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Fall Energy Efficiency Tips for Businesses

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As a business, it's critical that you keep the lights on and your business functioning at peak efficiency. That doesn't mean that you're stuck with a high energy bill that you can't trim down no matter what you do. These fall energy efficiency tips for businesses will help you decrease your bill, go greener across your company and overall reduce your energy usage.

Check Your Lighting

There's nothing more frustrating for your employees than squinting at the papers on their desks or struggling to see the faces of the people around them. Fortunately, you don't have to turn out the lights to decrease your lighting expenses.

  • Swap your bulbs: Use energy-efficient LED bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps instead of traditional bulbs to help get brighter light that will do a better job of illuminating your existing space--while simultaneously increasing the amount of light you get.
  • Use natural lighting where possible: Instead of blocking out that outdoor view, open the blinds or curtains and take advantage of as much natural lighting as possible. This may make it possible to dim artificial lights or even turn them off altogether, especially when the sun is at its peak.
  • Turn off lights when they aren't in use: Encourage employees throughout the facility to become more energy-efficient. Consider installing motion sensors that will turn off lights in rooms that aren't use, especially rooms like conference rooms or bathrooms that aren't in use on a regular basis.
  • Turn off outdoor lighting during the day: Solar sensors can turn off outdoor lights automatically when the sun is bright enough. Fall days may be short, but that doesn't mean that you can't take advantage of the sun when it's overhead!
  • Reduce unnecessary lighting throughout the facility: Low lighting can make it difficult to work, but too much lighting can give your employees headaches, glare issues and eye strain.

 

Regulate Your Building Temperature

Heating and cooling costs can quickly raise your electric bill and use a large percentage of the energy throughout your facility--especially in a large building. This fall, as temperatures drop, make sure you're taking the right steps to keep your system well-maintained and functioning at peak efficiency.

  • Do maintenance on your HVAC system before cooler weather arrives: Make sure you've changed the filters throughout your facilities and repaired any components that have gotten old, cracked, or worn. Hiring a professional to come in and examine your system before winter arrives is a great way to ensure you aren't spending more than necessary on your heating bill.
  • Use the natural heat from the sun when possible: Open the curtains or blinds in to take full advantage of that warmth.
  • Set your building temperature at a reasonable level - and lock employees out to prevent thermostat wars: Ideally, you should set your office temperature around 68 degrees when employees are present and between 60 and 65 when there's no one in the building. Programmable thermostats can make it easier to ensure that your building remains at the optimal temperature all day.
  • Allow employees to use personal heaters at their desks: This allows you to reduce the temperature through the rest of the building. Make sure these heaters are up to safety standards!
  • Don't turn off your fans in the cooler months: Flip those fan blades and use them to pull warmer air down from the ceiling, reducing the overall heating cost throughout your building.
  • Make sure that all vents and air intakes are clear: Conduct inspections to make sure employees haven't used furniture, office supplies or other items to block those vital areas, which can make your HVAC unit work overtime.
  • Pay attention to small drafts throughout the building: Is there a secretary who is constantly complaining that there's cold air coming in from her window or a guy in IT whose office is always cold? Make sure there's not a draft that is letting in cold outdoor air and raising your energy use throughout the office.

Engage Your Employees

Employees aren't necessarily careless, but they're also unlikely to realize how much effort goes into being energy-efficient unless you have the right policies in place. When dealing with your employees, make sure you're taking the best possible steps to meet your energy efficiency goals.

  • Create a plan for energy efficiency throughout the office: Look at current energy usage and your energy usage for last year, then create a realistic expectation for the amount of energy that you'd like to save this year. Make sure it includes allowance for increases in the size of your business or in your hours of operation over the past year.
  • Institute an energy efficiency policy, including all the important facets of energy usage: This could refer to turning lights off when employees leave the office, turning off machines or computers when they aren't in use and other strategies.
  • Encourage employees to reduce paper usage: It's not just about the amount of waste you'll generate when unnecessary paperwork gets printed. Printing or making copies also takes energy--and you might be surprised by how much you can reduce!
  • Teach employees to use the power management features on computers and other equipment: These features will turn them off automatically when they aren't in use. Across the office as a whole, this can make a big difference in energy usage!

Optimize Your Equipment

Whether you work in an industrial setting or an office environment, there's plenty of equipment that gets used every day. Make sure you're minimizing the amount of energy that equipment uses every day by following these strategies.

  • Choose ENERGY STAR: When you choose new equipment for the office, from copiers and scanners to the fridge in the break room, make sure that it has the ENERGY STAR label. Equipment that is ENERGY STAR-certified uses less energy.
  • Skip the screen saver: Screen savers don't save any energy for the machine, and there's no real need for them. Instead, turn off monitors when the machine isn't in use.
  • Consider laptops instead of desktops: Laptops may use as much as 80% less energy - a big difference when all of the machines in your company have been replaced.
  • Utilize power strips: Use surge protectors or power strips to connect several devices together, making it easier to turn off all of the equipment that isn't in use at the end of the day.
  • Eliminate "energy vampires": Make sure employees know that they should fully shut down their machines at the end of the day. Even passive energy drawn by computers that are "sleeping" can add up, especially across the building.

Fall's arrival doesn't have to mean increased energy bills across your business, especially if you're careful with your energy usage and aware of where your energy is going. If you think you've already implemented as many energy-saving measures throughout your office as possible, consider having an energy audit performed on your building. This will give you a better idea of exactly where your business can save on energy costs and ensure both a lower energy bill and a greener footprint this year.

Check out more energy-saving tips for small businesses.

Get These 50 Energy Saving Tips

Posted: September 22, 2017

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