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Blog Aug 3, 2015

10 Energy Savings Ideas for Small Businesses

Energy Saving

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For small businesses everywhere, keeping overhead costs to a minimum is a goal. Especially early on as getting off the ground and bringing in revenue is the focus, minimizing these expenses can be particularly important. Included in these costs is energy, which can be difficult to manage as everything from fixed store hours to the processes that constitute the facilitation of your good or service require power. Even given this, there are still ways to cut down on some of these costs. To aid in that, the following are energy saving business tips for those managing and growing companies.

Whether you own a small company, work as a consultant, or make your living as a contractor, you likely require every bit of capital you can get in order to manage and grow your business. As the source of one of the most common expenses incurred, energy costs can make that harder for small businesses everywhere. But that expense does not have to keep you from maximizing the profits from your work.

The following are ten ideas for energy saving business owners, large and small, that can really be benefited from.

1. Consider Annual HVAC Maintenance

The HVAC system is the appliance responsible for heating and cooling spaces and requires maintenance as time and regular use can cause a gradual decline in performance. When it comes to saving on energy, hiring a professional to conduct an annual inspection presents an opportunity for small businesses. The are several benefits to this, starting with the cost which remains low. This is particularly beneficial for small businesses who may be unable to spend much outside of standard business costs. Inspections can also be useful for catching minor problems early on, allowing them to be addressed while they are inexpensive to fix instead of becoming a more costly endeavor. And once they have been treated and systems are running in top shape, business owners can save on the energy used and on what would have been spent on repairs and future maintenance as well.

2. Watch Your Windows!

Windows can be a useful tool in saving on energy as letting in and keeping out the sun’s rays can have a significant effect on the amount paid for energy each month. If you have a small office, consider hanging blinds to block the sun out during the day. There are even solar screens that can be purchased that will allow you to see out while keeping the light from shining in too. This helps you save money during the summer because it keeps the internal temperature of your workspace lower, meaning that when you turn on your HVAC it won’t have to work as hard to decrease the temperature to a desirable level. Windows can work during the winter as well, as the sun can be an ally for cutting energy costs in this situation. During the day while it’s colder outside, open up your blinds and let the rays shine in. This will warm the office up without the need for energy to be used.

3. If You Rent Your Office Make Sure Your Landlord Uses CFLs

In the event that you rent out your office space but are tasked with covering utilities, you may be able to get help from your landlord when it comes to saving on energy. Even better, saving may be as easy as a simple change in your light bulbs. Today, there are several bulb varieties available on the market with several key points of differentiation including energy-efficiency. Whereas the traditional incandescent bulbs convert around 10-20% of the energy they are supplied with to light, efficient bulbs like CFLs and LEDs convert 80-90% to light.  To put it in perspective, CFLs cost 75% less to operate, while lasting 10 times longer than incandescents. Not everyone’s made the change to CFLs or LEDs yet which means there may be an opportunity to save. And given the fact that they are a bit more expensive than incandescents, if you are able to push that cost onto your landlord, then you can give yourself the ability to save in several regards while getting the best bang-for-your-buck.

4. Saving With Energy Star Products

Finding energy-efficient appliances is a great way to reduce your energy costs in chunks. For those who may be unsure of what devices represent the greatest opportunity to save, Energy Star provides certification for appliances to ensure their capabilities. Those products with this certification represent the most energy-efficient goods on the market and include everything from computers, printers, copiers, and fridges to TVs, windows, thermostats, and many others. These appliances come labeled with an Energy Star sticker and mean more than just a lower cost of powering a business. Energy Star is a subsect of the Environmental Protection Agency and its certification means that not only is something energy-efficient and can save you money, it is also better for the environment.  

5. Train Your Employees on Energy Usage Best Practices

As many in the repair industry are well aware of, the vast majority of problems that businesses require help fixing are caused by users. And often, these repairs are the same ones professionals are tasked with fixing over and over again. In terms of costly energy usage practices, the idea is the same as users are the ones responsible for running up the monthly expense and costing small businesses. As a result, it is important for business owners and managers to recognize this and take the steps necessary to inform employees of these behaviors and provide them with an understanding of how to cut down on them. One useful way to go about doing this is through the use of policies and training, which can be reiterated to employees on an annual basis to ensure that information is staying with them as they carry on with their various duties.

