Stay in charge

Controlling the amount of energy you use has a massive influence on energy use. Luckily it’s also one of the easiest areas to put right. It can be as simple as making sure things are switched on and off at the right times, so you only use the energy you need.

After all, while you might spend 40 hours a week at work, a device that’s permanently on will use energy for 168 hours a week. It really adds up.

Chefs in a restaurant kitchen Timer plug


Time switches are simple and straightforward and can be used on everything from heaters and fans to lights and computer peripherals. Choose time switches that are simple to set and programmable for a whole week of events – allowing for weekends and bank holidays.

Hand changing temperature on a thermostat


Install good quality electronic thermostats for better control. For heating, thermostatic radiator valves are better than nothing, but depending on where they’re used and what other temperature controls you have, they could be inaccurate1. Try to “zone”, so you can pick suitable temperatures in each area of your building. Linking temperature controls to time of day and occupancy is also useful as it allows a reduced temperature when no-one’s around.

Person walking through door


Controls that sense the presence of people can be useful for heating and air conditioning, as well as lighting. The key thing here is positioning the sensors well and considering the more sophisticated sensor types available. Those using microwaves or ultrasonic might be more appropriate than the more common infrared system.

Light fitting


Dimmed lights use less electricity, and can be linked with proximity sensors and light level sensors for even more savings. For example, advanced garage forecourt lights have sensors that turn up the lights when a car arrives at a pump, to a level appropriate for the amount of daylight. Similarly, fluorescent light in shops can be dimmed as the amount of natural light increases.

Pipes with pressure valves

Pressures and flow

Fan and pump motors were once either on or off. But more modern options have variable speed control, which can be linked to temperature or pressure to optimise energy use.