Energy - efficiency advice and assessment


How to make your business more energy efficient

The Council's Climate Change Team gives advice and information to all businesses in Derby on how to save energy and save money. We also give advice on all the latest business energy grants and discount schemes. Read on for more information.

Tips for reducing energy use in your office

Using energy efficiently is important as it will help your business save money on its gas and electricity bills. It will also help to reduce your environmental impact by lowering the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from your business operations. We have listed a few ideas to help you save energy at work

The basic tips

These are the first steps that a small business should take. There is no cost associated with implementing these, but they are proven to be effective measures. If you have already taken action in these three areas please move on to the three key recommendations.

Staff awareness focusing on 'switching off'

Work with your colleagues to introduce an energy efficient culture in your business. Educate staff to 'Switch Off' all non essential equipment whenever practical; including monitors, light switches and air conditioning units, etc.

Heating and cooling basics

Ensure windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling systems are in use and only operate one system at a time, do not heat and cool simultaneously.

Heating and cooling operation

Ensure you only use the system when people are in the building, using any controls you have to match operation to occupancy.

Three key recommendations

Install lighting controls - occupancy and daylight sensors

Daylight and Occupancy Controls ensure your lights are only on when required. Automatic controls work by sensing when an area is occupied, the level of daylight or both. There are likely to be savings opportunities if you work in a building where lighting is left on unnecessarily. A lot of energy is wasted in areas of limited use such as washrooms, store cupboards and consultation rooms. Why light empty spaces?

Do you have office space that is artificially lit, when daylight is already doing the job, such as a row of lighting running parallel to windows? Why waste energy? Light sensors (photocells) can switch off or dim artificial lighting when there is sufficient daylight.

An occupancy detector (with built in daylight sensor), might typically cost around £200 (plus VAT) to install using a contractor.

Improve heating controls

Install optimum start/stop and weather compensation controls. Installing optimum start/stop and weather compensation controls will enable automatic adjustment of your heating system in line with the weather.

Optimum start/stop controls can often provide a 10% efficiency improvement and both these controls usually pay back their investment within a couple of years.

Automatic heating controls will ensure the internal office temperature is maintained at the optimum temperature during the heating season and only operating when there is demand and occupancy. If you work in a building where:

  • You only have simple on/off or time clock controls
  • You do not adjust your heating system in line with changes in the climate
  • You find that at certain periods the office is overly warm at various times of day.

Then automatic heating controls are suitable for you.

Optimum start/stop controls save energy by minimising the number of hours a boiler operates. It controls the time your heating system starts so your building is at the desired temperature for when it opens. The controls also turn off the heating systems earlier on warmer days.

Weather compensation controls save energy by reducing the boiler output on warmer days which prevents over-heating of the building and reduces the amount of heat wasted from the distribution pipe work.

Operate your office equipment efficiently

Switching off computers, office equipment and other power using devices provides a good energy saving opportunity. Set up shut down and energy saving settings on office and computer equipment; as well as turning off equipment that is not in use.

Shut down and energy saving settings, work by either turning devices, such as computers, off when they are not going to be used, for instance when the office closes at the end of the day, or, activating a standby mode after a predetermined time, which switches the equipment into a reduced power consumption mode.

Leaving computers, monitors and printer/photocopiers on standby, even when they are switched off on the weekends and in holiday periods, can still cost small and medium sized office based businesses nearly £350 over the course of a year.

If you work in an office where:

  • equipment such as computers, photocopiers and printers are left on during the day for long periods when not being used
  • equipment is left on out of hours

then implementing this recommendation could provide energy savings of up to 70%. Furthermore, additional energy can also be saved through reduced cooling or air conditioning use.

Other general energy saving measures

Every business relies on limiting as much as possible their financial outgoings as a means of maximising their profitability and keeping the company afloat. Efficient energy management goes a long way in reducing financial outgoings. Below are some general measures that can be employed to reduce costs

Double glazing

If your business premises still have single glazing, you could potentially make savings of up to 30% off your heating bills by having double glazing installed.

Improved energy efficient lighting

If your business premise uses fluorescent lighting, you might want to consider switching the thicker tubes (called T12s) for the more efficient thinner tubes (called T5s). T5s have these advantages over T12s...

  • They save energy.
  • These bulbs require fewer toxic chemicals.
  • They emit less heat (thus reducing air conditioning costs).
  • They provide better quality light.

Improved insulation

If your building has a high roof, it means you have a lot more space to heat up before your achieve a comfortable room temperature. You could reduce your energy bill by installing a suspended ceiling with a layer of insulation on top. This will help you make your office/workshop a bit more comfortable. Depending on the fabric of the walls, you may also want to consider solid wall insulation on the internal walls to stop heat from escaping the building.

Insulated roller shutter doors

Many non-office based businesses have roller shutter doors, some of them made from steel. These are highly porous and make it impossible to meaningfully warm up the building. Some recently developed roller shutter have a layer of insulation on the inside and greatly reduce the amount of heat lost from the building (also consider opening the shutter door when it is necessary e.g. for deliveries, the tendency by many businesses to have the door open most of the day means you can never sufficiently heat up your premises).

New efficient boilers

If your business is still using an outdated boiler, you have an opportunity to make great savings by replacing it with an A-rated boiler. A-rated boilers can achieve efficiencies of up to 90% or more compared to around 60% for older generation boilers. Such boilers, together with automatic controls, can greatly reduce your energy demand and can save you up to £500 a year.

Useful websites

For more information on energy efficiency visit:

  • The Carbon Trust not-for-profit company providing specialist support to help business and the public sector boost business returns by cutting carbon emissions, saving energy and commercialising low carbon technologies.
  • The Energy Saving Trust (EST) aims to achieve the sustainable and efficient use of energy and to help cut C02 emissions. It provides practical advice on energy efficiency for both homes and businesses.
  • Groundwork Derby and Derbyshire’s Environmental Business Services provide training and advice to organisations on environmental business issues.
  • You can also work out the impact of your business on the environment by using a special carbon footprint calculator developed by the Carbon Trust.

For further information on our service or to contact us for energy efficiency advice and information, please use the contact details below.

Useful forms

Contact details

Post address:
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 640337
Minicom: 01332 640666

Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street