Depending on your business size and activities, energy costs can take up a large part of your budget. By making some changes, you can use energy more efficiently and be more sustainable. There are low-cost steps you can take to start saving energy now, as well as bigger changes that can happen over time.

1. Compare energy contracts

Energy can account for a large part of a business’s operating costs. One way to minimise these costs is to review your current energy contract to make sure you get the best value.

Negotiate a better deal

You may be able to get a better deal with your current energy provider or a new one.

Depending on the size and location of your business you can choose from different types of energy contracts:

  • Standard retail offers – basic contracts with minimum terms and conditions. These usually suit smaller energy users.
  • Market retail contracts – contracts between you and your energy retailer. These mostly suit businesses with lower energy use.
  • Market contract (negotiated) – contracts you negotiate based on market prices. These may suit larger energy users. You may face more price changes but you can save money if you manage your use and understand your energy needs.

Before you negotiate your contract, gather some data about your energy use from your current energy provider. Aim to get at least 12 months of data showing your energy use for each half-hour period. The more a potential energy provider knows about your current use, the less likely they are to charge you a premium.

Switch to a greener plan

Consider switching to GreenPower.

Almost all energy providers in Australia have a GreenPower accredited product. This lets you buy between 10 and 100% of your electricity from a renewable source.

Buying GreenPower reduces your emissions and helps you become certified carbon neutral among other business benefits.

2. Use energy-efficient equipment

Selecting the right appliances and technology and using them more efficiently can help reduce energy use and save you money.

Check energy ratings

Energy ratings are an important tool for comparing the energy efficiency and running costs of appliances.

Before you buy an appliance:

If you supply electrical appliances

You must meet manufacturing and labelling laws by displaying the energy efficiency of your products. Learn more about labelling your products.

Switch to energy-efficient lights

Using energy-efficient lights is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce your energy use.

Before you weigh up your options, review your current lights to determine the purpose they serve in your business. For example, lights in the reception area of a hotel may need to be different to lights in the hotel rooms.

If you can’t afford to switch all your lights at once, change them when your current ones stop working. By planning ahead, you can transition smoothly over time.

Choose energy-efficient vehicles

Choosing fuel-efficient vehicles can save you money and reduce air pollution and emissions. Some fuel-efficient cars also have a higher threshold for the luxury car tax. Car insurers may offer you discounts too.

Also consider buying or leasing a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV). EV technology has advanced rapidly, with modern EVs able to go much further on a single charge.

Remember to calculate the costs of servicing and maintaining vehicles over time too to help you choose.

3. Improve the energy efficiency of your building

Whether you own or lease your space, it pays to make it more energy efficient. Choices you make can reduce your energy bills and emissions and improve occupants’ health and comfort. Some changes can even increase employee productivity and reduce absenteeism.

Good tips to keep in mind:

  • If you’re building new commercial buildings, consider energy efficiency measures at the design stage. This helps you maximise your energy efficiency from the start.
  • There are many cost-effective ways to retrofit or refurbish commercial buildings to reduce energy use. Some architects, builders and trades such as painters offer specialist energy-saving services and materials.
  • Tenants can save money and care for the environment by managing an energy-efficient office space. Use tools to help you compare buildings and offices before selecting energy-efficient premises.
  • Consider a green lease (also known as a best practice lease). With this type of contract, the tenant and building owner look at ways to jointly lower energy use. This often results in a financial win for both parties. For more information, read the Green Lease Handbook.

4. Generate your own energy

You may be able to generate your own renewable energy. This type of energy uses abundant natural resources that constantly renew, including sun, wind and water.

Compared to energy from the grid, renewable energy can:

  • save you a lot of money
  • protect you from volatile energy prices.

There may be rebates you can get to set up renewable energy systems. Check if you can get rebates and assistance in your state or territory.

5. Get tips for your industry

Energy use varies a lot depending on your industry. It’s important to understand how this affects you so you can find ways to improve energy efficiency that work for you.

Some great starting points for all businesses include:

  • Train your staff on energy efficiency.
  • Turn off lights and air conditioning when rooms are not in use.
  • Switch heating to 24°C and cooling to 18°C.
  • Train staff to turn off computers and monitors at the end of the day.
  • As equipment breaks, switch to equipment with higher energy ratings.

6. Find help to save energy

Energy grants and funding

There are options to help you fund your energy improvements.

  • Leasing – this reduces the up-front cost of switching to more energy-efficient equipment.
  • On-bill financing – the retailer provides you with the energy efficiency equipment in return for regular repayments on your energy bill.
  • Energy performance contracts – common in the commercial building sector. Energy service companies reduce your energy bill by retrofitting the building and using the energy you save to cover the costs.
  • Grants – energy grants are available for businesses to improve their energy efficiency.

Search for grants and support

Use our search tool to find grants, funding or assistance programs to support your energy-saving measures.

Search now

If you have an issue with your energy provider

Ombudsmen provide free, fair and independent services to resolve disputes.

Contact the ombudsman in your state or territory to find out:

  • the types of complaints they can help you with
  • the complaints process
  • how to submit a complaint.

Energy ombudsmen

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