Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Businesses Are Wasting More Than $60 Billion Annually on Energy

Everyone is aware of energy usage at home, but are you thinking about saving energy in the work place? Businesses in the United States are currently wasting more than $60 billion a year on energy*.  Business owners can save money by quickly enacting simple no-cost changes or make a commitment to large scale energy saving investments. Either way, reducing energy costs can make a significant dent in the monthly budget for a small business.

If you want to start saving on energy costs in the workplace, here are some ideas:

Lighting: Change lighting to energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs); install motion detectors that automatically shut off lights in lesser used areas; turn-off lights that aren’t being used; use Energy Star qualified exit signs; don’t “over-light” your workspace causing glare and eye strain; make better use of natural light through skylights and windows.

Office Equipment: Turn off computers when not in use – screen savers do not save energy, sleep mode or total shut-down saves energy; laptops use less energy than desktop computers; unplug battery chargers once batteries are charged; “phantom” power loads come from electronics that are turned off but not unplugged – install power strips and turn strips off at the end of the day which creates the equivalent of unplugging electronic equipment; burning a CD – don’t do it unless you really need it; don’t forget that web cameras and virtual meetings save time, money and energy costs related to travel.

Kitchen and Bathroom Equipment: Purchase an Energy Star qualified refrigerator; for existing refrigerators – clean coils and replace door gaskets as needed; install an energy efficient water heater and use an insulation blanket or consider a “tankless” model;  install water efficient appliances such as low-flow faucets and toilets; repair leaks and dripping faucets.

Heating and Cooling: Install a programmable thermostat; regularly change inexpensive HVAC filters – dirty filters use more energy; use fans to circulate air and delay turning on the air conditioning system; control hot summer sunlight with blinds, solar screens, solar film and awnings; take advantage of winter sunlight by keeping southern-facing windows unobstructed; plug air leaks with caulking and weather stripping.

Employee Education: Inform employees about energy saving policies via a meeting and distribute written guidelines; create a fun event and invite employees to come up with additional ideas on how to save energy – after all, most people want to help the environment and customers appreciate businesses making a “green” commitment.

If you are really concerned about your business’ energy usage, consider calling in the experts to conduct an energy audit. This process will involve an on-site detailed evaluation of your buildings’ performance, to determine the specific causes of high energy bills and/or comfort issues. A commercial energy audit is the crucial first step to making smart improvement investments that deliver ROI.  To learn more about Pro Energy Consultants’ commercial energy efficiency program, click here.

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