You may be surprised at the difference you can make by using fewer resources. First off, there’s the simple idea that the less gas, oil or electricity you use, the less you’ll pay for. But, there’s more.
In South Jersey, businesses are eligible for property credits and grants to purchase equipment or make changes that will help their locations use less energy.
And, check out Public Service Energy & Gas in places like Washington Township, and Atlantic City Electric Medford, Sicklerville and other towns. These utility companies offer rebates and financial incentives when you install energy-efficient appliances.
That’s all to say, it’s an idea that’s gaining traction over all over the country, not just the Garden State.
According to Schneider Electric, a multinational energy company, the number of businesses investing in ways to use less energy grows by leaps and bounds every year. Many companies now also have a person on staff responsible for energy management.
Energy-efficient business with buildings and designs
Let’s start with the whole building. You may not have total control over making the entire place energy-efficient. But, if you can make big decisions about your business’ layout and design, you can think about:
First up are LEED buildings. That stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” A LEED-certified building makes little an impact on the environment as possible. They conserve water, cut down on carbon emissions, and use as few resources for heat and power as they can.
This mostly comes into play when you’re building a new office building or plant. But, there’s plenty you can do where your business already lives.
One thing you might not consider when it comes to cutting energy usage? Landscaping.
Take “shade landscaping.” You plant trees strategically to help cool the building in summer. Planting one on the west side of your building, where the sun’s beating down, can be as powerful as ten room-sized air conditioners.
Plant enough, and in the right places, and you can reduce your air conditioning bill by 30 percent, and up to 50 percent on heating.
Next up: The IT department.
A lot is going on in your server room. You need enough power to run the hard drives. Then, there’s more energy maintaining the right temperature in the room.
It’s a big concern for smaller businesses without a lot of room. Their servers end up in closets or small spaces. Those end up costing even more than proper rooms to cool.
Switching to a cloud system can take a huge swipe out of your energy bills. Instead of housing all your data onsite, you’ll use your internet connection to access it remotely. That’s way less climate control once you’re not responsible for all that equipment.
Use fewer resources with the right HVAC system
Now, let’s look at something we here at Bovio can speak to a little more: Heating and cooling systems. Right now, about 30 percent of a commercial building’s energy use comes through its HVAC system. So, you want that to be as efficient as possible!
The first thing you can do is get an energy audit. A professional will assess your commercial space to see how much energy you’re using. Then, they’ll outline ways you can make the space more efficient.
Next, choose carefully when it’s time to upgrade your HVAC equipment. Make sure whatever new unit you select has an Energy Star label. That means it’s been tested to make sure it uses less energy than comparable units.
You can also consider some newer heating and cooling technologies, like heat pumps and ductless systems. These provide the same climate control as conventional setups. But, they use way less power and offer more customization.
Or, how about solar panels? The technology behind these has made some great strides over the past 60 or so years.
Back in the 50s, the average-sized board could use six percent of the light that hit it and produce 20 watts of electricity. By 2012, it was 15 percent for 200 watts. Now, just seven years later, you can get 360 watts.
Energy efficiency tips for business
- Making sure computers are turned off or sleeping
- Sealing up leaks around windows and doors
- Using programmable thermostats
Sure, one computer doesn’t use that much power. But, an office adds up quickly. Make sure laptop and desktops use their power management features.
Using low-power or sleep mode at the end of each workday can save up to $35 per computer per year. The same goes for printers, scanners, and other electronics.
Next, let’s look at that climate control again. Check around for leaks around your windows or doors. If you get an energy audit, these should show up there. But, you can also feel for drafts on your own. Seal them up with calk, foam or weather stripping
Finally, make sure you’re in control of how warm or cool the office gets. And, that’s much more than making sure you’re getting the most from your heater or air conditioner. It also means keeping it all dialed in.
Use a programmable thermostat to make sure you’re using your resources efficiently. This way, you’ll never forget to turn down the heat or AC at the end of the day. And, you can set it up so the temperature is back where it should be just as people are arriving. And, you’ll get rid of the ups and downs from people fiddling with the thermostat during the day.
Are you looking to save money by increasing your businesses’ energy efficiency? Contact us, and we’ll help you find the best ways to do so.