Cutting back on unnecessary energy cost means more profits in your pocket. Here are some excepts from a longer article on tips you can use in your business to save winter energy dollars. To read the complete article for even more tips from Charlie DeLong, click here.
- Use large equipment during off-peak hours whenever possible. (Before 4 p.m. – after 7 p.m.)
- Turn equipment and lights off after hours.
- Always choose ENERGY STARÂ® products whenever possible.
- Set energy-saving features on all your office equipment to put them into sleep mode when not in use.
- An energy audit might be the best investment you can make for your business.
Heating and Ventilation Systems – Improve Efficiency
- Set the thermostat in your workspace to 68 degrees during work hours and raise the setting to 55 degrees when the space is unoccupied. For every degree you lower the heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range; you can save up to 5% on heating costs.
- Use a programmable thermostat.
- Open window blinds to warm your rooms from direct sunlight.
- Allow your workers to wear warm clothing during cool weather.
- To save energy, keep your exterior and freight doors closed as much as possible.
- Keep your heating and ventilation systems tuned. Maintain a regular filter replacement and cleaning schedule. Don’t forget to check ducts and pipe insulation.
- Install ceiling fans – they circulate the warm air, pulling it away from the ceiling. Remember to change the fan rotation so it is reverse of your summer use.
- Insulate water heaters and supply pipes.
- If possible, install ceiling and wall insulation. You will save money on your monthly utility bills and your employees will be more comfortable.
Lighting – The Right Light for the Right Task
- Many offices, stores or factories can easily reduce lighting without affecting productivity. Turn off as many unnecessary lights as possible. Use task lighting instead of overhead lighting, and light only those areas that are needed at the time. Providing the right lighting can save up to 15 percent on your lighting bill.
- Replace old fluorescent lights with newer, more efficient models with electronic ballasts (such as retrofit T12 lights with magnetic ballasts to T8 lights and electronic ballasts). To help you make the best choice for lighting options, including power reducers, go to the Energy Adviser.
- Replace your high-use incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights. A compact fluorescent light uses 75 percent less electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb. The compact fluorescent will last about 10,000 hours as opposed to the 600- to 1,000-hour average life of an incandescent. By replacing a 100-watt incandescent with an equivalent 25-watt compact fluorescent, you can save more than $90 per bulb in electricity costs over the 10,000-hour lifetime of the compact fluorescent.
- Make sure that bulbs, fixtures, lenses, lamps and reflective surfaces are cleaned regularly. By removing grease, dust and other dirt, you can increase the output of your lights.
- Install automatic room-lighting controls to turn lights on or off depending on occupancy or time of day.
- Change out incandescent or fluorescent exit signs with LED exit signs.
Computers and Other Office Equipment
- Turn off your computers and any other office equipment when you’re not using them, especially overnight and weekends. This practice costs nothing and can potentially save as much as $44 per year.
- Choose settings that automatically switch the computer monitor into sleep or “power-down” mode when it hasn’t been worked on for a preset amount of time. Shorten the delay time before your monitor automatically goes into sleep mode.
- Consider having employees use laptop computers since they use up to 90 percent less energy than a standard computer.
- If it works for your business, consider ink-jet printers which also use 90 percent less energy than laser printers.
- Choose a flat-panel computer monitor rather than a regular cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor. Some flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors use considerably less electricity than comparably-sized CRT models. The bigger the monitor, the more energy it uses. For example, a 17-inch monitor consumes 35 percent more electricity than a 14-inch monitor.