6. Use Rechargeable Batteries for Power

Companies often require the use of batteries to supply various devices and tools with the energy they need to allow business to continue at its normal pace. And while you can still purchase throwaway batteries for your organization, the purchase of rechargeable batteries may prove to be more beneficial. Evidence shows rechargeable batteries are much more effective as they maintain their output until they run out of energy, unlike disposable batteries whose performance begins to decline as they lose their charge. Another benefit is the fact that rechargeable batteries don’t require regular trips to the store or online orders to purchase more, cutting out that additional cost. Though rechargeable batteries are a bit pricier, they will pay for themselves in the long run. And at the end of the day, the materials required to make these batteries are more environmentally-friendly than the disposable variety.

7. Consider an Energy Audit

For those companies based in areas within deregulated electricity markets, the privatization of the industry means that there’s plenty of competition to help SMBs like yours reduce energy usage. To get started with that, you should gauge your business’s consumption of energy through the use of an energy audit. What this entails is having a professional conduct an assessment of your business, going room-by-room and potentially using equipment to determine where there may be opportunities to save. And as a means of competing within deregulated markets, providers may offer a free energy audit that tells you exactly how you can save electricity. Use this when trying to determine which utility company and plan to sign up for.

8. Smart Thermostat Heating

When trying to save your small business energy, sometimes surrendering control of certain elements of day-to-day behavior to modern tools can be beneficial. This is true in the case of the temperature, as there are now smart thermostats that are capable of managing the climate of our spaces and maximizing our comfort while saving us money. These devices work by enabling remote control of the temperature in order to cool things down or heat them up to money-saving temperatures while spaces are occupied or unoccupied. A unique feature of some upper end models is the ability to “learn” temperature preferences and the hours in which they are typically programmed, allowing the thermostat to optimally regulate everything without need for input from you. Instead of having to focus on the building’s temperature, you can entrust it to the device and get back to business.

9. Unplug Devices

After electrical devices have been powered down, it is still possible for them to cost you as they still consume a small amount of energy. This is known as vampire energy and applies to a number of products including computers, televisions, coffeemakers, and printers. Though it may seem like an insignificant amount of energy used, vampire energy can make up around 20% of the monthly electricity bill, meaning that finding a way to decrease the effect is one way to save big. The simplest way to remedy this is to unplug your devices when they are not in use or at the end of the day when work hours have concluded. Energy Star certified appliances will greatly reduce the expense of vampire energy while power strips allow multiple electronics to receive energy and make cutting off their electricity supply as easy as unplugging one chord.  

10. Working From Home

Many employees enjoy the ability to work from home every now and again, cutting out the hassle of transportation and allowing them to complete tasks in the comfort of their own dwellings. When trying to save money as a small business, encouraging this behavior from time to time can prove to be advantageous for both workers and companies. The reason for this is that as employees work remotely, the cost of heating and cooling, lighting, and other energy expenses drops. This money saving strategy can be enforced as a designated day every now and again to ensure a dip in energy consumption. And for those worried about the effect that working remotely has on productivity, there are digital platforms in which employees can hold meetings, make presentations, and safely connect to the company’s network.  

 

As a business, finding any methods to save are important. Reducing that cost can be as easy as making some energy saving business decisions that allow the day-to-day activities to remain unchanged while the monthly bill sees a nice drop. Give these 10 ideas a try and see just how much energy and money you can save. Use that extra capital to grow your business or simply take a much-deserved vacation!

Think you can use these energy saving tips for your business?

For more ways to save energy, check out paylesspower.com. Payless Power is a family-owned business, a quality that allows us to meet the needs of our customers with unprecedented success. No matter our customer’s credit history or income level, we strive to provide service to all. And whether you’re trying to figure out how to save energy for your business or find new ways to be more energy-efficient within your home, we offer a number of great plans that you can sign up for today.

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