Business Energy Consumption

Knowing how much energy your business uses is important from an environmental perspective, but it is crucial for budgeting.

All business energy suppliers charge for each kWh of electricity or gas your company consumes. The gentle hum of computers and the glow of LEDs all count towards your energy bill.

This comprehensive article addresses the energy consumption of a typical small business in Britain. In this article, we will cover:

Typical energy consumption of business equipment

Our experts have compiled a list of all items typically found in the workplace that consume electricity and gas. For each, we’ve used product specifications to calculate their typical daily energy consumption.



Daily electricity consumption of lighting used in a ten-person office.

  • LED – 1.3 kWh
  • Halogen – 16 kWh
  • Incandescent – 21 kWh


Energy consumption to heat a ten-person office on a cold winter day.

  • Combi Boiler – 51 kWh (gas)
  • Electric radiators – 48 kWh (elec)
  • Heat pump – 16 kWh (elec)


Electricity used to keep a ten-person office cool during a hot day.

  • Central AC unit – 2.7 kWh
  • Portable AC unit – 6.4 kWh
  • Ceiling fans – 0.7 kWh
<h3>Personal IT</h3>

Personal IT

Daily electricity usage of personal IT equipment used by office staff.

  • Laptop – 0.4 kWh
  • Desktop – 1.6 kWh
  • Monitor – 0.1 kWh
<h3>Shared IT</h3>

Shared IT

Daily electrical consumption of shared office IT equipment.

  • Wifi Router – 0.2 kWh
  • Commercial printer – 0.9 kWh
  • Photocopier – 0.7 kWh


Daily electrical consumption needed to make tea and coffee.

  • Electric kettle – 6 kWh
  • Boiling water tap – 4 kWh
  • Coffee machine – 7 kWh


Daily electricity consumption in the kitchen of a small office.

  • Fridge – 1.4 kWh
  • Dishwasher – 3 kWh
  • Microwave – 0.4 kWh

Average business energy consumption in the UK

The business energy consumption of every commercial property is different and is strongly affected by:

  • What your business does.
  • The number of people that work for your company.
  • The efficiency of your devices.
  • The insulation of your property.
  • The outside temperature.

However, here’s a helpful guide to typical annual energy consumption:

The energy consumption of a typical home:

  • Electricity: 2,900 kWh each year
  • Gas: 12,000 kWh each year

Typical small business energy:

  • Electricity: 10,000 to 50,000 kWh each year
  • Gas: 10,000 to 50,000 kWh each year

💡For simple steps to reduce unnecessary energy consumption, check out our tips to improve business energy efficiency.

Which devices use the most electricity in a business?

Our experts have summarised the relative energy consumption of various devices within a small office by examining the energy consumption of typical office devices.

Business energy consumption varies significantly depending on whether a heating system is employed to warm an office or an air conditioning system is used to keep it cool.

To illustrate the impact of seasonal weather changes, we have produced an infographic that showcases energy usage differences during summer and winter.

Relative business energy consumption on a winter day

Graph of business energy consumption on a winter day

Relative business energy consumption on a summer day

Graph of business energy consumption on a summer day


How to calculate your business energy usage?

There are two distinct methods for calculating your business energy usage, and in this article, we will explore both:

Let’s start with the first method, which is the easiest.

Calculating your business energy usage with your meter

Most commercial properties are equipped with electricity and gas meters. These meters serve to record the energy consumed by your property so your business energy supplier can accurately charge you on your business energy bill.

The dial on the front of your meter displays the amount of energy, in kWh, passing through it.

To measure your business energy usage over a set period, you will need to conduct two separate meter readings. Here is how to monitor your energy consumption over a month:

  • Take a meter reading on the first day of the month.
  • Take another meter reading on the last day of the month.
  • Subtract the first reading from the second to calculate your consumption.

Here is a worked example: if your first reading is 004323 and a month later it is 004454, then your business has consumed 131 kWh of energy.

For more information, here’s our full guide to business energy meters.

An easier method to track energy usage is by employing a business energy monitor that automatically collects data from a half-hourly meter or a smart business energy meter.

Calculating business energy usage: Considering each device

Your company’s energy consumption is the sum of the energy used by each device connected to your mains.

While it’s possible (although perhaps not always practical) to account for all devices within your commercial property that use electricity or gas, each device has its own individual consumption rate when in operation.

In the article, we’ve summarised the typical individual energy usage of common office items.

To calculate the energy consumption of a specific device, we take the power rating of the device and multiply it by the number of hours it is used. For example:

A kettle is used three times a day to make tea. Assuming it’s a 2 kW kettle that takes a minute to boil, the calculation would be:

3 uses x 20 working days x (2 kW / 60 minutes) = 2 kWh per month.

Repeating this process for all your devices that draw electricity from the mains provides a method to calculate your overall energy consumption.

How do you measure energy usage?

Electricity and gas supplies both provide your business with a source of energy, which is utilised in activities such as heating water or powering desktop computers.

The quantity used to measure energy is “joules”. The scientific definition of a single joule is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.

For energy consumption the term “watt” is frequently used. A “watt” represents one joule of energy being used each second.

For example, a kettle labelled 2,000 watts consumes 2,000 joules of energy every second it is heating water.

Because watts measure energy in individual seconds and in small increments, this unit is not particularly practical for measuring the energy consumption of an entire business. Instead, in business utilities, the unit “kWh” (kilowatt-hour) is utilised.

  • A kilowatt-hour (“kWh”) corresponds to 1,000 watts of energy used for one hour.
  • A kWh is equivalent to 3,600,000 joules of energy (1,000 joules per second x 60 seconds x 60 minutes).

Business energy consumption – FAQs

Our energy experts answer frequently asked questions regarding energy usage by businesses.

Which UK businesses consume the most energy?

According to the Government’s Energy in the UK 2022 report, here’s the breakdown of electricity and gas consumption by business type:

Industrial sectorEnergy consumption (ktoe)
Public administration4,376
Food, beverages etc2,562
Other industries2,382
Mineral products1,809
Mechanical engineering etc1,461
Paper, printing etc1,104
Electrical engineering etc798
Iron and steel618
Non-ferrous metals596
Textiles, leather etc457
Rail Transport408

💡The figures above are expressed in kilotonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe). One ktoe is equivalent to 11,630 kWh.

How much energy is a kWh?

Each kWh contains 3.6 million joules of energy. Here’s an idea of how a single kWh of energy can be utilised:

One kWh of business electricity can power:

  • A single cycle on a typical dishwasher.
  • Leaving a commercial printer on standby over a weekend.

One kWh of business gas can be used for:

  • Operating a gas grill for half an hour.
  • Heating a single large radiator for an hour.

How much does business energy consumption cost?

In the UK, currently, a kWh of electricity is three times more expensive than a kWh of gas. This disparity is largely due to the national grid’s reliance on gas-fired power stations to generate electricity, which are only approximately 40% efficient.

To access the latest energy prices, here are links to our guides on:

At AquaSwitch, we’re experts in helping businesses find more affordable energy rates. Discover the best deals today with our business energy comparison and business gas comparison services.

Sources and external resources

The energy consumption figures for various office devices featured in this article have been compiled by our team of energy experts. They compared the power requirements of different products using the following sources:

IT equipment: