09 Jul Energy Efficiency Tips for Small Business Owners
It goes without saying that businesses, especially startups or small businesses require a lot of hard work and all kinds of small and big investments (financial, intellectual, etc.). But this shouldn’t draw you back from starting your own business because it’s all about making the right strategic decisions. One such decision is the development and implementation of an energy saving plan.
Businesses spend thousands of dollars on energy bills annually which can even create a budget gap if you don’t have enough financial resources (this can be the case with a lot of small businesses). However, the modern era gives the chance of saving on energy by means of many different technological tricks and eventually, by simply switching to renewable energy sources. Following are some of the ways that small businesses can save on their Energy Costs.
- Energy Audit: An energy audit can help determine your baseline energy use and offer a clear outline for ways to save energy at work. A full inspection of your location to check for air leaks, insulation issues, or opportunities to install energy-efficient lighting will be done to reveal the changes that can be implemented to reduce Energy usage.
- Purchase energy-efficient office equipment: Before you buy or lease office electronics, check to see if they are ENERGYSTAR-rated. An ENERGYSTAR-rated appliance has been evaluated and deemed energy-efficient, which can save you money and help you manage your small business energy costs, especially in the long run.
- Reduce Peak Demand: One of the best ways to save electricity in an office is to reduce your peak demand. The phrase “peak demand” refers to the hours in a day when energy usage is at its highest. Peak demand times are typically normal office hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). You can reduce your demand during this time by staggering work hours / start times, running heavy equipment and factory equipment during the evening and early morning hours, and conserving energy throughout the day.
- Program your thermostats: This is one of those office energy saving tips that is especially relevant for a 9-5 workplace. You do not need to heat or cool a workplace after everyone has gone home for the night. Even if your team’s hours vary, using programmable or smart thermostats to manage the temperature during “off” hours can make a big difference.
- Turn off lights when not in use: It might seem like a no-brainer, but in a typical office, lights stay on in areas like break rooms, bathrooms, or conference rooms, 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.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs: It 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.
- Take advantage of natural sunlight: If you are fortunate enough to have an office 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 all the illumination you need. While using passive solar heating might not seem like one of the ways to save energy at work, it really does help. The fewer kilowatt hours of energy you use, the less you have to pay.
- Power Down the equipment: If computers are not being used through the hours when your staff are not working, have your team be in the habit of shutting them down before they leave. Turning off and unplugging as many devices as possible at the end of the day is a simple way to cut back. This includes energy efficient coffee makers, toasters, and similar appliances.
- Prevent “Phantom energy”: Phantom energy is the energy that is still being used by equipment that remains plugged in but not in use. A great office energy-saving tip is to have your computer peripherals (printers, monitors, etc.) connected to power strips (aka “surge protectors”) so that the flip of a single switch can shut down several devices at a time.
- Think outside your building: Are you in control of the landscaping around your business? If so, you have a great opportunity to create energy-savings for your small business with energy-efficient landscaping. Strategically planting trees to block winds or provide shade on hot summer days can help reduce your heating and cooling costs.
Also, be aware that there are financial incentives for better managing your small business’s energy use. Local governments provide tax incentives and rebates to small businesses such as PSEG LI program.