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Grenke Leasing

Countless millions of us will waste energy at home without realising, with appliances left on standby and keeping fully-charged items plugged in.

But many people also bring these habits to work, where they expect their employer to foot the bill.

This can add up to a huge amount over time and is an expense that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular can ill-afford.

Main energy sins

A study by UK Power looked into what bad habits people have at home when it comes to energy usage - and which ones could be costly in the workplace as well.

The findings revealed that one in four people regularly leave lights on in unoccupied rooms, while almost a third leave their laptops plugged in even when they're fully charged.
Figures also showed that 22 per cent will leave a laptop on standby, while 15 per cent have a habit of reboiling a kettle after it has already been boiled and ten per cent leave the radio on when nobody is listening.

The cost of all this can swiftly mount up in a workplace, particularly if these sins are being repeated on a daily basis by lots of people. And this could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Indeed, UK Power estimates that if a business had 100 employees who each microwaved their lunch every day in 2017 (252 working days), the total cost of the energy required would exceed £3,000.

So what can be done to help employees get into better habits, both at home and in the office?

UK Power noted that the introduction of smart meters has helped people across the UK get more familiar with how much energy certain activities require.

However, it said there is still a lack of clarity about which items are the most and least expensive to run, while many are also stuck in "numerous bad habits".

Actively educating members of staff and introducing energy usage policies could therefore be a prudent measure to take.

Time to bring in new equipment?

Another option that businesses could explore is replacing their existing IT equipment and appliances with more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Of course, purchasing items such as printers, photocopiers, coffee machines and computers with better energy-efficiency ratings might be seen as prohibitively expensive by some.

However, leasing equipment could be a possible option rather than buying it outright.

This is because leasing enables businesses to update their infrastructure without a large upfront investment.

As a result, they can switch to less-wasteful equipment, while retaining funds that can be invested elsewhere in the business.

Leasing also offers great flexibility to companies, as they won't be saddled with out-of-date technology when newer and more energy-efficient alternatives are available.

Businesses might not rush to replace items very quickly if they have spent large sums on purchasing them outright, but this obstacle doesn't apply if they are leasing them instead.

By pursuing this option, companies could be able to update their equipment without breaking the bank - and bring down their utility bills to free up further cash.

Nick Heath, head of insight at UK Power, commented: "We hope our research will make people think twice about their energy habits -  and of the positive impacts very small changes can have on their household and business bills."