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18 Energy Saving Tips for Small Business: Get Business Electricity Savings

  • Written By: Kelly Bedrich

  • With these business electricity savings tips, you’ll save money on your electricity bill. And that’s savings that can go right to your bottom line!

    We’ve grouped business energy savings opportunities into categories — electronics, lighting, and HVAC. And since employee morale is a big part of running a small business, we’ve included ways to involve your employees in energy efficiency.

    The best way to get energy efficiency at your business is with a comprehensive energy audit and a business sustainability strategy. But as you work toward that goal, here are 18 energy savings tips for small business, including how to involve your employees.

    Lower Electricity Costs with the Best Business Electricity Rates

    Tip number one for cutting your electricity costs? Make sure you have the best business electricity rates.

    If you are in a deregulated area, you can shop for your electricity supply. And shopping for a competitive electricity rate for your business is one of the best business energy savings methods. There are a lot of business electricity suppliers out there. How to choose the right one?

    Making sure you are on a a competitive rate with a reputable supplier? That can be the biggest decision to drive your business electricity savings.

    5 Ways to Reduce Your Business’ Electronics Footprint

    Depending on the type of business you have, focusing on electronics for your business energy savings can mean big savings. If you are in an office type environment, here are the 5 best ways to save energy with your electronics.

    1. Switch to Laptops. When it’s time to buy new computers, consider switching to laptops. Why? Because they use up to 90% less energy than desktops.
    2. Power Down Electronics Daily. Turn all electronics off when they’re not in use. This includes computers, monitors, printers, copiers and lights. Even in standby mode, power is still flowing if it’s plugged in.
    3. Don’t use Screen Savers. Screensavers look cool, but they can increase energy costs by up to $50 a year per computer. Just know that enabling automatic sleep timers or manually turning monitors off is the better approach versus screensavers.
    4. Purchase Energy-Efficient Office Equipment. Choose energy-saving ENERGY STAR® products whenever possible to ensure you have the most energy efficient computers, printers, copiers, refrigerators, TVs, etc.
    5. Avoid Energy Vampires. Energy vampires are electronics that draw power even when they are not being used. Examples include monitors, computers and chargers. Give each employee a power strip. And make it a part of company culture to flip the switch at the end of the day.

    5 Ways to Cut Lighting Costs in Your Business

    If you are in a workshop or manufacturing type environment, lighting can be key to business energy savings. Plus, proper lighting in an office space can improve the mood of your employees! Here are the 5 top ways to save energy with your business lighting.

    1. Change to LED Bulbs. Replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs. While more expensive than traditional bulbs, their longevity and low cost of use will make up the difference. These bulbs use up to 75% less electricity to produce the same amount of light.
    2. Clean Lampshades.  Does it seem dark in here to you? Check to make sure your fixtures are clean. Dirt on the lampshade can dull the amount of light that is getting through.
    3. Install Occupancy Sensors Hello? Is there anybody in there? Install switch-plate occupancy sensors to control lighting in offices, conference rooms and even whole floors while not in use.
    4. Use sunlight. Natural light not only saves you money, it improves mood. (They don’t call it a “sunny disposition” for nothing.) In fact, Harvard Business Review calls natural lighting “the number one office perk.” Consider installing skylights or what’s called a sun tunnel. Sun tunnels focus sunlight to look like a recessed light.
    5. Shut off the lights when not in use. Leaving the lights on all the time is a top waster of electricity at work. Lights that are commonly ignored are those in the bathroom, breakroom and conference room.

    7 Ways to Business Electricity Savings in HVAC

    If you have an office space, business energy savings can be big in HVAC, which is the biggest driver of your electricity bill in commercial real estate buildings. Here are 7 ways to save on your business electric bill by controlling HVAC costs.

