As a business owner, it is quite likely that you have a seemingly endless array of expenses that you must meet each month to keep your business operative and profitable. Examples include payroll, taxes on your property or rent, insurance coverage, and maintenance.
While most expenses are set and cannot be eliminated, there is one expense that you may dwindle a bit – that is the amount that you pay for electricity.
If you are like most, the arrival of your utility bill each month is likely to result in a lump in your throat and a dent in your pocket.
In this brief guide, we will explore 10 highly effective strategies for reducing energy costs. Continue reading to learn a few tips that will have you adding to your bottom line – not taking away from it.
- Energy Audit – The first and likely the most effective strategy for reducing your energy costs is to sign up for a free energy audit offered by your utility company. This can help you identify where your business is losing energy, and which types of problem areas and unique fixes you should place as a priority in ensuring that your business is as efficient and comfortable as possible.
- Energy-Efficient Lighting – The lights that you use in your business have the highest impact on your energy consumption. Due to this fact, it is imperative that you install energy-efficient lighting. Currently, LED bulbs are considered to be your best option. These are designed to last longer, have a higher level of durability, and offer the most energy savings of any type of bulb currently on the market. If necessary, you may hire a commercial electrician to perform a lighting design retrofit to accommodate the installation of LED lighting in your business.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat – By installing a programmable thermostat in your business, you can enjoy savings on energy costs due to the fact that the unit will automatically adjust the indoor temperatures of your business during the hours of operation and when no one is in the building. Not having this type of device results in your HVAC system working overtime and your energy bill drastically increasing.
- Reduce Water Temperature – You may not realize it, but if you have your hot water heater set to a high temperature at your business, it is going to increase the amount that you pay for electricity. It is advised that you set it as low as possible. The safest setting – according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration is 140 degrees. Anything less could result in the spread of disease (for handwashing purposes) and anything higher could end up costing you a lot of money.
- Unplug When Not in Use – It is a known fact that electrical devices still consume power when they are plugged in – even if they are not in use. To save money on your energy costs, you should unplug items that are not being used – especially when the business is closed. If this proves to be too time consuming, simply put multiple items on a power strip and flip the switch to the “off” position when your business is not in operation.
- Shut Down or Hibernate Office Equipment – We understand that certain types of office equipment – such as a fax machine – must remain “on” even if your business is not open; however, there are likely other types of office equipment in your business that may be shut down during hours when you are closed – such as computers. If you are not comfortable with a complete shut-down, at least place the devices on energy saving mode and hibernation. This will help save a tremendous amount of money on your energy costs each year.
- Occupancy Sensors – The next strategy for saving money in your business is to install occupancy sensors that correlate with your lighting system. These utilize motion sensing technology and only turn on lights when a person enters a room. Once the individual leaves, the sensor will turn off the lighting to avoid unnecessary overuse.
- Take Advantage of Sunlight – To reduce the amount of light that is needed in your business, you may take advantage of the natural sunlight. Simply install large window units, sky lights, and even sun tunnels to bring light into your company without taking money out of your wallet!
- Go Digital – Utilizing paper and file systems in your office can result in a tremendous expense when you consider the fact that you have to make copies, buy paper, run copying machines, and so on and so forth. Simply go digital! Then, you can downgrade to a small scanning device and keep your files on a computer. This is an excellent means of reducing your carbon footprint, too!
- Tax Breaks – Finally, look into tax breaks that are offered to businesses that are considered to be energy efficient. Energy star appliances, naturally heated hot water heaters, sky lights, and other devices may help you get a bit of a tax break and enjoy more money to your bottom line!