Bright Ideas For Cutting Energy Costs For Small Businesses

Running a business can be expensive, and small business owners are always looking for ways to cut costs and run more efficiently.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by implementing energy saving policies, devices, and practices that not only do good for the environment, but save your company money.

Have an Energy Audit

To know how much work you will need to do to cut costs, conduct an energy audit and determine the places, times, and activities that are using the most energy.

You can hire an energy audit company to conduct this process, but many utility companies offer this as a free service. They can help you determine where you can cut your energy consumption.

This audit also gives you a baseline of your energy consumption that you can reference down the road to determine how much you have progressed in your efforts to cut energy use.

Let There Be Light

You have to have light to run a small business, there’s no doubt about it. But you can use your light sources—natural and artificial—wisely for the most energy-conscious results.

  • Replace your lightbulbs with compact florescent lamps (CFLs). These bulbs will use 75% less energy and last longer than your traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Take advantage of natural light by opening blinds and curtains during the day. Then remind employees to turn off any bulbs that don’t need to be in use. You can also install skylights to further take advantage of natural daylight.
  • Consider installing motion detectors to automatically turn off lights that aren’t in use. This is a great option for areas that are less trafficked, such as bathrooms, break rooms, and storage rooms.

Bright Ideas For Cutting Energy Costs For Small Businesses

Plug It In

The modern office runs on technology. Practically every employee has a computer at his or her desk. Then there are copy machines, scanners, microwaves, and other electronics around the building. But the ubiquity of plugged-in devices doesn’t mean that you have to be slave to their energy consuming ways.

  • Even when electronics are off, they continue to use electricity as long as they are plugged in. Install power strips for each desk or workstation that can be effectively turned off at the end of the day, thus preventing energy draining overnight.
  • When computers aren’t in use, they should be turned off or switched into sleep mode (not just a screensaver). Have sleep mode set automatically so that computers switch to it when they haven’t been in use for a certain length of time.
  • Consider the types of devices you are using and if you can swap them for something more energy efficient. Can some of your employees use laptops? These consume far less energy than a desktop. Also, look for electronics and appliances that are Energy Star qualified.

You’re Hot, Then You’re Cold

While the battle over the thermostat may rage at your company, there are still many things you can do to keep your employees comfortable in the heat or the cold in order to maintain low energy costs.

  • Start by using what you have at your fingertips. In the winter, keep curtains and blinds open for solar heat. In the summer, close the curtains or use solar film to block the sunlight from entering your building.
  • Give your employees ways to control the heating and cooling of their personal workspace. Use energy-efficient fans to cool down and personal heaters to warm up.
  • Be sure to have your HVAC system checked at least twice a year. This can help fix any inefficiencies and prevent problems down the road.

There are many simple ways that you can cut energy costs around your business. Once you’ve decided the best practices to implement for your company, make sure you educate your employees about the plan you have in place. Explain how this approach helps the business and the environment, and then provide opportunity for them to give their own ideas and take ownership of saving energy in the workplace.

And don’t forget the tax incentives your local government may provide if you’re energy efficient!