When it comes to managing a small business, energy efficiency upgrades may not be at the top of an owner’s “to-do” list. But no matter what type of business or its size, there are countless opportunities that businesses can help save money and energy, while creating a comfortable and welcoming space for employees and customers.
The big question is, where to begin? Start optimizing business energy use with the following suggestions:
- Lighting: Switching to LED bulbs can make a noticeable difference in energy use. LEDs use up to 90% less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, which means less maintenance and a bright, comfortable work environment. To avoid wasting energy in rooms that aren’t in constant use (such as storage and bathrooms), install occupancy sensors that can be set to automatically turn the lights on and off.
- Heating, Cooling and Ventilation: Before the temperature really starts to dip, make sure to schedule an HVAC system check-up with a technician. If an upgrade is needed to the heating or cooling system, look into what financial incentives and technical assistance may be available before starting the job.
- Equipment: Small businesses need reliable equipment to run efficiently, from printers, computers and copiers to coffee makers and even refrigerators. Office settings can benefit from “smart” power strips. They keep critical electronics on, while shutting down power to equipment that goes into standby mode – which is a great way save energy when people are out of the office. When it’s time to upgrade, look for ENERGY STAR-certified models which can save hundreds a year over non-certified options.
- Teamwork: Empower employees to understand how much energy they use throughout the day. Encourage them to make easy changes — like turning off equipment when not in use, keeping the thermostat at a consistent temperature, and keeping exterior doors and windows closed to prevent the loss of that warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer.