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Essential energy tips for businesses

Starting energy conservation can seem daunting for businesses. Here’s how to begin: compare energy providers, conduct an environmental audit, and borrow energy kits from local libraries.
Small changes make a big impact.

As a business owner, where do I start to try to save energy?

Businesses can save money and energy by comparing energy providers and switching companies.  Compare energy providers through the State governments Victorian Energy Compare website.  This shows the best deals on electricity, gas and will help calculate if you could save money through installing solar.

It is a very good idea to get an environmental audit to understand where your business is using the most energy and water what upgrades would be the most beneficial.  You can find accredited environmental auditors on the Sustainability Victoria website.

Or at no cost, you can borrow one of the Shire’s Home Energy Kits and the thermal camera from our Shire libraries.  The thermal camera will help you quickly identify where air is leaking in and out of your premises and give you a general idea of what areas you need to seal or insulate.  The energy metre will measure the energy consumption of your appliances and quickly highlight where your greatest energy use is.

Appliances are constantly increasing in energy efficiency and by upgrading your some of your old appliances you can save hundreds of dollars on your annual running costs.

What upgrades are the most beneficial for a small business?

These vary from business to business – the needs of a café or restaurant will be different to a B&B and so on.  However, by looking at the results of an energy audit or even a self-audit, you can prioritise upgrades.

Even small changes such as draught proofing can make a difference.  Efficient draught proofing could reduce your energy bill by 10 – 20%. Look out for draughts under doors or around door frames, around window frames, old chimneys and through old timber floorboards.

Another minor upgrade that will show big results is ensuring the seals on your fridges and freezers are tight to ensure cool air stays in.  Minimising the time staff spend in or passing through cool areas can help reduce energy costs too.

If you have not already done this, replacing traditional incandescent lights with energy saving LEDs will also save your business up to 80% on energy used for lighting.

Minor changes to operations and practices can make a big impact.  For instance, running heating ensure temperatures are not set too high for heating and too low for cooling. Each 1°C increase of the thermostat cooling setting will save about 10 per cent on your energy usage.  Also, where possible, turn devices such as computers completely off overnight will reduce energy wasted on standby.

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How do I find reputable information and good installers?

Ensure trades have the relevant certification for their trade.  Lean about their workmanship and customer service from reviews and word of mouth and reviews.  Choice is a great place for product reviews.

Keep in mind, if you want to receive the Victorian government discounts through the Vic Energy Upgrades program, you will need to use their Accredited Providers.

For insulation look for suppliers who are Energy Efficiency certified.

What finance options or price reductions are available to business?

There are a wide range of discounts available through the Victorian governments Victorian Energy Upgrade program for business including discounts on energy efficient fridges and freezers, heating and cooling, hot water lighting, clothes dryers and double glazing.  By replacing old, inefficient appliances you could save hundreds of dollars each year on energy costs.

The discounts will vary depending on what you are product you are purchasing and replacing. See the Victorian Energy Upgrades program for business in the link below.

For larger projects where additional finance is required, Sustainability Victoria can help find the right finance option, help guide you through an application process and help build a business case.

Sustainability Victoria: sustainablefinance@sustainability.vic.gov.au, (03) 8626 8700.

Content updated June 2024

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