Cutting down on energy costs is the dream for many small businesses, but to put ideas into practice isn’t always easy. When it comes to renewable energy, the potential gains from harnessing solar or wind power are huge, but lack of awareness can hinder the take-up of these options.

It’s a daunting thought for many small business owners to install solar powered systems or wind generators, but with professional advice and guidance on the suitability of each type of sustainable energy, the advantages become clear.

So let’s have a look at some of the options, plus their benefits.

Energy from the sun

Solar, or photovoltaic, panels collect and store energy from the sun, which is then converted to heat the building. Solar panels can be incorporated within roofing tiles, cladding and the more commonly seen glazing.

They’re a popular choice for small businesses because:
• Planning permission may not be required for installation
• Solar power can be used for hot water as well as heating
• They’re a low maintenance option

Whether or not solar panels could meet all the energy needs for a small business depends on the premises, size of the business, and its location, however.

Power from wind

Wind turbines are an increasingly common sight on our landscape, with small businesses taking advantage of wind power to generate their electricity. Installing a small wind turbine requires planning permission, and suitability depends on the site of the business and expected wind speeds.

So what are the benefits of using wind power for small businesses?
• It’s a smaller capital outlay
• If the site is suitable, there will be a constant source of free energy available
• Turbines can work efficiently even at lower wind speeds of around 4 metres per second

Ground source heat pumps

Natural heat energy in the ground is transferred using ground source heat pumps. A system such as this can provide heating, hot water and cooling, as water and anti-freeze is pumped through the pipes.
It’s a good option for new businesses building their own premises, as installation can be disruptive, but it’s a recognised and well-established system. Here are just a few of the benefits:
• Planning permission for installation isn’t always needed
• The building can be cooled in hot weather, as well as warmed in winter
• It’s one of the most energy-efficient methods of providing heat for a building

With supplies of oil, coal and gas dwindling, the potential gains from using sustainable sources of energy are considerable, both in terms of business cost savings and also taking care of the planet.
Renewable energy might not be for everyone; but by discussing your business energy bills with Project Lower, we can quickly ascertain the best way to save you money.