New figures show that Britain’s smallest businesses may be missing a simple trick when it comes to taking control of their energy costs during this difficult time. 

Research has shown that less than half of small business premises have active energy management policies, in comparison to two thirds for large enterprises. This is despite the fact that energy has been revealed to be the second highest expense that such businesses estimate and more than half (56%) of small business owners agree that having a better understanding of their energy use would give them greater control over their expenditure. 
A further study showed that more than two thirds (68%) of businesses employing less than 10 people do not have a smart meter fitted, with a quarter unaware they are available for businesses.  
To help small business at this time, Smart Energy GB has partnered with Energy Saving Trust to create some expert advice on how simple actions such as turning down heating and getting a smart meter installed could help small business owners take back control of their energy costs this winter. 
Heating accounts for 39% of the energy usage in the retail sector and a quarter of all energy use in hair and beauty salons –  so small changes here could have a big impact on your overall bills. During the colder months, shoppers are wrapped up warm and in plenty of layers – meaning you may not need to heat your shop as much as you normally do. Lowering your in-store temperature by just one degree could reduce your energy usage by 8%.  Also, a simple, low cost measure that could provide an annual saving of around £14 on your heating bill could be made through installing radiator reflector panels. These reflect the heat from your radiators back into the room.
Cooling and refrigeration 
There are a number of things small businesses can do with little to no investment to produce big savings here. Regular cleaning and maintenance alone can provide energy savings of up to 10%, whilst installing night blinds on refrigerators after closing hours could save up to 35% on bills.  
Switching off 
Implementing a good ‘shut-down’ policy has the power to provide modest but regular energy savings – all by simply ensuring that devices are properly turned off and not left on standby at the end of the working day. 
Something as simple as removing access lighting and using natural light wherever possible has the power to provide real energy savings with zero cost. However, if you are able to make an investment switching to LED bulbs and tubes has the potential to save hundreds of pounds per year, while installing movement sensors, daylight sensors and timers on lights could provide savings of up to 30%.
Review your energy data 
Monitoring your energy usage throughout the day doesn’t have to be a big job: check with your energy supplier whether you are eligible for a smart meter installation. It will help you to take control of your energy by allowing you to see your daily usage, helping you spot trends and helping you to pinpoint where you can make savings. Smart meters also give you accurate meter readings, ensuring that you only pay for the energy you are actually using. 
To find out if your small business is eligible for a smart meter, contact your energy supplier.