Is your business as energy efficient as you’d like? If not, this may be something to focus on improving in the New Year. Small changes can make a big difference when it comes to your business’s energy solutions. If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t worry. Ask yourself these questions when examining your business’s current energy solutions.
Am I committed to improvement?
Change starts at the top. As the owner of your business, you need to commit to making energy strategy central to your company’s mission. Improvements can only be made if you take the steps to make sure they happen.
Hold a team meeting. Ask your employees for suggestions on how you can all improve your energy usage. Take notes and then do your own research—the type of business you run and the building your company is in can affect the ways you can improve your company’s energy consumption.
What is our current energy impact?
How much energy does your business use, and what does it cost? Are you capitalizing on opportunities to use energy-efficient sources? How do you compare to competitors? Answers to these questions can reveal room for improvement.
Depending on the size of your company, you may be able to calculate your energy use per square foot, and from that, your annual rate of energy reduction. Some large companies are averaging annual reductions of 2.5% to 3.5%. That may seem like a small number, but with some corporations spending millions of dollars on energy per year, that equates to huge savings.
Am I tracking energy use at all levels?
Running a business is extremely busy work. Being up to date on every aspect of your business’s energy usage may not be on the top of your priority list. But energy is among the biggest cost areas for most companies, so knowing where you can improve can mean great savings for your bottom line.
Monitoring and analyzing energy use can expose inconsistencies that affect costs, performance, and quality. For example, you may see your heating and cooling system is operating outside of its ideal range. With this information, you can solve the problem and improve your energy usage.
If your company operates in multiple buildings or facilities, you can compare their energy usage to each other to make sure there are no inconsistencies. Assuming the same equipment is used throughout, if there is a large discrepancy in usage from one building to another, you’ll know if something is wrong.
Is my company using energy-efficient sources?
Using natural gas to fuel your business is much more efficient than propane or oil. It’s reliable, domestically abundant, and environmentally friendly, generating fewer greenhouse gases than coal or oil. In addition, natural gas is one of the most inexpensive energy sources. Natural gas prices are two to three times lower than standard electric prices, which equals savings you can reinvest into your business.
If the equipment used in your business is older than 15 years, consider replacing it. More than likely, there are more energy-efficient choices on the market. Energy-efficient devices and appliances may cost more upfront, but they pay off in the long run. Choosing ENERGY STAR-certified products will help you reduce your business’s energy costs.
Is my business wasting or losing energy?
There are unexpected ways your company’s energy bill can increase. Avoid phantom loads, or the electricity consumed by an electronic device while it’s not being used, by turning off and unplugging equipment when it’s not in use. Turn off and unplug all printers, scanners, microwaves, and lights during weekends and holidays.
Lighting is also a big factor for energy costs—if you’re not using CFL or LED lights, your company could be wasting a lot of energy. Replacing incandescent bulbs can reduce energy consumption by up to 75%. When possible, take advantage of sunlight. Only use artificial lighting in dark areas. You can also save money by turning off unnecessary lights in meeting rooms, stairwells, or any other areas that aren’t frequently used.
Start 2022 committing to improving your company’s energy efficiency. To learn more about saving money on energy and how to be a more energy-efficient business owner, check out our free commercial energy guide or call us at 1-800-427-8545.