Cost of living crisis: how can digital services firms save on their energy bills?

Digital services businesses are among those most impacted by rising inflation. Here, we provide some insights and actions that could help you make savings on your energy costs.

We’ve partnered with Octopus Energy to put together some short- and long-term tips on energy reduction that could be right for your business. The short-term tweaks require little or no upfront investment and can be implemented quickly to help make a dent in costs. Long-term transformations may require some additional investment but are designed to future-proof your business.

Neil Bellamy, our Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms, says: “Whilst we haven’t seen evidence of a slowdown in digital transformation projects as yet, taking action now to contain energy costs and prepare for a more sustainable future is a good move for digital services companies. These are no-regret actions, meaning no matter what happens in the future your business will be better prepared to see out a slowdown and/or take advantage of opportunities that inevitably follow.”

Five short-term tips to help your business reduce energy bills

1. Get a smart meter

Installing a smart meter will help you monitor your energy usage so you can recognise periods of both high and low consumption and make adjustments accordingly.

2. Choose the right tariff

Once you have an idea of how and when you’re using your energy, you should be able to tailor your tariff to the needs of your business. For instance, a time-of-use tariff may help you to use electricity when it’s available cheaply. If you have energy-intensive appliances that you can programme to come on at night, you might be able to opt for an Economy 7 tariff and make use of a cheaper night-time unit rate.

3. Switch off

Many appliances continue to draw on a small amount of power in standby mode, so it’s important to switch them off properly when they’re not in use. Make it a rule that staff should enable sleep mode if their computer is not in use for more than 20 minutes, and switch it off if it’s not in use for more than two hours. Remember also that screen savers are not energy savers – they could use more energy than not having one at all. When not using equipment for extended periods, unplug it – that includes computers, monitors, printers and laptop chargers.

4. Engage your teams

Encourage your staff to be mindful about energy use. Discuss why cutting costs is important, get staff to oversee energy-reducing initiatives and set out how they can report back on any progress they have made. They may help you discover new ways of economising that you’d never considered before.

5. Limit unnecessary data movement

Whether it’s sending and receiving emails or storing files, the energy required for the moving of data can rise rapidly. Across your total workforce the creation and saving of multiple files and folders, and the resulting energy use can be extremely high. Set guidelines to staff about unnecessary emails and data movement to try to bring costs down.

Four steps towards long-term savings

1. Install LEDs

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says lighting uses about 20% of the electricity generated in the UK. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, and BEIS suggests upgrading to LED technology throughout your business could deliver “significant cost savings of up to 80%”.

2. Encourage remote/hybrid working

Working from home saves time and energy by cutting out the commute. Enabling employees to reduce the number of hours they spend in the office also reduces the need to heat/air-condition your premises all day, every day.

3. Generate your own power

You could save money through onsite generation by installing solar panels on your roof, or elsewhere on your premises. With the cost of electricity rising quickly, investing in assets that can produce your own power could lead to savings in the longer term. What’s more, if you don’t use all the energy you generate, you should be able to sell it back to the grid, providing an additional revenue stream for your business.

4. Electrify your fleet

As the price of both petrol and diesel rise, your employees and your business will be facing higher charges – reason enough to start investing in electric vehicles for your business fleet. Also, if you install charging points in your workplace, it could help you and your staff save on running costs.

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of NatWest Group, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Copyright © NatWest Group. All rights reserved.

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