As a small business owner, energy use takes up a large part of your budget. In fact, most small business owners say that the amount they spend on energy is one of their top-three expenses. According to an ENERGY STAR® estimate, small businesses across the U.S. spend over $60 billion on energy every year. A large chunk of that money goes to the consumption of electricity. After all, you need electrical power to keep the lights, computers, office machines and other business essentials on and running.
Running any size business can be stressful; however, if you learn how to run your business efficiently, it can be rewarding. So, don’t worry. If you’re a small business owner or are thinking of starting a business, there are simple adjustments you can do to reduce energy costs by up to 30%. Sounds great, right? We’ve put together some energy-saving tips for small business owners. If you’re ready to reduce energy use, save money and create a positive, energy-efficient work environment, keep on reading!
8 tips to save on energy costs in the office
Conduct an energy audit. We recommend getting an energy audit. Many electric utility companies offer free audits that can help determine your baseline energy use or you can hire a company to do it. They can provide an outline with suggestions on how to save energy at the workplace. You can opt to have a professional come to your business and inspect for air leaks and any insulation issues with your location.
Switch your retail energy supplier. Owning a small business in Texas has many advantages. One great advantage is having a business located in a deregulated market, which allows you to switch your retail energy supplier. It’s wise to compare plans, and you can do so using websites such as Vault Electricity that work with dozens of retail energy providers to offer you the best quotes. Retail energy suppliers are competing for your business and want to offer you the best rates in town!
Lock-in favorable electricity and natural gas rates. With energy prices fluctuating at a rapid pace, it makes sense to take advantage of locking in a natural gas and electricity rate that stays the same, month after month.
Use energy-efficient office equipment. Upgrade your office equipment to ENERGY-STAR® rated electronics. ENERGY-STAR® rated equipment is energy-efficient, so it can help save you money and help you manage your energy costs. What about the coffee maker? There are energy-efficient coffee makers and toasters available so you can keep the office happy, too.
Use natural lighting. If your business happens to get an abundant amount of natural light, let the sunshine inside. Using natural light from the sun doesn’t cost a thing, and it’s renewable and efficient. Turn the lights off when you don’t need them, and you can reduce energy costs.
Upgrade your light bulbs. Does your business still use incandescent lighting? If so, it’s a good time to switch them out with CFL and LED light bulbs. CFLs and LEDs use up to 80% less energy and may last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Unplug equipment that’s not in use. It’s the end of the workday, so there’s no reason to leave printers, monitors and other office equipment plugged in. Office equipment that remains plugged in and not in use is “phantom energy.” We recommend plugging equipment into a surge protector so you can turn equipment off with the flip of a single switch. Tip: Replace desktop computers with laptops. A notebook computer uses 80% less energy than a desktop computer.
Maintain or replace your HVAC equipment. Did you know that today’s air conditioners consume up to 30% less energy to cool an office than those made in the 1970s? Annual maintenance is a great way to keep your AC unit running smoothly while also keeping in mind how old it might be. Even replacing a 10-year-old air conditioning unit can save you up to 20% in cooling costs. Today’s units are much more energy-efficient. While we’re discussing the AC, you’ll want to lower your office temperature by one degree during the winter and raise it one degree higher in the summer. Also, program the thermostat so that it’s not running during non-working hours.
Get the employees involved in energy efficient behavior
Let your staff know that you’re trying to be more conscious of energy costs. After all, saving energy is a team effort. Just a simple email blast or note in the office is enough to make them aware. An open dialogue gets employees invested and helps to create a work culture that is all about energy efficiency. Employees may be interested in getting a carpool started, too, which is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint. Let them know that saving energy costs means there’s more money available to keep the business thriving. Small changes in employee behavior can build pride in the workplace and can contribute to a positive and more productive work environment.