Crash Course: Seven ways to reduce your energy usage

If your fuel bills would keep a small hedge fund in business, maybe it's time you started burning a bit less.

by Alexander Garrett

At night, your building is lit up like a spaceship; in winter, it's hotter than Death Valley; and in summer, the air-con frosts up your specs. Your fuel bills would keep a small hedge fund in business, and just look at the energy-related legislation and taxation on the way. It's time you started burning up a bit less.

Get the size of it. First, understand how much energy you're using and where. Organisations spending more than £3m on fuel can get subsidised carbon management from the Carbon Trust; those over £50,000 can get a free survey. Below that, you can either conduct a walk-round survey or call in consultants to do it. Don't forget to include energy used by staff on the road.

Look for savings. Next, spot opportunities for saving on power. Many will be similar to things you can do at home: installing low-energy light bulbs, improving insulation, opting for energy-efficient appliances and just switching off. Ask your employees. 'It's really important to get accurate measurements,' says Hugh Jones, the Carbon Trust's head of solutions. 'You can meter every piece of kit, but it's often more useful to look at the usage patterns and the downtime.'

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