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Three ways to future-proof your business against the carbon tax

As of July 2012 the carbon tax will be introduced. What does the carbon tax mean for your business? Well, for most businesses the carbon tax, like any other tax, will mean higher running costs. We can expect the cost of energy to rise, but this will also have a snow-balling effect across all industries and this will directly impact on your businesses bottom line.

Most businesses will simply bite the bullet and continue business as usual (BAU). However for the smart business owner this represents an opportunity. By directly taking action on your energy usage, you will remain one step ahead of the game and be able to offer your products or services at discounted rates when compared with your BAU competitors.

For this article I have highlighted 3 methods of energy reduction/offset which in my experience are likely to have the biggest effects on your power bill.

1.  Replace your Incandescent Lightbulbs with Compact Flourescents or (even better) LED lights

Incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient and lose a lot of their energy as heat. As a consequence these old lighting styles are banned from import in Australia. However, I am still amazed to see just how many people are still using them in their home.  CFLs last longer than the incandescent lightbulb and also use less power – LED lights last even longer and use even less power!

Take a look around your building and see if you can find any of these light, they can be easily recognised by their round bulb. Swapping them over to CFL’s will save you a lot of money on your power bill, but if you want to save even more money change them over with LED lights which will save you even more money.

2. Maintain your HVAC system

It really amazes me how few business ever maintain their HVAC (Air-conditioning system). A HVAC system is like any other engine and requires regular servicing to run at optimum efficiency. HVAC systems when blocked can cause huge spikes in energy usage and can also cause negative health effects.

If you can’t even remember the last time you checked out your system, organise for a professional to come and have a look, they will let you know how often it requires servicing and will also alert you to any other major energy sinks that your HVAC might have. If you are a tenant, ask your landlord to split the cost, as a faulty HVAC system can increase your energy usage by up to 300 percent.

3. Consider Renewable Energy

For most business owners, the best option for renewable energy is solar power. The price of rooftop solar has reduced dramatically in the past 3 years to the point where most commercial-size systems will pay themselves off in less than 4 years.  For most business operations I would suggest starting with a 5kW system, this is an entry level commercial system but will save you over $500 each quarter on your power bill. A great online tool that I found recently is isolarcalculator, which is an online application that can help you to determine exactly how much you can save with solar power.

QLD business owners are particularly lucky in the fact they can actually receive credits for energy sent back to the grid, so your solar power system can earn money while your business isn’t operating.

By following these 3 simple steps you will have the potential to reduce your power bill by over 30 percent, this will have a huge impact on your businesses budget, particularly as energy prices continue to rise.

Think about it like this: 2 identical businesses with 2 identical products, when the carbon tax comes in one business decides to pay more for energy and the other business works hard to decrease their running costs. Both businesses deliver the same product for the same price but one business is able to make a higher margin. Which business do you want to run?

Rhys Clay

Rhys Clay

Rhys Clay is an Energy Analyst at Sustainability Insights, a leading sustainability consultancy. Sustainability Insights specialises in reducing businesses ongoing operating costs by improving energy, water and waste efficiencies.

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