Skip to main content

Don’t let the cold snap cost the earth

Brrr. When it’s freeeeeezing cold outside you don’t have to let soaring energy bills put a freeze on your profits too.

During Scotland’s winters, when the mercury often plummets to well below zero, heating our workplaces to comfortable levels becomes essential. But it is also a big expense. For some organisations it can account for as much as half of total energy bills.

At this time of year, even the smallest inefficiencies will waste hard-earned profits, increase your carbon footprint, and impact you and your staff’s comfort and productivity.

The good news is, there are lots of quick and easy checks you can do, and changes you can make, to make sure your business stays warm for less…

1. Draught-proof roof lights, doors and windows to stop heat escaping  

Lost heat is wasted heat and will make your heaters work harder than they need to, using more energy and costing you more money. You’ll find lots of useful, cheap sealants and draughtproofing products at your local DIY store.

2. Use window blinds

Another great way to keep heat in is to use window blinds. Closing blinds and curtains when its dark outside, or when you close reduces heat loss and saves energy.

3. Keep heaters free from obstructions

Heaters gonna heat – or are they? Only if you ensure they can do their job.

Keep the area around your heaters clear by not covering them or placing furniture in front of them. This will allow them to heat up your workplace much more efficiently. This free poster will help.

4. Set appropriate temperatures

The appropriate temperature for your workplace depends very much on the type of activity you’re carrying out. In offices, where people do not tend to move around much, a relatively high temperature is required. The minimum temperature suggested by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is 16°C, but between 18°C and 20°C is common.

Reducing your workplace’s temperature by 1°C can save you a chunk of cash (up to 8% of your heating costs) – and it’s unlikely that anyone will even notice the change.

5.  Only heat where needed

Where possible, turn off heating in unoccupied areas (such as meeting rooms and storage areas). There’s nothing to be gained from heating areas where no-one is going to benefit. You’ll find handy switch-off stickers in our Staff Engagement Toolkit to help

6. Only heat when needed

A lot of organisations waste energy and money by heating their premises when there is no one on site – either in the morning before anyone arrives, but more commonly, at night when everyone has left for the day.

Simply setting correct timer controls will ensure that your heating system switches on early enough in the morning to provide the desired temperature for staff and customers when they arrive – without switching on too early and wasting energy. It will also mean that your system switches off at a time that will ensure desired temperatures are maintained long enough, without heating your premises after everyone has left.

This free planner will help you optimise your heating system’s start and switch-off times.

7. Don’t allow staff members to tamper with your heating controls

One you have set suitable temperatures and timers, appoint a member of staff to have responsibility for them – and make sure all staff know who the appointed person is. This guide contains a free poster that will help.

8. Keep your heating equipment working well

Clean heating surfaces and filters on warm air heaters to allow for better efficiency. It also helps to prolong the life of the equipment by preventing overheating.

9. Install heat reflectors

Installing heat reflectors to the walls behind radiators can improve their efficiency at relatively low cost.

10. Hot desk

If you have staff thinly spread across your office, why not try hot-desking and encourage staff to sit closer 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.

11. Install thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)

Where there are large natural variations in temperature across your workspace, TRVs can be used to quickly restrict the heat being delivered to the warmer areas of the building whenever necessary.

12. Review your dress code and uniforms

If your wear uniforms in your workplace, consider having a warmer winter uniform, if you haven’t already. Likewise, if you have a dress code, why not check to make sure it allows staff to dress appropriately for the colder weather – so that they don’t have to crank up the heating to stay warm.

13. Avoid using supplementary electric heaters

It can be very tempting to sit an electric heater next to your desk if you’re feeling the chill, but supplementary electric heaters are expensive to run and can send your meter into overdrive. Try the tips above first.

These tips can go a long way to reduce the amount of energy your workplace uses over the winter months. If you need any further help, check out our free heating guide. And if you’re a small or medium-sized enterprise thinking about upgrading your heating system, please speak to one of our advisors. Their help is free. They can look, do the sums and tell you if your system should be upgraded. They’ll also be able to help you apply for an interest-free SME loan from the Scottish Government to help you make the change.

 

Get the next blog post sent straight to your inbox

If you liked this blog post, make sure you sign up to our regular ezine, The Bottom Line. It’s an easy way to keep up to date with all the latest updates including grants and funding, free training, case studies, the latest blogs and other useful resources that can help your organisation improve its environmental performance, save resources and save money.

Our free support to business is funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.