7 Energy-Saving Tips for Your Small Business
Did you know that small businesses in the United States spend over $60 billion on energy each year?
Small business owners understand the impact that energy costs can have on operations and know they must be mindful of their overall energy consumption.
But rooting out the right strategies to reduce your energy consumption habits isn’t always easy. Should you install energy-efficient light bulbs, update your HVAC system, or upgrade to a smart thermostat?
Here’s the good news: improving your small business’ energy efficiency doesn’t have to be overwhelming or overly complex – and a few small changes can make a big difference!
Below, we’ve highlighted 7 great energy-saving tips to help you get started:
Energy Saving Tips for Small Business #1: Conduct an Energy Audit
First thing first: you need to know how much energy your business is using, where it’s being used, and at what times.
To help you get a full understanding of your total energy consumption usage and patterns, it’s important to start by conducting an energy audit.
An energy audit is done by a professional examiner who will help identify your baseline energy use and provide clear recommendations on how to reduce your consumption.
These audits can be a great starting point to help you understand how to make your small business more energy efficient.
The audit itself is fairly straightforward – the auditor will look for insulation problems, air leaks, and opportunities for energy-efficient equipment and lighting.
The great thing about energy audits is that many utility companies offer them for free! We recommend contacting your local utility company to see if you qualify.
If you don’t qualify for a free audit, you can also hire a third-party auditor. This will cost between $1000 and $15,000 depending on the size of your business and the complexity of your audit.
Energy Saving Tips for Small Business #2: Program Your Thermostats
One of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bill is by programming your thermostats.
Since most small businesses operate during a set number of hours, like 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., it doesn’t make sense to keep the space warm or cold during your “off” hours.
Instead, simply program your thermostats to different temperatures at different times of the day.
For example, in the summer, you can set thermostats between 78 and 80 degrees during business hours and above 80 degrees during unoccupied hours. While in winter, set office thermostats between 65 and 68 during business hours and 60 to 65 degrees while occupied.
This is bound to save you some money on your next energy bill.
Plus, you can always take it a step further and install Notion Sensors next to your thermostats so that if you do experience any sudden changes in temperature, you’ll be notified right away.
Energy Saving Tips for Small Business #3: Switch to Efficient Light Bulbs
Another easy way for small businesses to reduce their energy consumption is to make the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
Energy-efficient light bulbs can either be halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), or light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Compared to your traditional incandescent light bulbs, energy-efficient bulbs use 25 to 85% less energy. And they also last up to 25 times longer than regular bulbs!
According to Direct Energy, making the switch could reduce your business’ lighting energy consumption by up to 35%.
To help you get a better idea of the amount you’ll save, use this nifty tool to see the real value of switching to energy-efficient bulbs.
Energy Saving Tips for Small Business #4: Involve Your Employees in Energy-Saving Practices
As a business owner who’s looking to save costs wherever possible, the idea of lowering your energy bill sounds great.
But you can’t do it without the help of your employees!
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, getting your employees involved in your energy-saving practices is a great way to achieve your energy conservation goals and boost company morale.
This can be done by educating your employees on the importance of energy conservation and how small changes in behavior can make a huge difference.
For example, reminding employees to turn lights and electronics off when they aren’t being used.
It can also be helpful to post a list of energy-saving tips that are specific to your business in a common area. This way, employees have something to refer back to in case they need more information.
It’s important to remember that simple actions go a long way, so start small and get your employees involved in energy consumption in your workplace!
Energy Saving Tips for Small Business #5: Prevent “Phantom Energy”
The last thing you want is to be using energy unnecessarily! But this can happen when you leave unused equipment plugged in.
This type of energy loss is called “phantom energy.”
If you walk around your workplace or office, you’ll most likely notice a ton of computers, printers, and appliances plugged into power bars that aren’t being used. And even though they’re in “sleep” or “screensaver” mode, they’re still consuming energy.
That’s why it’s important to turn off devices when they aren’t being used, especially on evenings and weekends.
And while it may sound small, these changes can translate to big energy savings!
For example, a computer monitor uses about 100 watts per day – and if it’s left on overnight and weekends, it could add $30 or more to your annual energy bill.
Energy Saving Tips for Small Business #6: Turn the Lights Off
This one’s an easy tip that often gets overlooked!
According to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, more than half of the energy that flows through the United States is ultimately wasted.
This is absolutely the case for lighting, and it can have a big impact on your energy bills.
Like we highlighted in tip #4, it’s so important to get your employees involved in energy-saving initiatives, and this is no different.
It can be as simple as reminding employees and coworkers to turn off lights when not in use. Or, if you’re looking for a more technical option, you can install motion sensors so that lights only turn on when necessary.
Simple adjustments like these can make a huge difference in your energy usage and reduce your monthly costs.
Energy Saving Tips for Small Business #7: Take Advantage of Tax Breaks and Incentives
Did you know that there’s a U.S. federal corporate tax credit that provides incentives for businesses that use solar, wind, fuel cells, microturbines, or geothermal energy?
Switching to one of these energy sources is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while saving some money as well.
The tax credit is known as the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and was created to incentivize business owners to use alternative energy methods.
The incentive itself works on a case-to-case basis and differs depending on several factors such as building size, grid size, and the amount of energy generated. But if you’re interested in learning more, check out the Federal Investment Tax Credit guide for Commercial Solar Photovoltaics.
In addition to renewable energy incentives, Energy Star has a rebate program that offers discounts and special offers on its products. These rebates can range from $50 to $1000 depending on the type of appliance and supplier.
If you’re interested in making the switch to energy-efficient appliances, it’s really worth checking out!
And that’s a wrap! Thanks for reading. We hope that you learned a few new tips on how to reduce your energy consumption and save on your energy bill!
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