On average, small and midsize businesses in the United States use 15 kWh of electricity annually, mostly on lighting, heating, and cooling. These make up 19% of total expenses on an average office building. Energy-saving helps small businesses in several ways, including increase in profits, business growth, and reducing environmental impacts by lowering carbon dioxide emissions, boosting customer experience and comfort. Here are the top 5 energy-saving tips for small businesses:
1. Conduct regular energy audits
Energy audits involve the hiring of utility data management services to gather, standardize, validate, and interpret utility bill data to enable you to analyze, benchmark, and find opportunities to improve building performance. The energy audits aim at identifying potential changes that can lower energy consumption.
Business energy audits include gas, water, and electricity tariff reviews, consumption analysis and recommendations, expert energy management advice, and contract management.
2. Install a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats, also known as programmable thermostats, are electronic devices that offer you high-level control over your HVAC system operation by providing specific features and settings that help you save significant amounts of energy. They automatically turn the heating and cooling system on and off, depending on your temperature settings.
Thermostats have a set point control that turns down your HVAC when not needed and automatically turns it on before work resumes to ensure an ideal indoor temperature. Besides giving you remote control via mobile phones or online, smart thermostats enable better monitoring of energy usage so you can adjust as needed to avoid wastage or overuse.
3. Use lighting controls and sensors
Lighting controls automatically turn lights on and off as needed to save energy. Occupancy sensors turn on lights immediately; they detect occupants in a space and are ideal in areas that people move in and out of unpredictably. You may also consider dimming controls that match lighting levels with user requirements, saving energy. In addition, you can use zero-power wireless sensors that use the scavenging technique to operate without batteries.
Photosensor controls ensure that outdoor lights don’t run during the day, while timer controls can be programmed to turn outdoor and indoor lights at specific times. Using kinetic energy, they create energy that can power electrical devices. This technology is still evolving, and you may not find as many sensors.
4. Reduce your business’s electronic footprint
Electronics can consume a lot of energy in an office setting. Focusing on electronics energy consumption can help lower energy costs. Consider replacing your desktops with laptops as they use less energy. Remember to power down your electronics when not in use and avoid using screen savers.
You may also consider buying energy-efficient office equipment and avoid energy vampires like monitors to save on energy costs.
5. Consider alternative options
Electricity can be expensive. Shop around for alternatives that can best suit your business. You may consider installing solar panels as they are a cheaper energy source compared to electricity. They also come in handy during power outages.
Alternatively, standby generators are also an efficient power source and are ideal even in extreme weather conditions. They are an efficient long-term energy source that helps lower energy costs.