Cutting down on energy costs doesn’t have to be a challenge for your small business. Try out these ideas to reduce your output without affecting business
Energy can be costly for any small business is. According to the government-backed program Energy Star, small businesses nationwide spend over $60 billion each year on energy alone.
But many small-business owners don’t understand just how easy it is to make minor updates to save on costs and to decrease the company’s carbon footprint. Here are a few ideas to help you start saving on energy right now.
Review your current usage
Start by looking through all your energy bills to see how your utilities fluctuate each month. Talk to other businesses to see what they pay for services in your area and compare your usages. Identify the areas where you’re spending more than you should be.
An energy audit from an outside party will also give you insight into your current energy usage and areas where you can improve. Many electrical companies offer these audits for free, so check with other businesses in your area about your options.
Smart devices and appliances are growing in popularity and incorporating them into your business could improve efficiency and help you save on energy costs.
Smart thermostats automatically configure your heating and cooling system for you. You can control the settings from anywhere and ensure that nothing is running overtime when no one is in the office. Smart thermostats also have energy-saving settings that help you cut down on costs.
Invest in alternative energy sources
Many businesses are starting to invest in alternative energy sources, including solar energy. The government initiated the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in 2006, which provided businesses an incentive to invest in this resource. The credit was 30% in 2019 and 26% in 2020.
Since the credit was enacted, the solar industry in the U.S. has grown over 10,000%. Investing in solar not only allows you to take advantage of this tax credit for your business, but using solar energy can significantly reduce energy costs as well.
Update your equipment
Often, older equipment can waste more energy than updated appliances. Replace anything outdated with a newer version. Chances are these devices will have energy-saving settings incorporated into them, or they can work in conjunction with other devices in your office, which gives you added benefits and paves the way to having a fully “smart” office.
Smart light bulbs are also a worthy investment for your business. These bulbs are more energy-efficient than traditional lightbulbs, and they can turn on and off remotely with a smartphone or other connected device.
The ability to control lighting remotely is helpful if a light is left on unintentionally. And, you can dim lights where possible. If you’re not going fully smart with lighting, at least invest in more energy-efficient bulbs – halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and LEDs – as opposed to incandescent bulbs.
Lighting occupant sensors are also a smart option for spaces that aren’t used very often. These sensors control when lights turn off after a certain amount of time of inactivity.
You can always opt for using natural sunlight during peak hours. Turn off the artificial light entirely and open the windows.
Data from Energy Star shows that replacing old windows with energy-efficient alternatives can lower energy bills by 7 to 15%.
If you can’t replace windows altogether, try:
- Caulking surrounding windows and doors
- Keeping blinds or shades closed in summer, and open in winter
- Install weather strips around doors and windows
Unplug appliances when not in use
When equipment that takes up a lot of energy isn’t being used, unplug it to save on energy costs. Even if the device isn’t turned on, “phantom energy” can still be pulsing through it from the electrical outlet, driving up energy costs unnecessarily.
It’s easier than you think to make small changes that cause big energy impacts. Start with these suggestions:
- Conduct an energy audit
- Install a smart thermostat
- Invest in solar power
- Update old equipment
- Invest in smart or energy-efficient lighting
- Replace windows
- Avoid phantom energy
Your business growth depends on updating and streamlining practices across workflows. One way to start improving productivity is to sign up for VendorSmart, a web-based marketplace where you can connect with HOAs and community managers who need your services. Contact VendorSmart to get started.