Energy and gas costs continue to rise, leaving businesses that support aged care, youth, people with disability and the homeless, feeling financially strained.
The good news is that you can significantly reduce your energy bills by becoming more energy efficient.
Reducing energy use in your business can:
- save you money
- give you a competitive edge
- create more business
- help the environment.
The figures on this page come from our Boosting Business Productivity program. We worked with more than 300 businesses to explore their energy use and minimise their energy cost.
Measure your current energy use
First, understand where your business is using the most energy, so you can find ways to reduce and save.
Based on the businesses we’ve worked with, the common areas that use the most energy are:
- heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC)
- kitchen appliances and office equipment
- refrigeration and cool rooms.
Ways to reduce energy costs
1. Install timers to your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system
Managing the way you heat and cool your space can reduce your heating and cooling bill by up to 50%.
Set the thermostat to:
- 24°C in summer
- 20°C in winter.
One degree higher or lower can add 5–10% to your heating and cooling bill.
Limit heat entry or loss by:
- draught proofing
- window tinting.
On average, health care accommodation businesses managing heating and cooling more efficiently found they:
- spent $4500 to implement
- saved more than $3000 annually
- took less than 1.5 years to pay back
- saved almost 15 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
2. Install timers to appliances and office equipment
Encourage your staff to turn off appliances when they’re not being used.
If that doesn’t work, you can install timers to do the work for you.
Kitchen appliances and office equipment can use an unnecessary amount of energy when left on, like:
- coffee machines
- sandwich presses
- hot bain-maries
- hot water units.
On average, health care accommodation businesses installing timers to appliances found they:
- spent $1000 to implement
- saved more than $600 annually
- took less than 2 years to pay back
- saved almost 5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
3. Upgrade to LED lighting
LED lighting is more than 60% more efficient than fluorescent and halogen lighting. LED lighting also needs less maintenance.
On average, health care accommodation businesses upgrading to LED lighting found they:
- spent less than $25,000 to implement
- saved up to $10,000 annually
- took less than 3 years to pay back
- saved more than 40 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
4. Install a gas and electricity meter on high-energy equipment
Some of your high-energy equipment might be using more gas or electricity than needed.
Buy and set up a gas or electricity meter on equipment that uses the most energy to monitor use.
The meter can show you how much energy the equipment uses and when. This data can be analysed to see if the equipment is working efficiently. You may find you can downsize equipment or discover when it needs maintenance.
On average, health care accommodation businesses installing gas and electricity meters found they:
- spent less than $4500 to implement
- saved more than $1000 annually
- took less than 4 years to pay back
- saved more than 9 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
5. Regularly maintain cool rooms and freezers
Upgrading your old refrigeration equipment to more energy efficient ones can decrease your energy use and significantly help the environment.
When upgrading your equipment, look for the energy rating label.
It helps to regularly maintain your refrigeration. Look for:
- coil cleanliness
- cycle times
- refrigerant levels
- function of fan and motors
- refrigerant pressure settings
- correct temperature settings
- refrigerant leaks.
On average, health care accommodation businesses maintaining cool rooms and freezers found they:
- spent less than $16,500 to implement
- saved more than $5600 annually
- took less than 3 years to pay back
- saved more than 15 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
6. Invest in renewable energy
You can switch to renewable energy by:
- investing in solar PV (photovoltaics)
- asking your energy provider about renewable energy options.
To get the most competitive offer for renewable energy, compare electricity and gas providers.
For help investing in solar, you can get finance. Environmental Upgrade Finance allows you or your building owner to borrow money from a financier to install solar on your site. You then make repayments through your local council rates system.
On average, health care accommodation businesses investing in renewable energy found they:
- spent less than $40,000 to implement
- saved more than $7500 annually
- took 5 years to pay back
- saved almost 40 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
For a more extensive guide on saving energy in the health care accommodation industry, view the Office of Environment and Heritage Energy saver: Aged-care toolkit (PDF, 537kB).
What else can you do?
Get an energy audit
Hire a professional energy consultant to review your energy bills and the way your business operates. They’ll identify where you’re losing energy and what you can do about it.
Through our Boosting Business Productivity program, on average, a business in the health care industry:
- spent $7600 on an energy audit
- identified a savings of 63% of their total energy bill
- identified $63,700 of annual savings.
Get recommendations for an energy upgrade project
Our energy upgrade tool does the hard work for you. It recommends opportunities and funding options, and calculates return on investment for your business.
Upgrade equipment at a discount
You may be eligible for discounted energy-efficiency products and services, through the Victorian Energy Upgrade program.
To get started, contact an accredited provider.
Then, you can pay for the remaining cost with energy-specific finance.