Saving money is essential when you’re running a small business. And whether you work at home, an office, or a shop, reducing energy consumption is a great way to optimize your operating costs. For many businesses, the opportunity to cut those costs is substantial, and all they have to do is put a few new habits into play. Here are 22 of the best ones.
1. Monitor your energy usage and compare it with your statements so you know exactly how your use correlates with the cost. Locate the spikes and aim to use energy when it’s essential.
2. Whatever equipment your small business uses, invest in energy-efficient versions. Make this a priority as you purchase upgrades to replace old computers, copy machines, printers, etc.
3. Turn off all office equipment or program it for sleep mode when not in use. Unplug unused appliances and equipment during the night and over the weekends to reduce phantom electricity losses.
4. Maintaining your heating and cooling systems to encourage problem-free operation. Take advantage of annual maintenance contracts to get regular system tune-ups.
5. Change or clean HVAC filters monthly so they don’t clog and strain the system. Dirty filters make everything work harder and can lessen the units’ lifespan.
6. Install a new, programmable thermostat. They have features that optimize for efficiency and they can be controlled from your phone so you have control of your HVAC system when you’re not home.
7. Keep your AC/heater temperatures at reasonable, consistent levels all year. Constantly adjusting the temperature settings wastes energy and costs you more in the long-term.
8. When using central heating or cooling systems, reduce their workload by closing the doors and vents to unoccupied rooms.
9. Promote a cooler work environment during the summer by installing solar films, screens, awnings, window shades, or blinds. Closing curtains or shades will also keep your space cooler when using the AC.
10. Create a warmer work environment during winter by moving window coverings aside and letting the sun in. Close blinds or drapes in the evening so that the heat stays inside.
11. The use of ceiling or standup fans during the summer can help to cut your energy bills. Fans circulate air which is refreshing and relieves the discomfort of hot temperatures and high humidity.
12. Apply caulk or weatherstripping to window and door gaps to eliminate drafts. Drafts are a major drain and sealing them up is an easy way to lower your energy bills.
13. Upgrade incandescent light bulbs to compact, energy-efficient fluorescent lamps. Compact fluorescent lamps are just as bright but cost 75% less to use than incandescent bulbs and last longer.
14. Take advantage of the daylight. During peak daylight hours, turn off your inside lights, make sure window coverings are out of the way, and, as we said before, let the sun in!
15. Turn off all exterior security and safety lights at the beginning of the day.
16. Make the switch from overhead lighting to task lighting. Also, only turn on the lights when they’re needed. Turn them off wherever you leave the room or building.
17. Install occupancy sensors in corridors, meeting rooms, bathrooms, and storage facilities to automatically turn off the lights when nobody is around.
18. Be flexible about dress codes during hot summer months. Allowing workers to dress more casually in hot weather rather than requiring formal business attire can save on air conditioning costs.
19. Switch from desktop model computers to laptops — they use 90% less energy. Inkjet printers are also more energy-efficient than laser printers.
20. Conserve water by repairing leaks in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you’re building or remodeling, install water-saving fixtures.
21. Save energy and enhance safety by keeping your hot water heater set below 120 degrees.
22. If you use a vehicle for business purposes, make sure it’s fuel-efficient or electric.