SPONSORED CONTENT | Lowering business costs can be as easy as cutting back on energy usage, but it can also pay to find an energy provider that will help a customer attain its efficiency goals.

In our current climate of general uncertainty, lowering business costs makes sense. For most businesses, energy costs are one of the easiest areas to economise. Guides to cutting back on energy usually focus on small office-based businesses. While there are definitely tips that translate – LED lights and turning off computers and stand-by appliances will work for everyone – manufacturers and industrial businesses have different needs.

The following small plant and process changes can add up to big financial differences.

Heating and cooling

For workplaces that don’t require constant exterior access, installing efficient insulation is the single easiest step to cutting bills. Keeping temperatures moderate year-round does more than limit the need for heating and cooling, it can benefit products and machinery that have preferred temperature ranges, too.

Don’t stop at the roof and walls. Insulating films can be applied to most windows by your in-house team and provide many of the benefits of double glazing for a fraction of the price, while not affecting your natural lighting.

If your aircon system is more than a decade old, improvements in the efficiency of most models mean you can make back the replacement cost of an upgrade very quickly. If you’re not up for a replacement, check the pipe lagging is intact as flaws here are a major energy suck.

Check lines and machinery

Compressed air systems account for about 10% of industrial power use, so make sure your lines are in good order with no leaks and turn your compressor off when not in use. A ‘turn-off’ step for major machinery at the end of the working day can save power and often extend the machine’s working life.

Stay on top of machinery cleaning and servicing, as equipment operating at peak efficiency has the lowest power cost. Again, thus will help keep your plant functioning for longer. When machinery comes to the end of its useful life, talk to your suppliers about efficient models for replacement.

Team effort

Not every saving is obvious. Some may only come about through an official energy audit, via independent contractors or through your industry association. They pay for themselves in savings.

Your team is also well placed to spot issues and to suggest process or equipment tweaks that can minimise them. For example, one business with a cold room saw bills drop after they installed an automatic door; workers were no longer leaving the door to the refrigerated area open while carrying goods in and out.

Switch providers

Look for an energy provider that will act as an active partner in your efficiency goals. Many providers now offer a greater variety of renewable and sustainable energy sources, which are fast becoming the cheapest sources of power in the market.

For example, in Queensland the Sunshine Coast is part of the deregulated Australian electricity market. There is tough competition between retailers, therefore huge saving opportunities when changing to a new electricity plan.

The Australian Energy Market Commission has calculated the average user could save up to $800 or more per annum just by switching to a different provider. Do your research and compare plans with leading comparison platform GoSwitch. That way you’ll find the best deal that’s right for your business.

Don’t forget to look at fuel costs, too: something as basic as choosing electric options for the next generation of your lifting equipment can deliver further savings and put you on the path to energy independence in the future.

By making comparatively simple changes to your energy usage, you’ll keep more money in your business.