Friday, January 24, 2014

Energy Efficiency = Smart Business!

Savvy business owners are becoming increasingly aware that energy efficiency benefits both the consumer and the bottom line. How so?

Typically, heating and cooling account for about 40% of electrical costs for a commercial property. Lighting can account for up to 50% of a business’ electrical consumption.  Even small adjustments can add up to lots of dollars saved on utilities going forward.

Studies show consumers want to engage with a business in a comfortable and well-lit environment. This can benefit the business through increased sales and repeat customers.  Energy efficiency can enhance a business’ public image. A recent study showed that 72% of consumers would recommend a business or a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t. Customers also reported that if two brands were of similar quality, they would switch to the brand that supported a good cause.

Energy Saving Tips for Businesses

HVAC: Install a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature and have equipment heating and cooling an office over the weekend when it’s empty. Keep exterior doors closed to retain heat or cool air depending on the season.  Schedule regular service checks on the HVAC system to keep it clean and functioning. If you are in need of a new HVAC system, choose an Energy Star system that can be up to 30% more energy efficient than older models.

Lighting:  Replace old fluorescent and incandescent bulbs with LED and compact fluorescent bulbs. Replace outdated fixtures and use task lamps. Use occupancy sensor devices or use timers to turn lights off at the end of the day and over the weekend. Rely on natural light as much as possible.

Computers and Copiers: Completely turn off computers at night and over the weekend. Use “sleep” mode when the computer hasn’t been used for a pre-set period of time. Use power strips and surge protectors.

Kitchen and Bathroom Equipment: Again, select Energy Star products if you are investing in new equipment. Use your dishwasher on energy saving settings and only use the machine when it is fully loaded. Wrap the water heater in an insulating jacket and lower the temperature. Check for dripping faucets and leaky pipes. Be sure the refrigerator and freezer doors close tightly and that the gaskets are in good condition.

Insulate: Maintain consistent warmth in the winter and cool temperatures during the summer months with insulation. Also, caulk all windows, seal leaks and look for gaps where pipes enter the building. Use drapes, blinds and solar control film to maintain a consistent temperature.

If you want to get the best bang for your buck (and time), a professional energy audit will determine the specific cause(s) 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.  Click here to learn more about Pro Energy Consultants’ commercial energy efficiency program.