Christmas is just around the corner and the lights and decorations are already going up in businesses and offices around Australia. No one wants to be a killjoy and we all enjoy some festive fun, but this time of the year definitely adds to your energy consumption. Check out our handy tips to minimise your energy spend over Christmas:
1 – Switch to LED Christmas lights
It’s a situation that comes around every year, the staff are tasked with digging out the old Christmas decoration box. The tree goes up and the lights are draped around it. But did you know that LED Christmas lights use 90% less energy than regular ones?
These lights use light-emitting diodes, rather than filaments to produce light, making them more efficient, durable and longer-lasting than incandescent lights. They last up to 25 times longer than regular lights and they don’t burn out, they just get dimmer over time. The don’t emit much heat either, making them much safer than regular lights. You can buy a decent set of 100 lights for about $30.
2 – Embrace technology – Go for fibre optic decorations
Another option to save money on energy is by investing in a fibre optic tree and decorations. Fibre optic trees can look a bit over the top if you are into the more traditional style of decorating, but the lights on it last an average of 200,000 hours – about 20 years. The cost savings on energy is estimated to be around 90% when compared to traditional lighting, putting them in the same bracket as LED lights. The saving made here though is on the lifespan of the tree and the fact that you don’t have to buy any lights for it. Out of the box and up it goes! You can buy one for as little as $100.
3 – Limit the time the lights are on
You don’t have to have the lights on all the time, remember, this is Australia. By the time Christmas comes around, it will be much warmer and brighter, meaning that the effect of Christmas tree lights will be lost.
You should invest in a timer that comes on when during your busier business hours. And don’t forget to turn the lights off when you close up for the day or close up for lunch break. You should also invest in decorations that are dimmable.
4 – Turn some lights off
If the tree is up and you have lights and decorations up all over the place, then you might want to turn some of the normal lights off or at least dim them. People do enjoy the warmth of Christmas lights, but stepping into a business premises that is lit up like a night-club can be offputting. Balance it out, place the lights and trees in an area where you can potentially turn off a few lights.
5 – Use a good multi-plug
We are all guilty of it, Christmas decoration boxes normally have an old multi-plug extension cord down at the bottom somewhere. It might be time to invest in a new one. You can save on energy by investing in a modern plug which will regulate current properly and make sure that electricity does not go to waste. It’s also a good idea to do so in the interest of health and safety. You can easily blow a fuse and that could lead to catastrophic damage to other appliances or even the business premises.
6 – Don’t go overboard
When is the ideal time to start decorating for Christmas? Tradition has it that you should decorate 12 days before and 12 days after Christmas. As a business, you will probably do it a bit earlier, but do you really need to light everything up from the beginning of December? Also, resist the temptation to buy a tonne of new decorations and lights. Dig out the decorations box early and see what you have before splashing out on new ones. Your first priority should be replacing traditional decorations with energy saving ones.
7 – Drinks and food
If you run an establishment that serves food, consider putting any seasonal drinks, or drinks you are putting on offer within easy reach. Leaving fridges and freezers open means higher energy bills. Make sure that staff close them each time they reach for something. Putting seasonal offerings in the one place will help them do that. You should also check out our blog post dedicated to energy savings for pubs while you are at it.
8 – Get the most out of your air conditioning unit
Yep, it’s probably going to be hot and you are probably going to need to turn the air-conditioning unit on. The most important things to remember here are that you do not need to set the thermostat to 17 degrees! The most comfortable and efficient temperate to set it to is 22 degrees Celsius. Make sure staff do extra rounds to make sure that doors leading outside are closed and make sure that they all self-close. You will save a lot of money if you are not trying to cool the whole neighbourhood down. Make sure not to place heat-emitting decorations next to the thermostat as this will trick it into thinking that it is hotter than it actually is. Check out another of our blog posts dedicated to air conditioning efficiency tips to make even more savings.
9 – Consider batteries
Some of the decorations available these days can be powered by both mains electricity and batteries. This means that you have an option to use rechargeable batteries to power them.
10 – Turn things off
It sounds like a no-brainer, but this really is the most important one on the list. When a shift ends and everyone goes home, things can be left on. Tell your staff to be more careful during the Christmas period and tell them to make sure that all decorations are turned off and unplugged. Energy is still consumed when devices are plugged in so you really should pay extra care and attention and make sure that everything is unplugged.
11- Good quality decorations
Buy good quality reflective decorations such as baubles which will reflect light around the venue. Anything reflective or sparkly will give the illusion that there are a lot more Christmas lights than there actually are. Get creative and use decorations to replicate the disco ball effect.
12- Water heating
It’s Christmas, it’s going to be hot! You can turn down the water heating at your venue to make up for the warmer ambient temperature. Remember though, the optimum temperature is 60°C, hot enough to kill Legionella bacteria and warm enough for staff and guests to use comfortably.
BONUS: Stick to the positive changes
Many of the tips mentioned here can be transferred to everyday operations. It is only when we actually implement things and make changes that we experience savings. See what has worked for you. Maybe you can replace some lights with LEDs, maybe your staff were too lax with the air-conditioning or maybe things were being left on standby overnight. These issues can all be addressed and will result in more energy savings.