Business is not quite as usual lately. In response to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, many commercial businesses have shut their doors temporarily or completely changed the way they operate. Many people are working remotely, which means more commercial facilities are either vacated or scaled back temporarily.

When closing for a month or so, or scaling back to accommodate these changes, what do commercial businesses need to consider from an energy perspective?

If your business has shut down completely during this time, consider these commercial energy tips for avoiding unneeded wasted energy and money:

  • Set the thermostat to around 55 degrees F for the heating season, and around 85 degrees F for the cooling season. This will keep all pipes from freezing in colder weather and limit excessive heat and humidity in warmer weather.
  • Turn off all lights if you don’t have motion sensors.
  • Clean out and unplug all break-room refrigerators. Unplug printers, chargers, and other unused appliances to avoid “phantom power,” or low-level consumption that occurs when something is plugged in but not in use. Any items that may be hazardous, like space heaters, should also be unplugged and stored.
  • Turn off or adjust the temperature on vending machines and refrigerators with non-perishable items like cans of soda.
  • Leave on phone systems if they need to be managed, servers or computers needed for remote access or automatic backups, and power to alarms and security cameras.
  • If you turn off select power breakers, be sure the power remains to any necessary items like interior or exterior security lights and phone and computer systems.

If you’ve scaled back significantly but are still operating and trying to save money, consider energy-efficient tips:

  • Adjust your thermostat to meet your new business hours.
  • Determine which areas of your business need to be heated or cooled. For example, if you are a restaurant only doing pick-up or delivery, the entire dining area does not need to be heated or cooled as usual. Additionally, you can use fans to help regulate temperatures and circulate cool air more efficiently.
  • Substitute LED lighting for conventional light bulbs. This can save you about 12% of monthly energy use and cut lighting costs by as much as 75%.
  • Consider air-drying dishes or clothing. This can cut your dishwasher energy usage by up to 50%.
  • Do full loads of laundry and all washing with cold water. Using warm water instead of hot cuts your energy usage in half. Using cold water? You’ll save even more!
  • Take advantage of natural sunlight. If your office or business has abundant natural light during the day, then there’s no need to turn the lights on in all areas.
  • Encourage your on-site employees to adapt energy-efficient practices, too. Inspire them to be as energy-efficient as possible in their day-to-day work lives.

UGI Energy Link is maintaining our regular business hours and adjusting work location protocols and travel/meeting restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection. We are fully staffed and responding to all customer requests.

Like so many of you, we’ve also changed our operations to meet the needs of our customers while also protecting the health and wellness of our employees and customers. If you want to learn more about our COVID-19 response, click here.

We applaud all our commercial business partners for rising to the challenge and continuing to ensure the health and safety of our communities during these turbulent COVID-19 times.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay positive. We will get through this together.