Small businesses in the U.S. spend a collective $60 billion on energy each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program.
Employers and small business owners want to run their operations as efficiently as possible, and businesses have significant potential to save energy. Here are some ideas for increasing the energy efficiency of your workplace with upgrades or behavioral changes.
- Consider an energy audit. You can hire a professional to assess energy use or check out online options. An expert can identify areas of weakness and suggest solutions.
- Get employees involved. Without their cooperation, you might not see any changes. Educate them on how to save energy and encourage them to cut down on energy costs. Incentivize changes by rewarding energy-efficient behavior with gift cards or time off.
- Time for a tune up. Tune up your heating, ventilating and air conditioning system, just as you would your system at home. Regular maintenance will help it run more efficiently.
- Change or clean your HVAC filters. Dirty filters cost more to use, as they force the system to work harder. Sign your business up with FilterChange.coop to not only save money on filters, but also receive reminders when it is time to change them.
- Blinds or curtains. Control sunlight by drawing the blinds or curtains closed to reduce heat in hot weather. Open them to allow the sun’s warmth to enter during colder times.
- Plant trees to shade your building and help clean the air. Strategically planted trees can also block chilling winds. Make sure when planting a tree, it is at least 30 feet away from any power lines.
- Set the thermostat to comfortable yet energy-efficient temperatures. During summer when employees are at work, set the thermostat to 78 degrees. When the building is unoccupied, set the thermostat higher. In colder weather, set the thermostat to 65 degrees during work hours and lower when employees are away. A smart thermostat can make these changes for you automatically, so consider upgrading your thermostat.
- Upgrade your lighting options. Switching from incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient LEDs saves energy, which saves your business money.
- Loosen up the dress code. A casual dress code might allow employees to wear more comfortable, cooler clothing during hot weather. If they’re comfortable, you might be able to turn up the thermostat a little more.
- Turn off the lights. Just like it does at home, turning off the lights at work saves energy and money on the electric bill. Encourage employees to turn off lights when not in use. Installing automatic lights controlled by sensors can help ensure the lights are off when an area is not in use.
“Medina EC realizes the importance of small businesses in our service area really are, especially in these tough economic times. Education, Training and Information is one of our cooperative principles, and we think energy efficiency education is important to all our members and their businesses,” stated Medina EC’s CEO, Mark Rollans.
Small life-style changes can make a real difference in your energy consumption. For more energy-conservation tips, visit MedinaEC.org/EnergySavings.