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7 Unusual Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs

Posted January 10, 2018 | By Direct Energy Business

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Making your business energy efficient is a lot harder than simply declaring a new initiative. More often than not, businesses that have been successful in making a significant difference in their energy consumption have done so with notable changes to procedure, and even infrastructure. The way your building is constructed, how your appliances work, and even how systems are connected between rooms and floors are a big part of how efficient your business can be.

You've probably heard about cleaning your filters to improve your HVAC efficiency and putting in smart LED bulbs that use less power and turn themselves off, but today we have seven interesting energy efficient tips you may not have come across before.

1. Plants Reduce Need for Air Filtration

As a good eco-friendly company, you make sure to change the filters regularly on your heating/cooling units to ensure that your HVAC system is working optimally. But have you ever thought about the fact that there are passive, beautiful, morale-building alternatives that filter air for you all day long asking only for a little weekly watering?

Potted plants inside the building will pull CO2 out of the air and transform it into clean oxygen without requiring a single watt of precious energy. Even better, indoor plants can even act as passive humidifiers, putting a slow but steady amount of moisture into the air as a natural part of their growing process. Serving double-duty as air filters and humidifiers, there's no denying that potted plants are a valuable, and attractive, part of any complete energy saving solution. Not to mention that they have also been found to increase job satisfaction and decrease incidences of workplace illness.

2. Thermo-Electric Fridges in the Break Room

Refrigerators can be a major power consumers in any small business, especially in a workplace with several breakrooms or kitchenettes. However, the standard refrigerator design isn't the only model on the market. RVs and campers have found a way to save energy using thermo-electric or ammonia-based cooling systems. These are slightly less powerful than traditional fridges but they also consume a lot less power. Thermo-electric refrigeration can keep items at about 40 degrees below room temperature which is often more than enough for breakroom snacks, especially in a cooled office building, and ammonia fridges can keep things even colder while still remaining energy efficient. Simply replacing your old power-hungry refrigerators can make a huge difference in the energy consumption.

3.  Batteries and Microgrids for Your Solar Power

Solar power is a fantastic way to generate your own renewable energy to offset your use. Since you can't practically bring your energy consumption down to zero, the next best thing is to match your needs with solar generation. A great way to do this is with big long-lifespan batteries and a microgrid that can optionally be connected or disconnected from the municipal power source. This will allow you to make the most efficient use of the power you generate with or without the support of the local power infrastructure.

4.  Use Low-Wattage Appliances

Your business is probably full of a lot of appliances that have been there for at least two years, if not many more than that. This means that they were built with less than modern power usage standards and probably were not selected for their efficiency. Newer appliances and those built for things like homesteading and camping are likely to be much more energy efficient and will, therefore, serve your company better than the old power-hungry models. This change will make the biggest difference for appliances that you have a lot of like office printers, phones, and computer monitors. Don't forget appliances employees bring in like fans and coffee makers. These may also be replaced with more efficient alternatives.

5.  Check Every Window - Replace if Necessary

Your windows make an enormous difference to the efficiency of your building. Ideally, you should be dealing with gas-insulated, sealed, double-pane windows that create a temperature buffer zone. If your building doesn't have double-pane windows, now is the time to invest. However, even if your building does have double-pane windows, there's a reasonable likelihood that not all of them are still sealed and doing their insulating duty. Loose panes or moisture appearing between the panes is a clear sign that your double-paned windows are no longer insulated and need to be replaced.

6.  Insulate Your Pipes and HVAC Ducts

When your HVAC system heats or cools air, it must send the new climate down ducts to the intended destination in order to respond to thermostat demands. However, if those ducts are not insulated, a lot of the warm or cold air you're spending energy to produce is getting lost between the walls. Same goes for the warm and cold water generated from your hot water tank. This means your HVAC and water heaters wind up running more than they need to provide the same amount of climate control or hot water. Just like changing the filters, completely insulating your HVAC ducts and water pipes will improve your climate and water temperature efficiency for the entire building.

7.  Door Draft Stoppers

Draft stoppers are special blocks, sweepers, or mats that you can put at the bottom of interior doors to keep cold drafts from traveling between rooms. This is especially important near entrances and exits where external doors are opened frequently enough to produce these drafts. While you have a wide variety of choices for draft stoppers, installing them is a great way to subtly improve the overall energy efficiency of your office.

 Moving your business toward greater energy efficiency isn't one decision, it's hundreds of little ones. Every light, appliance, and action we take makes a difference in the amount of power your business consumes. You can counter-balance consumption with solar, turn off unused electrical items, and arrange for lower daily consumption but there will always be some way to make our energy use even more efficient. The best way to look for new efficiency saving techniques is to get creative. Break out of your normal perspective and think about how every item in the office may or may not contribute to your energy profile.

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