Every decision you make as a small business owner can impact the overall success of your company, from your choice of employees and office location to basic accounting practices and marketing techniques. Often overlooked, energy costs account for a huge proportion of small business overheads and have the potential to add unnecessary costs to your company’s budget.

It’s important to notice that even the smallest of actions can have a big impact, not only on your carbon footprint, but your business’s outgoings. Taking the time to investigate your annual energy costs, observing when and why they spike and identifying which appliances are causing these variances makes great financial sense.

Control the temperature

Turning the heating down and keeping doors closed in your office can significantly reduce your energy bills. While you don’t want to make your employees work in freezing conditions during the winter months, according to Energy UK, turning down your thermostat by just one degree can reduce your bills by up to 10% per annum.

Turn off the lights

Don’t limit turning off the office lights to Earth Hour. Lighting is a huge expense and by reaching for the switch in unoccupied spaces or installing occupancy detectors, you could save up to 50% on lighting costs each and every year. Energy efficient lightbulbs also last up to eight times longer and use significantly less energy.

Switch to smarter energy

The national roll out of smart meters between now and 2020 has the potential to impact small businesses. Eliminating estimated billing, the new generation meters display how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence each day, offering customers the opportunity to spot the activities which are taking a toll on their budget and investigate unexpected spikes.

With every energy supplier across the UK making the switch, this will be the biggest national infrastructure project of our lifetimes. Contact your energy supplier to register your interest and see if it’s possible to have yours fitted now.

Evaluate your equipment

The appliances that you use within your office are another key feature to look at when addressing your energy output. Using up to 80% less energy than desktop computers, small business’ that have switched over to laptops have seen dramatic savings. If the equipment you use is old and inefficient, consider replacing it.

Shutting down

Regardless of your choice of equipment, making sure everything is turned off at night can be one of the most powerful energy savers in your office. Remember, off doesn’t necessarily mean disconnected, and devices may still drain electricity when plugged in. Switch to power strips to eliminate this phantom power consumption.

During office hours, when employees are away from their desk or certain devices aren’t being used, set up sleep modes to activate after 15 minutes or less of inactivity. With some devices you’ll find this built in, others will need to be set manually, but it’s worth checking as energy-saving mode typically uses at least 70% less energy than full-power mode.