    1. Get an Energy Audit. The number one thing you can do to save money on your office heating and cooling? Get a small business energy audit. Your HVAC company or landlord may be able to perform one. Also, many utility companies offer free audits. Contact your local utility company (poles and wires company) to see if they offer this service.
    2. Get Smart (Thermostats). With smart thermostats, you can control the thermostat remotely, set it to adjust automatically. Or, have it learn your schedule to optimize heating and cooling. Learn more about smart thermostats in this article on smart home devices.
    3. Watch for Space Heaters. Space heaters draw a lot of electricity and may be in use around your office without you even being aware. Some people are naturally hotter or colder. Work to accommodate these people by ensuring they are sitting away from A/C vents. 
    4. Check the Setpoint! Most offices are set at 72* in the summer and 68* in the winter. Consider raising the temperature by a degree or two. And, when you leave the office, increase (summer) or decrease (winter) the temperature by 4-5 degrees.
    5. Maintain Your HVAC. Make sure to change your air filters regularly, and get an HVAC check-up every spring and fall to ensure it’s operating efficiently.
    6. Use Fans. Fans cool by evaporating moisture on our skin. Also, the sound of the fan is white noise for your office, which can improve concentration.
    7. Replace Your HVAC. If you own your building, talk to your HVAC professional about your system’s age and consider replacement. And talk to your tax professional while you’re at it. Section 179D of the IRS Tax code allows deductions for energy-efficient commercial buildings.

    Enter Your Zip to Compare Business Electricity Rates in Texas

    How to Get Employees Involved in Energy Savings at Your Business

    You can implement all the ideas above. But engaging your employees is key to saving money on your business electricity bill. If you just issue rules rather than involve your employees, your energy savings for your business can easily get derailed. Plus, engagement like this can help employee morale. Here are 5 ways to involve your employees in energy savings:

    1. Provide Information: Educate employees on what the energy-wasting habits are. These usually involve not using provided power strips, using space heaters, and leaving electronics on all night, like a break room TV or a copy machine.
    2. Reward Energy Savings: Set a bill reduction goal and pledge money to an employee event if savings goals are met. Post a chart in the break room showing the progress toward the savings goal. Make it attainable so employees are actively engaged.
    3. Upgrade Equipment: When you invest in energy-efficient appliances, provide power strips, and get energy efficient lighting, you send a signal that the company is behind this overall effort. Plus upgrades in the office environment give employees a positive boost.
    4. Appoint a Grass Roots Committee Gather a team of employees to serve as your Energy Commission. Have them actively engage with other employees to develop energy savings ideas for your business.
    5. Ask Employees for Input. Have a brainstorming session to give your energy saving program a boost of energy. Just ask the question, “How do we save energy and reduce our carbon footprint?” You may be surprised at the ideas you get.

    Here are more benefits of energy efficiency. Better lighting can improve worker performance by up to 20%. On the opposite side, temperatures that are too hot can cut productivity by 9%. So energy efficiency can not only cut your bill, but boost your productivity!

    How can Manufacturing Facilities Save on Electricity Bills?

    One of the best ways to save on electricity in a manufacturing facility is to reduce your peak demand. Any company with a demand meter needs to be aware of how their peak demand impacts their bill. Basically, your peak demand, or the time when your energy usage is at its highest, sets certain delivery charges on your bill.

    • Shave your Peak Demand. Many businesses have what’s called a demand meter. You pay a demand charge based on your peak demand during the month (highest usage recorded over any single 15-minute period during the month). On especially hot days, focus on energy conservation to reduce your demand charges. You can help reduce your demand by staggering work shifts or staggering your factory equipment start-up.
    • Get a Predominant Use Study. Certain businesses can qualify for an electricity sales tax exemption. If you use electricity to create a finished product, you may qualify.
    • Get an Energy Audit Done: Many utility companies offer a free energy audit program to ensure that you are using energy efficiently. That can help you narrow down on where to save money.

    About Kelly Bedrich

    Kelly Bedrich co-founded ElectricityPlans in 2016 with the goal of simplifying the complicated process of buying energy. As president and chief technology officer, Kelly keeps our development team focused on providing a user-friendly website. When not reading the latest on technology and finance, Kelly enjoys celebrating Taco Tuesday, listening to live music at local venues, and hiking.

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