Tips on being more energy efficient, saving money, and being more environmentally friendly as a business.
As climate change threatens the planet, businesses must do their part to reverse the tide.
If you run a small business, there are many ways to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Not only will you help the planet, but you should be able to put a little “green” back in your pocket.
Tips for forging a greener path forward include:
Purchase Energy-Efficient Computers
Computers dominate today’s workplaces. Unfortunately, all those glowing screens suck up a lot of energy.
You can reduce your footprint by purchasing laptop computers instead of desktop units. Laptops use 80 percent less energy than desktops, according to some estimates.
Also, look for computers that the federal government has certified with the label Energy Star. The government says such computers use 30 to 65 percent less energy than computers without the designation.
The government estimates that if all computers sold in the U.S. met such requirements, it could save as much as $1 billion annually, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a level equivalent to the emissions from 1.4 million vehicles.
Other products that can save you money when they have the Energy Star label include:
- Ceiling fans
Carefully Program The Thermostat
Heating or cooling your home when nobody is there wastes money, and the same is true for offices. Make sure your thermostat is programed so that when the work day is done, you drop the temperature in the winter and raise it during the summer.
Also, consider tweaking the temperature by a degree or two during the weekday. Chances are good that workers won’t notice the change, and over time, you can save a lot of cash.
The Environmental Protection Agency also recommends installing a programable thermostat that “can turn on the HVAC one hour before arrival instead of heating or cooling unoccupied space.”
Worried that workers will grumble if you raise the temperature too much during the summer months? Install fans to keep conditions more comfortable.
The EPA reminds business owners that flowing air can make a modestly higher temperature and humidity level feel comfortable. Fans can help delay or reduce the need for air conditioning.
“A temperature setting of as much as 3 to 5 degrees higher can feel just as comfortable with fans, and each degree of higher temperature can save about 3 percent on cooling costs,” the EPA says.
The EPA says this can be accomplished with something as simple as a box fan in a window, or a big “whole facility” fan in the attic.
Switch To Energy-Efficient Bulbs
Keep lighting costs low by replacing traditional incandescent lightbulbs with halogen incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs).
Such bulbs use up to 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and last up to 25 times as long, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The savings can be substantial too. Replacing five incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs can save a homeowner $75 a year. Multiply those savings across all the bulbs used in your place of business, and watch the savings soar.
Take Care Of The Outside Of Your Business
Energy savings actually begin outside the office walls. If you own the building that houses your small business, consider some landscaping options that can drive energy costs down.
Planting trees can help keep out the hot sun in the summer and block cold winds in the winter. Trees help shade your facility and clean the surrounding air. “Interior curtains or drapes can help, but it’s best to prevent the summer heat from getting past the glass and inside,” according to the EPA.
Also, consider adding other weather-blocking features, such as:
- Solar screens and solar films
- Other vegetation
‘Tighten Up’ The Building
Some small DIY fixes can make a big difference in your heating and cooling bills. Look for gaps around doors and window frames. When you find them, seal with caulk, spray foam and insulative batting.
Replace older weather stripping that is missing, hard or cracked. A handy rule of thumb: If you can see daylight under an exterior door, it probably needs a door sweep to help fill the gap.
Schedule An Energy Audit
Struggling to think of ways to save energy? Bring in an expert.
An energy auditor can give your place of business the once over and find ways to save that you might miss. For example, an auditor can find places where air is leaking, or suggest ways to improve how your building is insulated.
Many utility companies offer these services for free.
All of these steps can help you shave money off your monthly energy bill while also allowing your business to do its part to protect the planet.
If you are looking to save money in your business costs, contact a Talus Pay representative to discuss your options.