Saving energy and money doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out these low cost (or no cost!) ways to help your business be more energy-efficient and improve your bottom line. Some tips only take a few minutes, but the savings really add up!
Be sure to switch off lights and other equipment when areas are not in use such as after hours, weekends or holidays. Additionally, consider powering off vending machines during slow times. Newer vending machines often come with a low power mode option that allows the machine to be placed in low-energy lighting and/or low-energy refrigeration states during times of inactivity.
Conduct a Walkabout
Doing a walkabout of your facility with a property manager or building supervisor is a great way to identify energy savings opportunities in your business. They can help you identify unnecessary equipment that can be unplugged, check settings on equipment, manage set points on thermostats and also provide the chance to better understand how energy is used throughout your business.
Utilize Natural Daylight
Take advantage of natural daylight to reduce energy use. Any lighting renovation should start by using daylight as much as possible.
Use Shading Devices
Install shades, curtains or blinds. During the winter, be sure to open shades during the day. Let the sun shine through to help heat your business. At night, close shades as these act as an insulator and can help keep the heat in. Shades can also be used to help block heat caused by sunlight in the summer and lower air-conditioning costs.
Set It Back
Use setbacks on thermostats for times when areas are not in use. You can start off by turning down just a couple of degrees on nights and weekends. Setting the heat back 5°C can save 10% on heating costs.
Control Heating and Cooling
Turn off or reduce the cooling or heating in areas not being used, such as storage and non-public spaces. Make sure heating and cooling units serving a common area are not “fighting” each other by heating and cooling the area at the same time.
Use an external thermometer to ensure the accuracy of your thermostat. Thermostats should be installed on an interior wall away from vents or other draft sources for the most reliable readings.
Many exterior lights have sensors that control when the lights turn on or go off. Sometimes these sensors can have bugs, which causes lights to come on at the wrong times. Often times a simple reset can fix the problem and ensure lights are working properly at the correct times.
Close Unoccupied Areas
During periods of low occupancy, close areas to reduce lighting and HVAC system requirements.
Use Equipment Power Management Features
Place computers (CPU, hard drive, etc.) into a low-power “sleep mode” after a designated period of inactivity. You can also purchase a commercial software power management package to do this automatically.
Run Full Loads of Dishes and Laundry
Use dishwashers and washers only when full to conserve energy, water and detergent.
Clean Refrigeration Cooling Coils
Dirt impairs proper heat transfer and lowers a refrigerator’s efficiency and capacity. As you clean, watch for and remove any accumulation of ice.
Maintain Air-Gap on Refrigeration Units
Maintain an air-gap of at least three inches between the wall and the back of refrigerators, water coolers and freezers.
Cut Equipment Idle Time
Implement a start-up and shutdown plan to make sure you are using only the equipment that you need, when you need it.
Switch to LED Bulbs
Swapping out incandescent bulbs for ENERGY STAR ® certified LEDs not only use less energy, they generate considerably less heat, reducing your cooling needs. You can also get back up to $10 per bulb with a takeCHARGE rebate.
Use LED Exit Signs
Replace old exit signs with newer LED models or use LED retrofit kits and you’ll save about $20 per sign in electricity every year. LED signs also require significantly less maintenance and you can get a takeCHARGE rebate!
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are ideal for areas that are unoccupied during set periods of time throughout the week. Meeting rooms, warehouses and other spaces have minimal traffic and are some places to start when considering where to implement setbacks. You can also get money back on programmable thermostats with a takeCHARGE rebate.
Use Occupancy Sensors
Install occupancy sensor-lighting controls to turn lights on and off in frequently unoccupied areas like restrooms, copy rooms, supply rooms and warehouses. You can save up to 40% on lighting costs and get a takeCHARGE rebate.
Smart Power Strips
For computer systems and other electronics, consider setting them up using a smart power strip. Many electronics use power even when they are turned off. A smart power strip can be used to shut down power to products that go into standby mode.
Install Timers on Coffee Equipment
Add timers to automatically turn off the heating elements on coffee makers and warmers during non-business hours.
Change Filters Regularly
Check heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filters monthly, especially during heavy-use seasons—winter and summer. If the filter looks dirty, change it. At minimum, the filter should be changed every three months. A dirty filter slows down air flow, requiring the system to use more energy to keep the building warm or cool.
Install Water Saving Equipment
Installing high performance shower heads, faucet aerators and pre-rinse spray valves can all help to reduce the amount of hot water used in your business. You can get a takeCHARGE rebate on showerheads and pre-rinse spray valves.
Improve Walk-In Refrigerators
Add strip curtains and automatic door closers to your walk-in refrigerator. Inexpensive and easy-to-install strip curtains can cut outside air infiltration by about 75%.
Install ECMs on Fans
Install electronically commutated motors (ECM) on evaporator and condenser fans to reduce fan energy consumption by approximately two-thirds. Get a FREE upgrade through takeCHARGE.
Worth the Investment
Some upgrades are worth the investment and takeCHARGE has rebates to help make your business more energy efficient. With the average rebate amount for our custom program at over $5,000 and a maximum rebate of $50,000, we can really help with those initial costs. Click here or call your electricity utility to get started!