Managing Energy Costs for Small Businesses
In the competitive climate facing American small businesses, it’s important to take all possible steps to control costs. Certain expenses, such as energy, cannot be avoided, but they can be reduced. With the energy cost for small businesses amounting to as much as 40 percent or more of a company’s budget, even small savings can make a big difference in long-term profitability. Consider applying the following techniques to reduce your overall costs for heating, cooling, and electrical power.
Reduce Your Building’s Heating and Cooling Load
Heating and cooling is a significant energy cost for small businesses. Your building’s “load” is the actual amount of heating and cooling necessary to keep the indoor spaces at the temperature you, your customers, or your employees prefer. By reducing the heating and cooling load, you’ll be able to save money on monthly HVAC expenses while still keeping the building’s occupants comfortable.
- Stop heat gain through windows: Install adjustable shades, window blinds, and curtains that can be opened or closed, depending on how much sunlight you want entering your interior spaces. In the summer, they can stop sunlight from entering your business and creating extra heat that your air conditioner must overcome. During the winter, this extra warmth from sunlight can reduce the need for heating.
- Ensure proper building insulation: Insulation prevents heat from leaving your building in the winter and entering it in the summer. Make sure the structure’s walls, ceilings, roof, attic, and basement are properly insulated to help save energy.
- Improve lighting systems and use efficient bulbs: Upgrade lighting systems to energy-efficient models. Replace standard light bulbs with energy-saving CFL bulbs. These bulbs also give off less heat, which will reduce heat accumulation inside your building.
Stop Air and Energy Leaks
When heated or cooled air is lost through openings in your building’s structure, you’ve not only wasted the money you’ve already paid to condition that air, you also have to pay more money to condition air to make up for the loss.
- Sealing your building can pay off with significant savings and improved indoor comfort.
- Add foam or rubber weatherstripping around the edges of doors and windows to stop drafts and prevent energy loss.
- Seal around window and door frames and casings with latex caulking.
- Use silicone caulking around the edges of window panes.
- Have an energy audit performed to locate otherwise-hidden leaks in your building’s structure. Seal these leaks with caulking or other appropriate materials.
- Make sure the ductwork in your HVAC system is well sealed at all connections, especially at branches and elbows. Seal connections with metal tape or the specialized sealant mastic. Make sure all duct segments fit tightly together. Apply mechanical fasteners, such as sheet metal screws, to make connections more secure.
Apply Energy-Conservation Best Practices
- Use tried-and-true energy conservation practices or a business-wide energy management program to further boost savings in energy and money.
- Turn off lights, equipment, appliances, and other devices when not needed. Unplug electronics that use standby power, or plug them all into a power strip so they can be turned off or on at the same time.
- Use a programmable thermostat to give you better control over the operation of your HVAC equipment. Apply the thermostat’s set points to automatically reduce HVAC system operation when it’s not needed.
- Install an energy-recovery ventilation system. These devices provide excellent whole-building ventilation while recovering and reusing a substantial amount of the heating and cooling energy that would otherwise be lost to the ventilation process.
- Replace HVAC equipment with high-efficiency models. High-efficiency heating and cooling systems can potentially slash energy cost for small businesses by half or more.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on the energy cost for small businesses and how to control it, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!