Energy saving advice for businesses over Christmas

From PCs to fridges, office equipment accounts for around 15% of electrical energy used in all UK offices. This is expected to rise to 30% by 2020. The cost of running this equipment in the UK is £300 million per annum and this is increasing every year.

Businesses who want to put themselves in a good position for 2013 can benefit by switching off computers and lights, and keeping the heating to a minimum when offices have low occupancy over the Christmas period. These are such simple steps to take, but they're often overlooked. Following our advice is a great way to ensure that your organisation is one step ahead for the New Year.

Carbon Trust no-cost energy saving Christmas tips:

1. Switch off the lights.

Christmas lighting and normal lighting both contribute hugely to office energy consumption. For example: lighting an average small office overnight wastes enough energy to heat water for 1,000 cups of coffee. Turn off all non-essential lighting when there is low occupancy in the office and your company could make significant savings.

2. Turn down the thermostat.

Heating accounts for 20-40% of energy costs in a typical office environment, which means there are big savings to be made. Reducing heating temperatures by just 1ºC can cut fuel consumption by 8%. When all your employees have gone home for Christmas, turn your heating down until it's just high enough to prevent frost. That's all you need over the holidays if no-one is in the office.

3. Shut down non-essential equipment.

A single monitor and computer left on 24 hours a day will cost around £45 a year. Multiply that by the number of computers your business has to understand how much it could be costing you. Make sure that all employees switch their computers off before leaving for the holidays and you could start saving. A photocopier left on overnight uses enough energy to make over 5,000 A4 copies. By switching laser printers off in the evenings and at weekends, energy consumption can be reduced by 75%. If the monitor is also turned off when not being used (including lunchtimes, etc), and the standby options are activated, energy consumption can be reduced by 90% per year.

4. Don't forget less obvious energy wasters.

Fridges, kettles and microwaves can all be unplugged over Christmas if nobody is using them and fax machines can be diverted so that only one machine needs to be left on over the holidays. Do a walk-round of your office and see what other non-essential electrical items you might have overlooked.

5. Drinks for staff

It is cheaper to provide a kettle for staff who work outside normal business hours than to continue to run a drinks vending machine during these times. - If left on continuously, a typical vending machine can cost around £120 per year in energy costs.

Don't forget to switch off cold drink vending machines and water coolers overnight and at weekends too. Install a plug-in seven-day timer to reduce the likelihood of machines being left on out of hours. These can be bought for a few pounds from most DIY stores. Consult your manufacturer for advice.

Find out more about how you can save energy in your business:

Employee awareness and office energy efficiency

Better business guide to energy saving