22nd September 2022 Sustainability in the Early Years All Posts

6 Ways You Can Reduce Energy Costs in your Childcare Setting

Reducing Energy Costs

Reducing the amount of energy you use in your childcare setting can create some significant savings, freeing up money to invest in other areas of your nursery. Although it can be challenging to know where savings can be made, there are small changes that you can do to help you cut your energy usage and save you money. With energy costs on the increase and the move towards more sustainable settings, now is the perfect time to start finding new ways to save.

Recently we have seen a demand for nursery places but parents are struggling to keep up with the increasing cost of childcare. Anything you can put into place to cut back on your own costs, to create savings and incentives for parents will help your business to withstand the cost of living crisis.

Here are some quick, easy wins for your nursery’s energy-saving plan.

1. Involve the children

Teaching children about energy consumption can help them create sustainable habits in the future. Learning is fun, children love to learn new things. The earlier that children learn about energy consumption, the easier it will be to help avoid bad habits forming and instil good energy-saving practices. It is vital that we guide children and show them the negative effects of using too much electricity.

Young children absorb information and are influenced by our behaviours. By positively influencing children we can encourage them to think about how they use electricity and act to reduce their own use.

2. Take control of your heating

Get smart with your heating! Program your thermostats to ensure you are not heating or cooling your setting when it is not in use. Even if your team’s hours vary, using programmable or smart thermostats to manage the temperature during “off” hours can make a big difference. Is the heat always on during the winter? Are there times when it can be operated at a lower temperature?

  • Give vents, fans and air conditioning filters a quick clean so they don’t have to work as hard.
  • Move filing cabinets, workbenches and other pieces of furniture that are blocking your radiators. They absorb some of the heat and reduce the impact it has.
  • Encourage your staff and children to dress appropriately for the weather e.g. putting a jumper on in winter rather than hiking up the heating, this also might involve relaxing the code and rather than people wearing thick fabric uniform in summer and needing the air-con on, allowing people to wear more breathable fabrics and staying cool.

3. Consider your lighting

Considering your lighting can play a large role when it comes to cutting back energy consumption in your setting. It is important that lights are turned off when not in use. Although it might seem like a no-brainer during a busy day in a typical nursery setting, lights stay on in areas like the hallways, bathrooms, or office, even when those spaces aren’t being used. Sensor lights can help to keep the lights on when needed, but off when they’re not.

Using energy-efficient light bulbs is one of the easiest and simplest energy-saving ideas in the workplace: switch out your regular incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs such as CFL or LED. This will help you use a significantly less amount of electricity. Despite the upfront cost of replacing them, they could save your setting a lot of energy and often last longer.

Take advantage of natural sunlight. If you’re fortunate enough to have a nursery space where there’s abundant natural light, use it! On a sunny day, you might not need to turn on the lights at all in areas where windows can give you all the light you need.

4. Prevent draughts and cold air flow

It may come as a surprise but draughts can cost your setting, it is often easier to turn on the heating than search for the source of the draught. 

  •  Close your windows

When it starts to get cold, ensure all of the windows are closed and draught free before turning on the heating.

  • Install and renew cavity and roof insulation

Failing to do this could regularly lose you up to ¼ of the heat in your setting.

  • Cover draughty entrances

Install draught proofing like curtains, letterboxes and keyhole covers, and chimney balloons. Keep the warmth in and the cold out.

  • Cover bare floors

According to National Energy Foundation (NEF), floors can be the cause of 10% of heat loss if they’re not insulated.

5. Turn everything off at the end of the day

Many nurseries are so busy that this easy method of making savings can often be forgotten. This can have an enormous impact on your setting and your monthly savings. Why not consider turning off your plugs and shutting electrical appliances down when they are not in use? According to British Gas, you can save an average of £55 on your yearly energy bill just by switching off your devices and appliances when you’re not using them, power is drained when devices are left on standby mode. 

Ensure your staff understand how important it is to switch off electronics at the end of the day. As a reminder, you could add this step to a nursery room close-down checklist for staff to follow.

6. Reduce unnecessary expenses by going paperless

During the cost of living crisis, it is essential to consider the excess materials that you are using in your setting such as paper, ink and energy used to print. It is sustainable and cost-effective to be as paperless as possible to avoid having the printer on all the time. Make sure your printer is turned off when not in use. You can encourage less paper waste by using nursery management software like Connect Childcare and doing as much sharing as you can online through parent collaboration platforms like ParentZone.

Book your free demo to see how Connect Childcare’s Nursery Management Software can revolutionise your nursery.

Switch to Connect Childcare & receive £700 off your software!

Connect Childcare are running a special £700 off offer to support childcare settings during the cost of living crisis. While we can’t make all your problems go away, we can give you discounted, trusted nursery management software to help keep your business running smoothly in the current climate. Book a demo using code ‘CC700’.
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About the Author

Content Marketing Executive at Connect Childcare