Saving The Environment Through A New Approach To Electricity - By: Josh Mcclure

Electricity used to be as simple as flicking a switch. Not any more. The markets have been liberated and the pie has been shared between 6 major suppliers - the ball is now in the customers' court. Not only that, global warming is making us think differently about the way we use energy. By partnering with an electricity supplier that understands their needs, small businesses are finding they can help the environment and save money.

Electricity4Business, an electricity supplier dedicated to providing cheap energy to small and mid-sized companies, does not pretend to be a green company, but it does believe in helping businesses conserve energy. "We are not powered by windmills or solar power - there simply isn't enough green energy produced yet. At present, the electricity we provide is made from burning fossil fuels just like everyone else's," says Graham Paul, Sales & Marketing Director of E4B. "But by encouraging our customers to cut unnecessary consumption, we can save them money and help protect the environment."

So how do electricity costs mount up? Not so long ago, you could walk into a shop or small business and the only equipment you would find was a telephone, a cash register and possibly a computer. Now there are dozens of gadgets and appliances sucking up energy almost everywhere you look - printers, fax machines, air conditioning units, promotional pieces, laptop and mobile phone chargers, refrigerators, ventilators, modems and routers, coffee machines, power tools, machinery, and the list goes on and on. Many of them are never disconnected from the mains and buzz, whir and generate heat even when not in use. Now is the time to consider their cost to you, and to the environment.

The good news is that there are many ways to conserve energy and not even notice it, except when you look at the bill at the end of the month. And with increasing awareness of the impact our actions have on the environment, staff may no longer dismiss the boss as a penny pinching miser for insisting on turning the lights out after work. All it takes to make a difference is a little awareness and some positive thinking.

The most important way to reduce electricity consumption is to instil a culture of energy saving in your company. Typically, electricity is not so much used inefficiently as wasted, leaked and lost. Solving this problem begins by asking some simple questions about how equipment is used and maintained. Is the photocopier used often enough to justify it being on all day? Is the refrigerator door properly sealed and opened as rarely as possible? Are the computer's energy saving settings on? When was the last time that ventilator was cleaned? Why are the windows open if the heating is on?

Then there is the equipment itself. Replacing 38mm (T12) fluorescent tubes with 26mm (T8) tubes uses around 8 per cent less energy, while compact fluorescent lamps use 80 per cent less energy than tungsten GLS lamps. And for office equipment, look for energy saving devices with stand-by features that bear the Energy Star logo. And if your employees are wearing T-shirts in November, remember that each extra degree can put up to 8% on your heating bill.

There are many more ways of saving money on your electricity, whatever your line of business. Electricity 4 Business has compiled all the information you need to get started in a single document available for download absolutely free. The ten-page of Energy Efficiency Advice has everything on how to identify and rectify bad energy habits, where to get advice and how to claim energy related tax benefit and loans.

Electricity used to be as simple as flicking a switch. Not any more. The markets have been liberated and the pie has been shared between 6 major suppliers - the

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