Owning a small business can be expensive – especially with the rising costs of products, labor, utilities, and more. As you look ahead to the new year, it’s important to cut costs wherever possible to start the year off cost-efficiently. One key way to save money is by completing a year-end energy assessment.
Conduct an Energy Assessment
Begin by conducting a comprehensive energy assessment or audit of your business. This assessment will help identify areas where energy is being wasted and provide a roadmap for improvement. Consider hiring an energy consultant or utility company to perform the audit or use online tools that provide guidance on conducting a DIY audit.
Understand Your Energy Use
Examine your energy bill – when does energy use spike? Where does your business use the most energy? Has your energy use been consistent over the past few months, or have there been drastic changes? Answering these questions can help inform your next step – whether that be small changes or an energy overhaul.
Many small business owners don’t have much extra time or money for elaborate or complex projects. Luckily, there are many small things you can do to save energy without spending a dime.
- In the winter, lower the heat during hours when your building is unoccupied.
- Open curtains and blinds to let in natural light – this helps cut down on heating and lighting costs.
- Put notes next to light switches and equipment to remind employees to power down before leaving for the day.
- Use power strips with on/off switches to prevent phantom loads.
- Search for and seal any air leaks and drafts in windows and doors.
- If your business allows, go hybrid – pick a day or two of the week when employees can work from home. You’ll boost morale and save energy when you cut down time in the office.
- Ask your team to brainstorm creative ways your business can save energy. Offer a prize – like a gift card or day off – as an incentive!
- Check for government programs, grants, or tax incentives available for small businesses to promote energy efficiency. These can help offset the costs of energy-efficient upgrades.
Make Simple Upgrades
After you address the small things, you should see a change in your energy bill. But if you’re looking for a more significant way to ramp up your savings and are willing to spend a little money to get there, here are a few simple upgrades you can make to boost your business’s efficiency.
- Swap out old incandescent lighting for LEDs – they use 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer!
- Upgrade to programmable thermostats so you can control temperatures from wherever you are.
- Get your HVAC system checked to ensure it’s working properly – if not, it could cost you a lot of money!
Overhaul Your Energy Efficiency
If you’re looking to make a big impact on your energy bill (and the planet), here are some ways to make your business environmentally friendlier and more energy efficient.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances, office equipment, and machinery. Look for the ENERGY STAR label or other energy efficiency certifications when purchasing new equipment.
- Consider installing solar panels or purchasing renewable energy from a green energy provider to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels.
- If you have the opportunity to redesign or renovate your workspace, prioritize energy-efficient building designs with features like natural daylighting, efficient insulation, and high-performance windows.
After conducting your year-end energy assessment and making updates to become more energy-efficient, you’re setting up your business to start the new year off right.