Running a business can be a difficult venture. It can become even more difficult when you consider the different types of costs you’ll run into when you’re starting up. Employee salaries, benefits, products, rental space and much more – all of these factors can impact your budget and will have to be taken into consideration when you’re creating and running your business. However, something many people don’t consider is the cost of energy and efficiency when you’re operating.
Electricity, hydro, water and gas can be costly as well especially if you’re working long days or have a wealth of these different energies throughout the week. In order to reduce costs in your business when it comes to energy, there are a variety of different factors you need to consider. By assessing the needs of your employees and your customers when it comes to providing quality and standard energy, you’ll be able to make a plan that helps you cut costs where you need it the most.
Some essential tips come from the way you are already choosing to operate. Ask yourself this list of questions and consider the answers you come up with; many people are surprised that what they do on a day-to-day basis for their business can actually have a great influence over their energy costs.
Are there always lights on in your business?
How long are the lights on for? 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.?
Is the heat always on during the winter?
Is the air conditioner always on during the summer?
Are you doing anything already to eliminate the need for a heater or AC unit?
What type of atmosphere are your employees comfortable in?
Are there any alternatives you can provide them when you’re moving forward?
Are the lights turned off at the end of the night?
Do you have backup security lights in case?
These questions and many more are the essentials that business owners should be asking themselves when they are looking to change the way they spend on energy. If you’re not aware of any of the following questions, then you need to re-examine exactly how you’ve lost track of the energy usage so far. As a result of constant energy usage within your business, not only are you adding unnecessary costs to your budget, but you’re also emitting additional carbons on the environment and having a serious negative impact on the way it functions.
You can even use this opportunity to promote different kinds of energy change within the office. Here is a list of things you can do with your employees to promote energy conservation while at work:
1. Establish energy efficient practices: Depending on the utility company you are paying, they usually have off to high peak times during the day. Try your best to only use excess energy during the low or off peak times. Encourage your employees to follow this same model and see how the energy usage decreases with more initiative.
2. Get energy audit done: Hire an energy audit company let it do energy audit of your office. Many utility companies offer a free energy audit program to ensure that you are using energy efficiently. Give them a call and see if they can help you identify areas to trim down your energy needs.
3. Replace existing bulbs with CFL’s: CFL and LED lights consume less power and offer much longer lifespans. Commercial lights qualified by the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) or Energy Star can ever reduce energy consumption by up to 75% and increase your fixtures lifespan by 2-3 times.
On top of the benefits you will realize by converting to LED (or CFL), you could also save a lot by replacing the luminaire only instead of the entire fixture. This is also known as retrofitting, which can be virtually be done in any existing fixture with any lighting technology. By retrofitting, you will reduce costs by a cheaper light costs along with easier installations.
4. Use hibernation feature of computers and laptops: Hibernate feature in laptops and desktops allows you to save your existing work as it is and you can continue from the same point next day. Schedule your workstation to switch to hibernate mode after working hours and during weekends.
5. Reduce Paper Wastage: Print only when necessary. This will not only reduce paper wastage but also helps to cut energy required to run printer which in turn reduces your energy cost and makes life of your printer longer.
6. Switch off equipment when not in use: Make sure that you switch off all printers, scanners, microwave, lights, air conditioners, coffee vending machines during weekends or holidays. They continue to draw power even if they are plugged in. Switching them off after working hours will conserve energy and reduce your energy bill.
7. Buy energy efficient devices: Energy efficient devices cost more up front but over years of use, they’re going to save you money. This hold true for any equipment that run on electricity – spending a little more can result in significant savings over years.
8. Invest in programmable thermostat: A programmable thermostat has the capability to automatically adjust the temperature of your workplace when no one is working. Less air conditioning can result in significant savings for your business.
9. Lookout for small drafts that may leak the air: Small drafts can result in businesses losing substantial portions of their heating and cooling costs. Proper air sealing of the work environment can eliminate those drafts.
10. Keep control of your heating and cooling: Keeping your office temperature one degree down during winters and one degree up during summers can reduce the power it uses by up to 10%.
11. Minimize artificial lighting and make use of skylights: Artificial lights consume power, while skylights are free. Try to use maximum day light and use artificial lights in areas which are dark. Less energy means less money spent on electricity bills.
12. Use energy saving features: Educate your employees regarding energy saving features of air conditioners, printers, microwaves and let them use those features to cut energy costs. Discard old gadgets if they don’t have it and buy energy efficient peripherals.
13. Upgrade all outdated equipment with energy star appliances: If your old heater or air conditioner is not working at its maximum efficiency, it could draw unnecessary power which may cost you money. Replace your decade old heaters and air conditioners with energy star ones.
14. Consider installing solar panels: Solar energy is free, clean and renewable source of energy. Solar panels might cost expensive initially but that cost can be recovered within few years if solar energy is used up to full strength. Solar panels last longer and have few maintenance problems. This will help you to bring down your monthly electricity bill.
15. Plant shady trees outside your office: Shady landscaping outside your office can protect it from intense sun during summers and chilly winds during winters. The tree and it’s leaves will protect your office from sun’s rays and less cooling would be required. If your office already has proper insulation and energy efficient appliances, the effect will be much smaller.