Summertime is fast-approaching; time for the beach, barbecues, and sunny skies. Unfortunately, it’s also the time for increased temperatures and sky-rocketing summer electricity bills.
You may have noticed that your power bills are higher than usual during the summer, and wondered why this is happening. We’re here to clue you in on why the hot season always means spending more on electricity, and give you tips on how to keep your energy costs low.
Why are my electricity bills so high during the summer?
Increased consumption plays a big part in why bills are so expensive during the summer. Because it’s so hot, people tend to crank up the air conditioning units and freezers and the heat makes the machines work even harder.
As more cooling appliances are turned on, the electricity supply has to keep up. This leads us to another hurdle: extreme weather can affect the output from the country’s power generators, sometimes even causing equipment failure. Hydropower, which makes up 7.5% of Australia’s energy mix, requires a constant supply of water to function but droughts can deplete its reserves.
10 Practical steps to reduce your consumption this summer:
1) Turn the lights and equipment off when not in use
You can save money if you and your staff are more conscious of not wasting electricity. You will need to unplug some equipment like plasma displays and printers. These still use power even if they’re turned off but still plugged in. (This phenomenon is called vampire power.)
2) Keep your facility’s a/c system well-maintained
Your air conditioner is going to get a lot of use, so have it serviced early on. Make sure the refrigerant is fully-charged, the motors and compressors are operating properly, and the distribution ducts are well-balanced. These will ensure an energy-efficient machine system.
3) Switch incandescent bulbs to LED
If your site uses incandescent or halogen bulbs, it’s time to switch to LED or CFL lights. These use up less electricity than incandescent bulbs and remain cool, helping reduce air conditioning costs. (Read our article on the coming halogen bulb ban in Australia starting September 2020.)
4) Consider a/c alternatives
Ceiling fans and evaporative coolers can help bring the temperature down inside your commercial space using less energy than centralised a/c.
5) Turn off vents in unused rooms
Have a conference room that’s not being used? Close off its vents so the system only cools rooms where people are working.
6) Make sure your equipment has a good Energy Rating
If you’re buying new appliances like freezers or data centres, check that they’re highly-rated by the Australian government’s E3 Program.
7) Put up window shades
Heat enters through windows; appropriate covering like blinds or curtains can cool the room down.
8) Seal drafts
There may be some cracks in walls or gaps around doors and windows – these let the cool air out. Reduce energy costs by applying caulking and installing weather strips.
9) Have an energy audit performed
Specialists can help you see how much power you’re consuming and give you advice on how to make your company more energy-efficient.
10) Make sure your site is properly insulated
Good insulation can keep you safe from high electric bills by helping maintain room temperature, so you need less power to make your facility comfortable to work in.
In a nutshell:
These are just some ways you can decrease your summer electricity costs. But if you want to take it a step up, you can also install rooftop solar panels, join a demand response program, or monitor your energy consumption.
If that seems confusing to you or you don’t have the time, Leading Edge Energy can help get you on the right track. Just get in touch and we’ll help you become more energy-efficient for all seasons, not just the summer.