Energy use is one of the easiest and most effective areas where businesses can reduce costs. It begins with simple changes like:
- Replacing traditional light bulbs with more efficient CFL light bulbs
- Keeping your existing equipment maintained and running efficiently
- Transitioning to ENERGY STAR products when replacing old equipment
- Involving your employees in saving energy
HVAC – Heating and Cooling
- Control the temperature by installing a programmable thermostat, which will allow you to adjust the temperature based on different time schedules — like automatically turning off the air on weekends or late at night.
- Change or clean your HVAC filters every month, especially during high-use periods like the peak of winter or summer. Dirty filters make HVAC systems work harder and lower air quality, in addition to driving up costs.
- Give your HVAC system a tune-up with an annual maintenance contract. Even high-performing HVAC systems will perform better — and last longer — if they are properly maintained.
- Weather strip and caulk doors and windows, which saves energy and allows for better management of your office’s ventilation.
- Consider installing fans. They move the air around spaces and that circulation action can make rooms more comfortable — even at higher temperatures. Fans usually allow for a 3 to 5 degree higher temperature setting without sacrificing comfort, and each degree saves about 3% on cooling costs. That could mean cutting one of your biggest energy inputs by 15% and saving thousands of dollars every year.
- Control direct sunlight through windows by installing solar screens or solar films, awnings, and/or vegetation in warmer weather. Interior curtains or drapes can help, but the air near the window will still be heated. In the winter, sunlight can help heat your office. Try to find a balance between your summer and winter needs.
- Turn off lights when they are not in use. You can also install sensors to automatically turn off lighting when no one is present, especially in low traffic spaces like restrooms.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light emitted diodes (LEDs). Switching just one CFL can save $40 or more over the lifetime of the bulb
- Replace older T12 (1.5” diameter) fluorescent tubes with the more efficient T8 (1″ diameter) fluorescent tubes with solid-state electronic ballasts.
- Use natural light by installing sunlights
- Work with your IT department to install energy efficient features on your company’s computers, like turning off screen savers that use more energy, utilizing sleep mode controls, and developing nighttime shut down protocols.
- Make sure the IT department is investing in energy efficient monitors and adjusting the settings to save energy. Consider using laptops because they use much less energy than desktop computers.
- Purchase ENERGY STAR qualified products for your business as they will have the highest energy efficiency ratings. Remember to factor in the future cost savings of ENERGY STAR products into your pricing.
- Put laptop AC adapters on power strips that can be turned off — or will turn off automatically. The transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
- Many appliances continue to use power even when they are switched off. Unplug appliances or use a power strip to cut all power to appliances until they are ready to be used.
- Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.
Food Service and Storage Equipment
- Clean your refrigerator coils twice a year.
- Replace refrigerator door seals when needed to prevent the refrigerator from wasting energy. If you can slip a piece of printer paper between the door frame and seal, the seal needs replacing.
- Service walk-in refrigerators at least once a year. Make sure they are clean, the refrigerant is at the right capacity, the belts are adjusted, and moving parts are oiled and lubricated.
- Retrofit existing equipment with anti-sweat door heater controls; you may also be able to upgrade the controls or use variable speed evaporators fan motors.
- When it’s time to upgrade, consider buying the most energy efficient equipment. Savings can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars every year.
Source: ENERGY STAR