Six summer solstice saving ideas from Resource Efficient Scotland
Midsummer, a magical in time Scotland where we can expect to enjoy over 17 hours of glorious daylight each day. On the longest day (21 June this year if you’re curious), the sun will barely set at all in some places. In fact, in the North, on a good day, it’s possible to watch the sun rise before it goes below the horizon… or maybe that’s on a good two days? Can be hard to get your head around that marvel.
The long days don’t just mean more time to enjoy summer festivals, late night walks on the beach and extended day trips to appreciate our more remote beauty spots. The extra 10 hours of sunlight we get every day, when compared to mid-winter, is good for business too.
That is, it’s good if your business takes advantage of all that extra daylight instead of leaving the lights burning. To make sure you don’t miss out, we’ve come up with our top six midsummer money saving ideas, including some handy no and low-cost things you can start doing today.
1. Make use of natural daylight
There’s no better light than natural light. It’s great in terms of colour and intensity, and that’s great for staff productivity. Best of all, it’s completely free.
To make sure your business is making the most of all the natural light it can, we recommend you start by keeping your workplace’s windows (and skylights if you have them) clean and free from obstructions. Yes, Dave from marketing may have to move his big box of brochures from the window ledge, but it could mean you can switch off your lighting until the autumn, creating a better working environment and saving a packet on your energy bill. Sorry Dave.
You could then also think about rearranging your office to ensure your desk-based workers are near to the windows where they can enjoy the natural light – rather than having them sitting in darker areas where artificial lighting will need to be turned on.
2. Check your timers
This tip relates specifically to any external lighting you may have – safety and security, company signage and car-park lighting for example. It can also apply to display lighting in shop window displays for retailers.
If you have daylight sensors that control these lights, great, you’re sorted. But, if like many businesses you don’t have sensors fitted, it will pay dividends for you to take 5 minutes to adjust your timers for the summer. A quick check now will make sure you’re not wasting energy and money, all summer long – needlessly lighting up areas that are already bright enough.
3. Encourage staff to use lights only when needed
Question – with so much natural light available throughout the whole working day at this time of year, do you really need your lights on at all? Have you tried switching some, or even all, of them off?
We are creatures of habit, so it may be that your lights are on across your workplace right now, not because they’re needed, but just because they always get switched on in the morning - every day, all year round.
A great way to save money on your energy bill is to encourage staff to use lighting only when it’s required, and to switch it off when it isn’t. These free posters, stickers and light switch labels will help you do just that.
4. Use technology to automate your lighting
Encouraging staff to use lighting only when it’s needed is a quick, no-cost way of reducing your lighting bill. But we are all human and lights do get left on by accident – in meeting rooms, toilets, corridors and many other places where they are not needed. It’s happening right now in countless buildings across Scotland, wasting energy and profits.
The good news is, there’s lots of technology now available that can automatically control your lighting for you. Infrared, microwave, ultrasonic and heat sensors are all available and can prevent lights being left on unnecessarily in your business. What’s more, many systems can be installed without having to do any rewiring of your current lighting.
5. …and when you do need lighting on, make sure it’s efficient
OK, it’s Scotland. Even in the height of summer, there’ll be rainy days where there won’t be enough natural light and you’ll need to reach for the light switch. Maybe more than the odd day to be fair. Over the course of a year, lighting costs can quickly rack up for Scottish businesses and will often make up 20% of total energy costs.
Thankfully, lighting technology such as LEDs has progressed hugely in recent years and taking advantage of this technology provides a cracking opportunity to save energy and money.
At the same time, while new technology offers fantastic cost-saving opportunities, the rapid proliferation of new products on the market can sometimes be daunting. But that’s not a reason not to make cost-savings improvements. Just call our team of advisors and they can give you free advice on the type of system that would work best for you and your business – there’s no need to be left in the dark about your best options. What’s more, there’s lots of Government-funded support to help you make recommended improvements in your workplace – such as the Scottish Government’s interest-free SME loan.
6. Invest in solar panels
With over 17 hours of sunlight shining down on your workplace every day right now – have you considered turning some of it into free energy to cut your bills and boost profits?
Solar panel electricity systems, also known as photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun's energy (even on a cloudy day) and convert it into electricity, which can be used to power your business.
A well as benefitting from free energy, the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme also pays you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it. And the energy you don’t use? Well, you can sell it to the grid and receive another payment. What’s not to like? Plus, the Government’s SME Loan extends to renewables to help your business install solar panels.
There are hundreds of ways you can save resources to boost profits in your business, but the tips above are a great place to start.
Just have a look at the businesses on the Green Network For Businesses that have acted already and see the kinds of savings that can be easily made. And, remember, if you would like to join them, all you have to do is call our helpline on 0808 808 2268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resource Efficient Scotland is a programme from Zero Waste Scotland. Free support to business is funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.