Keeping Watch: Energy Bill

Working for yourselfIf you work as a web developer, online programmer or SEO consultant, whether working for yourself or running a small company, difficulties can arise when trying to co-ordinate everything to run smoothly. On the one side, time and effort must be invested in acquiring and fulfilling jobs, meeting deadlines and getting your money, on the other side there are all the legalities, like tax forms, and overhead costs which need to be taken care of.

Important here are of course energy costs. No matter where you live, in Germany, the UK or in the USA the persistently rising energy costs are a troubling, for some unfortunates debilitating, fact of life. Although things are not looking so optimistic at the moment there are still a few options open to us to enable us to fight against the high energy bills that eat away at much needed profits:

  • Find a cheaper supplier, although you have to consider that the price isn’t everything. Correct bills, services when you need them, consulting and of course reliability should be considered too.
  • Saving energy – saving energy means saving money – keep up to date with new energy efficient equipment and technologies.

Energy Saving for Inbetween

Especially for the second point you have the choice of taking big options like implementing solar energy equipment for your work space or heating systems and you have the “small” options, like optimizing your work space, which are easier to implement. As a web developer, programmer or Internet specialist the one thing you always need is your PC, Mac or notebook to run your business and to fulfill your jobs. Small options for saving energy here are:

  • Energy friendly Mini-PCs: There are a lot of Mini-PCs around today that use low-energy chips which can save you a lot of energy and money.
    Letting the PC or Mac run the whole day is comfortable and gives a sense of security that you’re not going to miss that next all important job. A neat alternative that allows you to do this but still power down is the Mini-PC which mostly run on Linux on USB sticks. Small Mini-PCs usually include a mini-hdmi output for connecting a monitor or even a TV. Blue tooth offers the possibility to connect a keyboard or mouse with power supplied by a USB micro power adaptor.
    Mini-PCs require only a fraction of the energy compared to “real” PCs while still offering all you need to keep an eye on incoming e-mails and orders, web sites and job markets without having to run the big energy intensive, often noisy, PC in the background.
  • Energy efficient Monitors: these are being improved year for year. Energy Star ratings are already implemented in the US, and in September 2013 comes the announcement of the winners of their SEAD Global Efficiency Medal competition which will for sure pave the way for new innovation and ideas. Until you get around to a new Monitor, saving energy is of course still possible by keeping brightness levels tuned, by using Power Management or by simply driving down when not in use for 2 hours or more.
  • Restrict Wi-Fi Connections: Wi-Fi uses an energy supply even if it’s not being used which means extra costs for nothing! Set up your connection to manual to keep the Wi-Fi in check. Turning it on and off is a matter of two clicks from the task bar.

New Apps: Avoid Estimated Energy Bills

Especially for small businesses who work in web development and programming sectors where long periods of time are spent on a single project, is cash flow a hot topic. Waiting for payments tends to leave holes in finances that are sometimes hard to gap. Payment problems frequently arise at such times when faced with high cost estimated energy bills. New business apps and smart meters are now addressing this problem. It is now possible to send meter readings for gas and electricity so that you no longer have to pay for “estimated usage” but instead only for what you have actually used. You can even choose to receive e-mail or Text reminders so that you don’t forget to send your meter readings in. Not only does this kind of service give you a chance control for correctness, you can also actively take steps reduce costs when you need to instead of having to pay for energy bills that are based on what you used last year.

Energy Bill AppA good example for such a service can be seen at British Gas in the British Gas Business section where free apps have been developed for smart phones and tablets running both iOS (iPhone / iPad) and Android systems enabling meter readings to be submitted securely online. This helps not only to to keep readings up to date but also saves time, and therefore money, and allows you to keep your meter readings under control. Naturally this comes with the big advantage at the end of each year that you don’t get landed with a big adjustment bill. As additional extra you’re also able to get in contact with services to ask questions, send comments or get help with your readings.

Small Things Can Save a Lot of Energy

Keeping energy costs down is an important factor for all businesses including sole companies. We all work hard for our money and we want to get the best out of it. While it’s not always easy to make big changes it’s usually possible to make changes to small things that optimize the working environment like the hardware we use and how we use it together with the use of modern services that help save time, help us to keep bills under control and most importantly reduce worries by lightening up the cash flow so we can get on with the job in hand.

Smartphone Photo: © tashka2000 –

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