Cost-effective energy efficiency projects can reduce annual utility bills by 20% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
No-Cost Steps to Save Energy
Change Energy Usage Behavior
- Save $50 each year by activating power management features on all computers.
- Turn off equipment (i.e. lights, computers, and other office equipment) on nights, weekends and when not in use. Install reminder labels.
- Recycle old refrigerators that waste money and energy.
- Lower your water heater thermostat.
- Lower your heater thermostat in the winter and raise your air conditioner thermostat in the summer. There should be at least five degrees F between heating and cooling set points.
- Use sunshine to warm your business during colder months by opening drapes or blinds. Close them at night to retain heat.
- Keep doors and windows closed to prevent heat loss during winter or loss of cool air in summer. Keep doors and windows open to provide ventilation instead of using air conditioning in summer.
Practice Routine Maintenance
- Ensure all automatic controls are set and operating correctly.
- Clean all filters in your heating and cooling system monthly.
- Check and regularly clean filters if you use exhaust fans.
- Caulk or weatherstrip any drafty doors or windows.
- Remove unneeded light bulbs or use lower wattage bulbs.
- Adjust outdoor lighting timer controls to accommodate daylight savings time changes or install photocells to adjust automatically to changes in the season.
- Regularly clean and maintain food refrigeration equipment where applicable.
Simple, Low-Cost Investments to Save Energy
- Install automatic, programmable, set-back thermostats to control heating and cooling.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Replacing one incandescent light bulb with a CFL can save $30 or more in electricity costs over the bulb’s lifespan.
- Install occupancy sensors in hallways, bathrooms, meeting rooms, kitchens, storage rooms, and other areas where lights can be shut off for blocks of time.
- Install photocells in outdoor entryway(s) and security lighting to automatically sense outdoor lighting levels.
- Install light emitting diode (LED) exit signs in place of incandescent signs. LED signs last up to 15 times longer, and use less energy.
- Use energy efficient fluorescent T-8 lamps with electronic ballasts when changing interior lighting.
- If you lease equipment, insist on energy efficient models to lower your operating costs.
Longer Term Investments to Save Energy
Invest in Systems and Appliances with High Energy Efficiency Ratings
New equipment and appliances offer huge opportunities for improved energy efficiency. If there is an added cost for high efficiency equipment, factor in savings from lower energy operation costs over the life of the appliance.
Plan to Save Energy
Conduct an energy audit
A professional audit can help you size up your energy load, compare your energy use against similar businesses, and help you decide on energy and cost-saving measures. Contact your local utility to find out about energy audit resources.
Track your energy costs
Review your energy usage and understand how your business consumes energy. Free tools to track energy costs are:
- US EPA's Portfolio Manager Tool
Energy management tool used to track and assess energy and water consumption for all your buildings in a secure online environment. Helps set investment priorities, identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements, and receive EPA recognition for superior energy performance.
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's EnergyIQ Tool
Benchmarking tool to compare the energy performance of a non-residential building to your peer group. Provides general recommendations to save money and energy.
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that promotes energy efficient products and practices. Provides free, unbiased information and technical support to improve your company's financial performance by reducing energy waste and energy costs.
ENERGY STAR has specific information for various small business types:
- Auto Dealers
- Grocery & Convenience Stores
- Home Based Businesses
- Renters & Tenants
- Small and Medium Sized Manufacturers