AS part of the Tivy-Side's cost of living campaign, we will be bringing you tips to support small businesses.

NatWest is partnering with Newsquest to help SMEs stay strong during the crisis.

Last month, in partnership with NatWest, we launched a new campaign aimed at supporting local SMEs through the cost-of-living crisis.

Over the next six weeks we will be delivering a series of events and editorials bringing together leading experts from NatWest to provide insights and help that could save your business money.

This week, it is all about steps you can take to reduce energy costs.

1. Choose the right tariff

How and when you use your energy should determine your choice of energy tariff, NatWest says.

You can choose an Economy 7 tariff, depending on your meter type, which will give you a day unit rate and a night unit rate.

If you can, you can make use of the cheaper night-time rate and programme energy-intensive appliances to come on at night, such as dishwashers or heating or cooling systems.

2. Switch off

Many appliances use a small amount of power when switched off.

Ask employees to enable sleep mode when not using a computer for more than 20 minutes and be aware that screen savers can actually use more energy than leaving the screen active.

When equipment will not be used for a long period of time, unplug it.

3. Reduce water temperature and consumption

Using less water means a lower water bill and a lower energy bill.

You can use low-water-consumption showers and toilets, automatic shower controls, and tap aerators.

4. Keep it clean

Make sure that air conditioning units and refrigeration and freezer systems are kept clean and free from dust, debris and obstruction.

This could make a huge difference to efficiency and bring down energy bills. It could also extend the lifetime of the appliances.

5. Maintain your equipment

Service your boiler annually, check your refrigerators and freezers are not leaking fluid or cold air, and test any technology you have, such as computers or servers, to make sure it’s all operating efficiently.

This could save money on your energy and fuel bills in the long run. It also helps if you delay switching on heating or air conditioning until later in the year.

6. See the light

Using energy-saving lightbulbs can also give you a small saving.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, switching from a 100w incandescent bulb to LED can save up to £13 per year,based on a 1,100-luman bulb running for 562 hours per year.

It’s also a good idea to turn lights off when they’re not in use too, which could be helped by investing in a motion-sensor lighting system.

7. Make sure everyone knows how to help

Having conversations with employees could really help save on energy costs. 

Offering flexible or remote working could reduce the amount of office space, heating, lighting, and electricity you need to pay as well.

These are four steps to potential long-term savings

1. Use smart thermometers 

Smart thermometers and automatic timers will give you greater control over your heating and cooling.

You can programme them to make sure the heating is off when the office is empty, for example at weekends, then comes on again just before people arrive for work.

You can also use a smart thermometer to turn the heating or cooling off once the room has reached a specified temperature. 

2. Use fewer fridges and freezers

It’s often cheaper to run one larger unit than two smaller ones. By more effectively using the space you have, you may find you’re able to make do with fewer units. 

3. Generate your own energy 

You could save money through on-site generation by installing solar panels.

Investing in assets that could produce your own power could lead to significant long-term savings.

If you don’t use all the energy you generate, you can sell it back to the grid for an extra revenue stream.

4. Electrify your fleet

Switching to electric vehicles and installing charge points in your car park could help both you and your employees to save on vehicle running costs as the prices of petrol and diesel rise.

Next week, NatWest will be discussing how reducing your property costs could help you save money.