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Playing it Cool: 4 Tips to Get Through a Sizzling Summer

By Direct Energy Business
inner tube floating in a swimming pool

Summer 2018 was one of the hottest summers on record. What can you do to get your business energy budget ready for this season's heat? We’ve put together a quick guide to making it through unscathed. 

1) Make sure you're on a fixed rate 

Locking in a fixed rate is key to ensuring predictable, affordable energy costs. If you aren’t on a fixed rate, now is the time to lock one in. 

Here’s why: A variable rate is subject to fluctuations depending on supply and demand, weather, and a variety of other factors; but a fixed rate  stays the same, which can help you curb spending when the heat is on. A fixed rate is particularly beneficial during the summer peak season, when price spikes are most common.

With a fixed rate, you’ll know what to expect from your energy bill. Fewer surprises means you’ll be able to budget the way you want to – which is one less thing to worry about.

2) Lock in your price 

Depending on the length of contract you’re looking for, you may be able to lock in a favorable energy price for long-term savings. When you lock in a price for more than a year, you won’t need to worry about prices going up, either this summer or the next! With a long term fixed rate plan, the benefit to your energy budget over time can be considerable. Imagine being able to forecast your monthly energy costs with confidence – sound nice? Now imagine locking in a rate in spring, ahead of the summer price spikes. Very nice indeed.

3) Get an AC tune up

It’s spring -- do you know the last time your AC system was checked? It might seem like a minor point, but if your AC system isn’t ship-shape, you could be needlessly wasting energy (and running up your spending) by a lot more than you think. It’s estimated that replacing a filter can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent. Dirty evaporator and condenser coils, bent fins, and clogged drain channels can also impair your AC’s functionality, and thereby cost you money over time. These are small steps, but together they can go a long way toward keeping your business – and budget - comfortable.

4) Consider how to use less energy

Here are four easy ways to cut down on energy use this summer, without giving up comfort or convenience:

Open Your Doors to the World

Even if your place of work does not see much foot traffic, customers love an open door. Keeping your doors and windows open during the day (in lieu of running your AC) not only saves electricity, but can also make your business feel welcoming to customers. Think of your favorite ice cream spot growing up, where you’d head after a long day at the pool – wasn’t their door always open? Be sure to check for and repair leaks and cracks around your doors and windows, too, for those extra-hot summer days when AC is the only answer. 

Use energy-efficient lighting

Energy-efficient light bulbs -- for instance: halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light emitting diodes (LEDs) -- use up to 80 percent less energy than conventional lighting and can last up to 25 times longer. This is a no-brainer; the technology is available and affordable, and will lead to savings.

Adjust your thermostat

There’s no point in cooling your business when no one is there to benefit. Try turning off your AC while you are away and lowering the temperature to a comfortable level only when the building is actually in use. There are even products on the market that will do this for you – Hive Active Thermostat is our pro pick for businesses. Also, remember that lowering the temperature to a cooler-than-normal setting when you first turn on your AC will not cool your building any faster, and may lead to unintentional energy waste.

Turn off unused equipment

Summertime is when the sun comes out. So it can be easy to forget that computer monitors, lights, printers and other equipment can be turned off or set to power-saving sleep mode when not in use. It sounds obvious, but you might be surprised by the savings you could miss out on by leaving devices on, open or running. Get in the habit of #shuttingitdown this summer and watch your budget shrink.

Updated: April 23, 2019 Posted: June 08, 2018

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