eligible for funding or government incentives to support your purchase.
For organisations looking to achieve sustained savings, Resource Efficient Scotland is also running a series of free training webinars and half-day workshops. The workshops take place in Glasgow and Edinburgh on the 24th and 25th of February and will help decision makers avoid the common mistakes that organisations make when heating their sites, and also share a wide-range of typical cost-saving opportunities.
Further information on this training is available on the Resource Efficient Scotland website (http://www.resourceefficientscotland.com) and by calling the programme’s helpline on 0808 808 2268.