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Save energy and switch to renewables

One thing we can all do now, whatever type of retailer we are, is to look at how much energy we are using – if every retailer switched to using renewable energy, that would save between 40m and 50m tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (British Retail Consortium).

How it helps you

You will reduce your business running costs as the Carbon Trust states that for many businesses (not just retailers), a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom-line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.


ACTION: Install a smart meter

Tracking your energy consumption in real-time will help you understand your energy consumption better. It will allow you to monitor the effects of different activities, e.g. how much money you save by switching to LED bulbs, and avoid energy bill surprises – plus you’ll only pay for what you actually use.
And best of all smart meters are free for businesses of fewer than 10 people – just contact your energy supplier to get started or look on https://www.smartenergygb.org/en for more details.


ACTION: Switch to LED lighting and turn off lights

It is possible to cut your lighting costs by up to 30% by making green-friendly changes

LED lights are quick and easy to install, provide instant energy, use up to 90% less energy than a standard bulb and last a lot longer. Even with LED bulbs, save more by switching off the lights and making the most use of natural light in your building. Invest in motion sensors for storerooms or meeting rooms so that the lights are only on when somebody is in the room.

Where to go to find out more

The Which guide to LED light bulbs is a useful place to get more information https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/light-bulbs/article/how-to-buy-the-best-light-bulb/led-lights-explained-akCBG9o2F9U6


ACTION: Turn your thermostat down

Every one degree increase in thermostat setting in winter will use 15% more energy. Every one degree decrease of air conditioning in summer will use 10% more energy.

Control room temperatures with a thermostat heating and set it at 20 degrees for heating if you have an office. It can be lower at 18 degrees in the shop where people are moving around but don’t have it too low to put your customers off browsing and buying. Our warmer summers are leading to more air conditioning – cooling to 24 degrees is the recognised target.


ACTION: Insulate your building and reduce heating costs.

Approximately one third of all the heat lost in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls, so it’s a good place to start. By properly insulating your walls, you will save energy and cut the costs of your heating bill.

Easy ways to do this in your building include installing double glazing and insulating walls and floors & draught proofing around doors.

Reach out to your landlord to make these efficiencies for your shop if you cannot do so without their support. Government requires some energy-efficiencies through Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, which are worth exploring.


ACTION: Swap to more energy efficient equipment & switch it off.

Use the energy saving mode for any computers; repair or invest in new energy-efficient appliances like kettles or fridges; for retailers selling food, make sure that refrigerated areas are always closed and the seals are in good condition.

While these changes might cost you some money in the short-term (do use government grants where you can though), you will make back those costs in reduced energy bills in time.

Where to go to find out more

For more helpful ideas on how to save energy have a look at this helpful list: https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/20-energy-saving-tips-reduce-business-energy-costs.php


ACTION: Make greener travelling choices

In the UK, it is estimated that £1.7bn could be saved on NHS treatments over 25 years if every Londoner walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day.

Make the most of virtual meeting platforms and try to minimise business travel.

If possible, walk, cycle, use public transport or carpool on your commute, rather than taking a private car. Encourage your employees to do the same.

Switch your car to an electric vehicle instead, and if you offer home deliveries, think about switching to greener options like electric vans or electric cargo bikes.

What others are doing

Wearth London offers carbon neutral shipping to all its customers by minimising the impact of its deliveries and supporting other planet friendly initiatives https://www.wearthlondon.com/carbon-neutral-shipping

Where to go to find out more

There are government grants available for switching to an electric vehicle and for installing charging points at home https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/customer-guidance-electric-vehicle-homecharge-scheme and they are available for work places as well. For both, you need to use approved installers and obtain the grant before you start work on the installation.

The Cycle to Work Scheme could encourage greener commutes for you and your team and now includes the options of buying electric bikes: https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk


ACTION: Switch to a renewable energy provider

Using a renewable energy provider for gas and electricity is a fast and easy way to become more sustainable. Not only does it have the potential to dramatically reduce your carbon emissions (because it doesn’t use fossil fuels), but it can also improve your bottom line. If you sell online, this will also be an effective way to make sure your online operation has a minimal carbon footprint.

Also consider what renewable energy sources you can install in your shop (e.g. solar panels on the roof).

Where to go to find out more

There are a number of companies who now provide a renewable tariff and popular providers include: Green Energy UK, Ecotricity, Bulb, Ovo Energy and Octopus. This is not an exhaustive list, and prices may vary depending on where you are and how much you use, so we recommend researching before switching (Big Clean Switch is one of the providers who can help find you the best option).

The Scottish Government’s SME Loan Fund will help Scottish SMEs for renewable or energy efficiency projects up to £100k.

BEIS, part of the UK Government, Is running a BASEE competition that will fund the development of new business models which encourage take up of energy efficiency projects by SME businesses so keep your eyes peeled for latest developments!

Try Another Principle

  1. Save energy and switch to renewables
  2. Minimise packaging
  3. Recycle and reuse
  4. Offer greener choices
  5. Work together
  6. Share what you learn