New small business research has revealed five simple actions that owners in the retail sector can take to get control of their energy bills during this difficult time.

A study of UK businesses employing less than 10 people showed that less than half of small business premises have active energy management policies, in comparison to two thirds for large enterprises. This is despite the fact that energy has been revealed to be the second highest expense that such businesses estimate and almost half of retailers agree that having a better understanding of their energy use would give them greater control over their expenditure.

Retail consumes the most energy of all small business sectors, using 8470 GWh per year – that’s 39% of the total amount of energy used by small businesses in the UK. This is why Smart Energy GB has partnered with Energy Saving Trust to create some expert advice on how simple actions like turning down the heating during the winter and getting a smart meter installed could help small business owners take back control of energy costs in these difficult times.

  1. Heating

Heating accounts for 39% of the energy usage in the retail sector, so small changes here could have a big impact on your overall bills. During the colder months, shoppers are wrapped up warm and in plenty of layers – meaning you may not need to heat your shop as much as you normally do. The recommended temperature for a store is 19 degrees; lowering your in-store temperature by just one degree could reduce your energy usage by 8%.

  1. Refrigeration

Cooled storage accounts for the second biggest energy usage in the retail sector. There are a number of things that retailers can do with little to no investment to produce big savings here. Regular cleaning and maintenance alone can provide energy savings of up to 10%, whilst installing night blinds on refrigerators after closing hours could save up to 35% on bills.

  1. Switching off

Implementing a good ‘shut-down’ policy has the power to provide modest but regular energy savings – all by simply ensuring that devices are properly turned off and not left on standby at the end of the working day.

  1. Review your energy data

Monitoring your energy usage throughout the day doesn’t have to be a big job: check with your energy supplier whether you are eligible for a smart meter installation – it will help you to take control of your energy by allowing you to see your daily usageelping you spot trends and helping you to pinpoint where you can make savings. Smart meters also give you accurate meter readings, ensuring that you only pay for the energy you are actually using.

  1. Lighting

Something as simple as removing access lighting and using natural light wherever possible has the power to provide real energy savings with zero cost. However, if you are able to make an investment switching to LED bulbs and tubes has the potential to save hundreds of pounds per year, while installing movement sensors, daylight sensors and timers on lights could provide savings of up to 30%.

To find out if your small business is eligible for a smart meter, contact your energy supplier

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