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The biggest business energy myths busted

There are dozens of myths circulating about electricity, heating and renewable energy that cost businesses thousands of pounds every year. Take a step back and make sure that untested beliefs aren’t costing your company money.

It’s better to leave heating on low 24 hours a day, rather than switching it on and off

Believe it or not, the debate about whether it is better to leave the heating on ‘long and low’, or only turn it on as and when you need it is one that has pitched serial penny pinchers against experts for years. Anecdotal evidence, like you would get from a neighbour or somebody at the pub would say that the ‘long and low’ method can save you money. But the experts at the Energy Saving Trust and British Gas agree that this is a myth. They say you save more by switching on only when the heating is required (in the morning and evening). This is likely to hold more truth in a business environment where buildings are often unoccupied for large periods.

Leaving chargers plugged in doesn’t waste any money

Phone and laptop chargers still use a small amount of energy when they are plugged in but there is no device connected. Lots of people believe that as chargers have got more advanced, this rule has changed. Newer charger and chargers produced by manufacturers like Samsung and Apple are more energy friendly, but they still waste some electricity. You can tell how much energy a charger is wasting by feeling it when it is plugged in. If the charger is warm to the touch then it is using a significant amount of energy.

Painting radiators will save money on energy bills

Some wisdom says that you should change your radiator’s colour from the stock white to black to help it save energy. Unfortunately for fans of black, this isn’t true. White radiators are marginally more efficient than black ones (and let’s face it they look better as well). Investing in good insulation and draught proofing is a far more efficient way to save money when you’re heating your business.

Solar panels only work when it's sunny and clear

This isn’t true, but it puts a lot of people off investing in solar panels, especially if the local climate is particularly cloudy. Solar panels aren’t as effective when it rains or is cloudy, but they can still represent a sound investment for your business. Solar panels are getting more cost-effective all the time. And improved designs make them easier to apply to buildings.

Electric hand dryers in the bathroom are more expensive than paper towels

Although electric hand dryers may seem expensive initially, they are more cost effective than paper towels in the long run, especially if you take account of the costs of disposing of the paper towels and the extra maintenance costs to clean and re-stock them. Just remember to pick an energy efficient dryer.

It’s cheaper and greener to run old equipment into the ground rather than upgrading to new appliances

Holding onto dusty old appliances around your office may feel like the cost-effective solution because you aren’t making a large outlay on new equipment. But new equipment is often much cheaper to run than old machinery and can save you a lot of money if you calculate it correctly. And although it takes extra energy to manufacture new machinery, investing in new greener machinery may be better for the environment as well. A desktop energy audit can help you discover which equipment should be replaced with modern versions.

Published by Utility Helpline on