Mapping out your energy budget can be very difficult, depending on your business’s size and scale. As your business begins to grow, it’s ideal to hire an energy management company that will use cutting-edge energy technology to provide cost-savings measures and allow your business to budget for your annual energy costs.
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For SME’s and big corporations, conducting an energy audit on your office can identify areas where energy is wasted. A study by the EPA found that, on average commercial buildings waste nearly 30% of their total energy consumed.
Consider a retro-commissioning of your office, which can result in a 16% annually and pay for itself in a little over a year. Let’s discuss additional tips you can incorporate into your office to produce cost savings on your summer utility bill.
Hit the Lights
Some of the longest days of summer are often filled with wonder and the feeling that they almost might never end. Why would you keep the lights on all day when the summer days are filled with such brilliant luminosity?
Save money on lighting the entire office by only placing artificial lights in dark areas and letting natural sunlight fill the office with a little vitamin D.
Replace CFLs with LED lights, which produce much less heat and are significantly more energy-efficient. Instead of replacing your entire office’s lighting fixtures, businesses can save money by simply retrofitting existing fixtures with brighter LED lights.
Economize your lighting. Whenever office personnel leaves at night turn off all of the lights. If your business runs 24/7, then it’s incredibly cost-effective to only leave the lights on in parking lots and in-between zones that produce major traffic.
Consider installing indoor and outdoor motion sensor lights that will only turn on when someone physically occupies a room or area. This will save money on lighting costs and also leave your office cooler in the morning.
Maintain Control of the Thermostat
The true power struggle of society does not lie in the clash between the rich and the poor, the prince and the popper, but over the thermostat. I’m sure you’ve encountered this situation before. Somebody leaves the room and you immediately turn the thermostat up only to find that the next time you leave the room, the thermostat is two degrees lower than it was originally set to.
So what’s the solution? Well, keeping the thermostat at a consistent temperature will actually cost your business $180 annually because your HVAC unit will continually shut on and off to keep up with any temperature changes. Continually cycling the thermostat between different temperatures also requires more power.
Placing the thermostat at one degree higher in the summer results in a cost savings of 6-8% on utility costs annually. Ensure there are no cracks or leaks at the office where hot air can seep through and that all doors and window are closed to maintain a steady flow of cool air.
Technology fans can reach peak efficiency by installing a smart thermostat that will adjust the office-based temperature on its occupancy. Your programmable thermostat can also work with Amazon’s Alexa and can be operated and monitored from any location.
Be sure to choose the right spot to stick your thermostat. A thermostat next to a hot window will cause your HVAC unit to work harder. Be sure that no furniture or appliances are blocking any registers that allow for heat to escape.
Here are some additional tips to reduce cooling costs. If you treat your employees to some lunch, be sure to eat out. The amount of heat produced from cooking food in your kitchen is enough to create a sweatbox.
Oh yeah, turn down that the temperature of that water pump. Who needs scolding hot water to wash their hands? It’s summer, for crying out loud!
Change the Air Conditioning Unit
Depending on the size of your office, you can use an energy-star ceiling fan in conjunction with your AC unit to raise the temperature of that thermostat.
Is the AC always on at your office? Consider letting in some air and some light by opening the window if it’s possible. If you really need a central air unit, it’s important to regularly clean your unit’s filters to keep it running at optimal usage and reduce the amount of noise being produced.
Having clean condenser coils consumes less energy and helps prevent major repairs. While many HVAC units are designed to last for many years, any small problem that develops and is not maintenance will severely limit the lifespan of your HVAC unit.
Beware of Phantom Energy
When you leave the office at night, unplug everything. Phantom power is a real phenomenon, where power is still being consumed even while equipment is turned off. When I say unplug everything, I also mean that vending machine at night. You can use a power strip to make this process simpler.
The greatest bulk of energy usage will come from computers and the office TV. It’s crucial that you place all electronic equipment in hibernation mode to cut off the amount of power being consumed by those bulky machines.
Minimize CPU and TV use by playing your music through a Bluetooth speaker or Amazon Echo, which can also control your thermostat. Minimize the risk of blowing up your capacitors or suffering through an electrical surge by plugging in equipment to smart power strips. Smart power strips also allow you to unplug all of your equipment from one location.
Someone Clean Out the Fridge
The number one energy consumer of a commercial kitchen originates from the refrigerator unit. Upgrading a refrigerator unit from ten years ago to an energy-star unit could result in a reduction of 30% of your energy consumption.
The only refrigerator that’s more crammed with junk than your own personal fridge is probably the office fridge. It’s important to regularly clean out refrigerators to ensure that proper air circulation is maintained. Be sure that the refrigerator is at least 4 inches away from the wall to maintain air circulation among the condenser coils.
Be the Boss
Examine your energy costs and your energy budget and compare them to industry standards. Use this as a template to identify areas where energy initiatives can be placed to reduce consumption, such as lighting and cooling costs.
Look through your previous utility bills to identify patterns where peak demands are mostly occurring. Reduce lighting and cooling during peak demand hours to offset the rising cost. This will allow your business to set aside money for seasonal accruals on energy costs and potentially invest more money into expansion through smart energy measures.
Finally, energy savings and conservancy should be the central focus of any administrative team. Conduct an educational seminar on smart energy practices to help save your business hundreds, if not thousands of dollars annually.
As team members, you can begin conducting virtual meetings with clients and customers to save money on fuel expenses. Certain industries can practically remove the need for an office altogether by having employees work remote or utilize coworking centers. Consider doing some team-building exercises, such as planting a tree near your office’s southern and western windows to cool the office.
Produce an accountability program that requires team members to unplug equipment at the end of the night and follow proper smart energy protocols. Make it fun.
Nearly every energy-saving measure and investment on this list will produce a much higher return on investment than its initial spend. Not only do smart energy initiatives save your business money, but they are also good for customers who are becoming more conscious of businesses that utilize green technology. No business ever survived by failing to adapt to change, whether in the consumer market or even offsetting rising energy costs.