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Setting up and maintaining offices is an expensive undertaking for doctors.1 By conserving energy, you can help control costs without compromising service; in fact, energy conservation measures can make your offices more comfortable for patients and staff.2

You have greater ability to influence your energy spending if you own rather than lease. But either way, several opportunities exist to save energy and reduce utility bills.

Here are eight low-cost and no-cost energy conservation tips to get you started right away:

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Do a self exam


Study your energy bills to understand how much energy your office typically uses, and how much it costs. If you have separate electricity and natural gas bills, examine them to see which is highest in terms of cost or consumption, and target that area for much of your conservation efforts.

For a more granular look at your usage, consider installing digital energy displays or software that identifies times of day when energy use rises and falls. Understanding when you use energy can help you identify sources of waste. For example, is energy use higher than it should be at night because lights and computers are being left on?

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 Arrange an energy audit

You may not have the time or the expertise to uncover all of the energy-efficiency opportunities in your medical office. An energy auditor can help identify window leaks, equipment failures, inefficient lighting and other areas of energy waste. An auditor also can help you find government or provider incentives for energy improvements. Check with your provider or your building manager for names of energy auditors.

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  Identify hidden energy waste

Offices often have “phantom loads”—computers, microwaves, cellphone chargers, coffeemakers, desktop printers and other appliances that draw electricity even when turned off.3 Unplug the equipment when it’s not needed for stretches of time, such as overnight. Better yet, keep it plugged into a power strip that can automatically shut off electricity flow.

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 Install energy-efficient lighting.

Lights are described as the “low-hanging fruit” of energy conservation because installing high-efficiency lighting is an easy, often cost-effective way to conserve energy. Swapping out incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) can cut lighting costs by as much as 50 percent, according to the Department of Energy.4 Some light emitting diodes (LEDs) offer even greater energy savings—as much as 75 percent, according to Energy Star.5 In addition, better lighting can be easier on the eyes, making for a more productive and pleasant environment for staff and patients.6

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 Turn off the lights

Yes, it’s obvious, but it's also easy to forget. Put up signs to remind yourself and your staff to turn off lights at night or when they're not needed; doing so can reduce lighting expenses by 10 percent to 40 percent, according to ENERGY STAR.7 Occupancy sensors and timers can turn lights off automatically, but can be overridden in examination rooms if necessary.

Also look for areas in your office that are overlit, and uninstall lights that are unnecessary. Illuminate a smaller work area with task lighting instead of lighting the entire room.

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 Open or close window blinds wisely

Close or adjust window blinds to block direct sunlight and reduce cooling needs during warm months. In the winter months, open blinds on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your workspace. At night, close the blinds to reduce heat loss.

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 With office equipment, small can be beautiful—and more efficient

Replace desktop computers with lightweight computers or notebook computers and docking stations, and upgrade office equipment to ENERGY STAR models. Look for devices with power management features, and be sure to use them. Remember to activate energy-saving settings like “sleep” or “standby” modes on your copier, computers and monitors—but be on the lookout for software bugs or push updates that can override these settings.

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 Have your HVAC systems checked twice each year

One of the quickest ways to leak dollars from your energy budget is to neglect your HVAC system. A twice-yearly tune-up can not only save money, but it also can increase the comfort of staff and patients.

While you are at it, schedule monthly checks on air filters to help keep the HVAC system running efficiently. Use the ENERGY STAR Maintenance Checklist as your equipment tune-up guide.8

Every medical practice has many opportunities to reduce operating costs and become an energy-saving doctor's office. Direct Energy Business can help you buy less of what we sell, offering a Total Energy Management approach to lowering energy costs with data and analytics, energy efficiency and alternative energy solutions, including:


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