Business Energy

A Complete Guide To Business Energy for Shops

woman in tailors# A Complete Guide To Business Energy for Shops

Shops can use a lot of energy - when you consider the lighting for the shop floor and displays, electricity to powering equipment and appliances, as well as energy for heating and cooling, the energy costs soon add up. That’s why it’s so important to understand what you’re being charged for, so you can make sure you’re on the best deal and keep on top of your costs.

How do shops use gas and electricity?

Although retail is a diverse sector, there are lots of common areas where energy tends to be wasted.

The 2016 Business Energy Efficiency Survey, for instance, shows that around a third of all energy used by shops goes on heating, with a quarter going on cooled storage and a further quarter going on lighting. Then a combination of ICT equipment, hot water, catering, fans and other factors make up the rest of the total energy consumption in the retail sector.

Some of the proportions shown here will vary according to the type of store - for example, food retailers tend to have higher refrigeration costs than shown here, while others will have more significant air conditioning costs.

However you use the most energy in your shop, there are three main ways to save energy:

  • Switch off: make sure you switch off all energy consuming equipment when you don’t need it. You can ask your staff to do this, or use timer switches, or you can adjust your building control systems. It doesn’t need to cost anything, and could save you a lot of money.
  • Maintenance: it’s important to ensure your equipment is well maintained and running properly so it doesn’t waste any energy. You can often make energy efficiency improvements as part of your routine maintenance procedures for no extra cost.
  • Refurbishment: if you’re planning a major store refurbishment, it’s a great time to take energy saving measures, as you can do it cost effectively.

You can get more tips from the Carbon Trust.

What is an average business electricity bill?

The amount you pay for business electricity varies depending on your business’s location and your energy supplier, but these average amounts will give you an idea of what to expect to pay:

Business size Average annual usage (kWh) Average price (per kWh) Standing charge (daily) Average annual price
Micro business 5,000 - 15,000 25.4p 57.1p £2,748
Small business 15,000 - 25,000 24.9p 75.8p £5,879
Medium business 25,000 - 50,000 25.4p 88.2p £12,386

Note: Prices are correct as of May 2024. Rates and bill size may vary according to your meter type and business location. The prices you’re quoted may be different from the averages shown. The figures shown are the average unit rates and standing charges quoted by Bionic per business size from May 1 to May 7, 2024.

How to make your shop more energy efficient

There are lots of things you can do to make your shop more energy efficient, and bring your business energy costs down.

Use lower lighting in non-customer areas like stock rooms, store cupboards and staff toilets. It’s also worth considering installing movement sensors in these areas so the lights are only on when they need to be - this could help you save up to 50% on your lighting costs. If you have lights outside your shop, think about fitting dawn to dusk automatic sensors, as these will make sure the lights only come on when it’s dark outside. You can also use time-clock controls to operate fascia lighting.

Think about the light bulbs you’re using - swapping conventional bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) will give you a similar output, but the bulbs will last eight times longer and only use 20% - 25% of the energy. You could also consider LED bulbs, as these last much longer than conventional lighting and use 60% - 80% less energy.

Heating accounts for 40% of the energy used in an average retail environment, so there’s plenty of opportunity for you to make savings here. Make sure your shop temperature is realistic - remember that on cold days your customers will be wrapped up in warm clothing, so you don’t want to make them uncomfortably warm. 19C is the ideal temperature for your thermostat - turning it down by just 1C could reduce your energy usage by 8%. If you can, make sure your outer doors are closed, as this will stop heated air from escaping and cold air from getting in. If you do have to leave your doors open, then fit an air curtain above the door, as this will reduce the amount of warm air that escapes and cold air that gets in. Make sure the air curtain has a time-clock, so it only operates during your opening hours.

If you have display refrigerators in your shop, avoid overfilling the fridges - the more products you have on the shelves, the harder it is for air to circulate and the harder the equipment has to work. If your display fridges are fitted with doors, make sure they close properly and that the seals fit correctly. Increase your cooling temperature by 1C - if it’s food-safe to do so - and you’ll reduce your energy consumption by 2% - 4%. Turn off the display lights out of hours, and make sure the condensers are clean and free of dust.

MoneySuperMarket has teamed up with Bionic to help to cut the energy bills at your shop. Call them today on 0800 088 6986 to compare business energy quotes or leave you postcode and they’ll give you a call back.