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Keep your energy bills in check over the festive period

Don’t return to work after festivities to find a big energy bill waiting for you

Energy bills can be a pain in the wallet at any time, but this year with prices rising sharply, there is more reason than usual to check that everything is switched off over the Christmas break when no-one is around.

We should all be mindful of not leaving equipment running when it’s not needed, and when we close the doors for the festive holiday it is particularly important to run through a few checks to ensure you’re not going to be paying for energy unnecessarily. Bah humbug to that.

By scheduling in a little time to do some final checks around your premises before you leave, you can relax in the knowledge that you’re not wasting energy or money, and that you’re doing your bit for the environment. Result. Straight on to Santa’s good list.

Here are five key things you should do to save energy and money if you’re going to be the last one out of the building this Christmas.

1. Turn off and unplug electrical equipment

Sounds simple. But how many times have you seen your colleagues’ computers and monitors left on overnight, or over a weekend? It’s a common problem.

What if all your staff did this over the holidays? Our elves crunched some numbers and they estimate that if 30 members of your staff forget to turn off their computers and monitors for the holiday fortnight, then this alone would needlessly add over £130 to your electricity bill.

When you check and turn off any computers and monitors your colleagues have left on, remember to do the same for other electrical equipment too – including air conditioning units, water coolers, fans and heaters, display screens, printers and photocopiers.

2. Turn off lighting

We’re not just talking fairy lights on the Christmas tree here. And we’re not talking about external security and safety lighting either – keep those on.

We mean checking all those cupboards, storerooms, meeting rooms, bathrooms and parking garages, where lights are very often left on when they shouldn’t be.

Just 10 58W bulbs left on for the holiday would waste more than £43 of electricity, so it pays to have a quick check around.

3. Adjust heating controls

Don’t forget your heating controls. They are frequently overlooked, and boilers are often left to run as normal even when premises are unoccupied.

This can be a particularly big expense and a missed opportunity to save some cash over Christmas.

Heating a 1,000-square metre office, with an electric heating system, would cost around £1,000 over the holiday fortnight – definitely not what you asked Santa for. While a small amount of frost protection is recommended, most of this extra expense is completely avoidable.

4. Check your kitchen and canteen

It’s very likely that there won’t be as much food being kept in your fridges and freezers over the holidays (indeed, you should encourage staff to take away and use any items that will have perished by the time you get back to work).

If you find that’s the case and there’s not much food left, you should consolidate what you have and unplug any equipment that’s not needed. There’s no point running several empty fridges and freezers over the holidays if one or two would do the job just fine.

5. Turn off taps

A hot water tap that’s left running for a week or two might not break the bank, but it is a waste of energy (and water) and – worst case scenario – it could lead to flooding. It’s best avoided for both those reasons.

When you are checking your taps, you can take this chance to look out for any leaks or drips too. A leaking hot water tap can add hundreds of pounds to your annual water bill, and thousands to your energy bill, so you would want to take a note to get it fixed as soon as possible.

Free checklist

It’s all common sense stuff but in the rush to be on holiday, even the simplest actions can be forgotten. To make your life easier, we’ve put together a handy festive period shutdown checklist. You can grab your copy here.

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