5 Energy-Saving Tips for Small Businesses

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 to increase profits, promote growth, and reduce environmental impacts by lowering carbon dioxide emissions, boosting customer experience and comfort. Here are the top 5  energy-saving tips for small businesses:

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.

eco friendly business practices

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.

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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.

how to use more renewable energy

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.

Endnote

Small businesses are continually looking for ways to save costs to maximize profits and enhance growth. These energy-saving tips will help you cut costs to increase your profit margins.

12 Ways Small Businesses Can Save Energy

Saving money is important for businesses and saving energy is important for all of us – so here is the perfect mix of both and some great tips for small businesses to save on energy. Remember, these are not the only ways you can save on your energy costs. You have to ensure that you are on the best electricity rate plan that is right for your business. Energy comparison sites like Electricityrates.com can help you find the best rates around your area to suit your business needs. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code, and you’ll get a list of electric providers in your area to choose from based on your preferences.

1. Get A Free Energy Audit

A full energy audit helps identify issues that might be causing energy wastage – these include insulation issues and air leaks. Most electricity utility companies offer these audits free of charge. The inspection not only helps you determine how energy is used but also ways to address energy wastage.  The audit report will also recommend ways to keep your energy usage on the low, such as investing in energy efficient lighting and equipment.

Inquire with Josco Energy Corporation about a free audit.

2. Invest in Energy-Efficient Office Equipment

Energy efficient (energy-star rated) appliances use up less energy as compared to older non-rated ones. That said, it would be advisable for you to lease/buy energy star rated office electronics.  This should help see your energy bills drop significantly, hence substantial cost savings in the long run.

3. Avoid Peak Demand

Peak demand can be defined as the time of the day when there’s a high demand for energy. These are the hours when energy usage is the highest. The typical peak hours start from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Reducing your demand for electricity during these times and only running the factory and heavy equipment early in the morning, and later in the evening can help reduce energy consumption. Reducing your demand for energy during peak hours also means the business spends less on energy usage at the end of the day.

4. Use Programmable Thermostats

Smart thermostats make it easy to monitor and control temperatures in the workplace when everyone is in the office (9 – 5), and away. The thermostat can be programmed to turn OFF the heating and cooling appliances during the night, and back ON a few minutes to ‘work hours’. This in return sees you save lots of energy that would have otherwise been wasted had the HVAC systems remained on through the night.

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5. Switch Off Lights in Unused Areas

Most offices have an always-on lights setup. This means the lights in all rooms including bathrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, and even unused corridors. This leads to energy wastage which can be preserved if lights were only turned on when needed. Installing sensors to turn the lights on or off when required could help too.

6. Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs use up more energy for the same amount of light when compared to CFLs and LEDs that use just a fraction of it. Switching from incandescent bulbs to CFL or LEDs should help the company use less energy in lighting. This is the simplest and easiest ways to save energy in the workplace.

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7. Make Use of Natural Light

Always take advantage of the natural sunlight whenever you can. You can do so by drawing the blinds, curtains, and opening the windows to allow the sunlight in. Be sure to switch off lights in well-lit areas well. Letting the sunlight in also means you get passive heating from the sun, hence no need to have the heaters on. While it may seem like nothing, taking advantage of the natural sunlight should help save the business a few kilowatt hours a day.

8. Run Fans

Have fans installed in showrooms, warehouses, kitchens, and offices alike. The fans will help keep the air moving, hence facilitate optimal air circulation. This means the HVAC system will run more efficiently and smoothly translating to lower energy consumption.

9. Power Down Computers and Other Office Equipment When Not in Use

Having everyone power down their computers at the end of the day should help save lots of energy. You might also want to set the laptops to go to sleep or hibernate if not used for a certain number of minutes or hours. Be sure to turn off and unplug other electronic devices from the mains sockets.

Although modern toasters, coffee makers, printers, and other office appliances have a ‘sleep’ mode when not in use, these continue to draw some current if left plugged. Unplugging these will save some more kilowatts. 

10. Avoid ‘Phantom’ Energy

As mentioned earlier, some equipment will continue to draw electricity when plugged in.  That said, making it a habit of unplugging such devices or using a power strip on them, can help save some energy. With a power strip, a simple flip of the switch will cut electricity supply to the connected devices. 

11. Make Adjustments to the Surrounding Landscape

If you have control over the landscape around, you can then use it to your advantage. Energy-efficient landscaping, such as planting trees strategically to block winds and provide shelter, will go a long way in reducing heating and cooling costs.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

 

12. Involve the Employees

Encouraging the employees to take on energy-efficiency practices can help reduce electricity costs and energy wastage too. Train the employees to turn off their computers after work, switch off lights, as well as use energy efficient appliances in the workplace.

Inspiring them to save more energy should work well for the company. You can see more tips and tricks on how to improve employee energy-saving practices here.