Power play: 8 innovative strategies for business owners to slash energy expenses.
The average office space could use some major upgrades to slash energy expenses. U.S. buildings utilize a lot of power, and its expenditure is not financially or environmentally sustainable.
Fortunately, business owners have many resources to reduce energy usage, saving money and improving sustainability in the process. These eight innovative strategies are great places to start.
- Change the Workforce’s Daily Habits
Changing your employees’ day-to-day actions is the most impactful adjustment your business can make. Behaviors that reduce energy consumption will lead to massive savings in the long run. Here are just a handful of habits that you can instill in your workforce:
- Do routine energy audits on PCs and other personal devices.
- Unplug electronics when they’re not being used.
- Use paper products only when necessary.
- Turn off the lights when leaving the room.
- Crack a window instead of blasting the A/C.
- Use power management features such as dark or low-power mode on electronics.
According to the Department of Energy, frequent audits can save as much as 30% on your monthly bill. The other initiatives might not make a huge impact on their own, but they can lead to massive savings when added together. It all starts with slightly adjusting your workforce’s power consumption habits.
- Upgrade Your Office Appliances
Switching to energy-efficient appliances is another simple adjustment your business can make. Focus your search on products with EnergyStar certifications and a proven track record. These particular items will give you the most bang for your buck in a commercial setting:
- CFL and LED lightbulbs
- Computer monitors
- Ceiling fans
- HVAC system
- Refrigerators and freezers
You can also invest in miscellaneous energy-saving products such as solar-powered chargers for electronics, power strips and water filters. Any device that can make a dent in your office’s expenditure is worth a closer look.
- Consider Adding Solar Energy
Solar energy has boomed in popularity in residential and commercial applications. It’s the most reliable alternative power source available, providing clean electricity through photovoltaic panels that absorb sunlight.
Installing solar panels on your business’s property is an expensive project. It should take just three or four years to get a full return on your investment if you keep them in good condition. Plus, if your company ever decides to relocate, you will find it easier to sell the property because panels are attractive features on the housing market.
Hopping on the solar energy bandwagon also comes with some impressive benefits. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act includes a 30% tax credit for property owners who add panels to their buildings before 2032. This makes the installation costs much more reasonable and a no-brainer.
- Optimize Your HVAC Systems
Temperature control is a crucial but often overlooked part of energy consumption. If your building’s temperature constantly fluctuates, the HVAC system has to expend more energy to stabilize the climate. It’s also well-known that employees like to change the thermostat based on personal preferences, which can increase costs even more.
Business owners must establish a reasonable temperature and keep it stable. Don’t let employees mess around with the thermostat anymore. Instead, get a SMART version that automatically monitors and stabilizes the indoor climate. This device can save up to $180 a year if used properly.
You can also add a natural solution to optimize your business’s climate control — plants. They are Earth’s organic air purifiers, removing many harmful pollutants, including carbon dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They will lighten the load on your ventilation system and consume less energy.
- Upgrade Your Windows
Upgrading the windows is another great way to moderate your business’s indoor climate. Installing energy-efficient windows and relying more on natural light can save an average of 12% on energy bills and improve company productivity. Employees much prefer working under natural daylight than artificial lighting.
However, too much sunlight can cause temperatures to climb. Windows should be double-paned so they can effectively insulate the cool air. You should also add aluminum sunshades outside the windows to moderate the natural lighting. These simple additions can reduce solar heat gain by 65% on south- and west-facing windows.
New windows can make your business cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, significantly reducing the strain on your HVAC system and leading to massive energy savings.
- Prioritize Roof and Ceiling Maintenance
Your business’s roof and ceiling are also critical areas that stabilize the indoor climate. Energy-efficient windows and HVAC systems are important, but you should prioritize the building’s infrastructure. Keeping the roofing materials and ceiling insulation in good shape will make adapting to seasonal weather changes much easier without using more power.
If your property is due for a roof replacement, consider adding tiles that reflect sunlight and prevent the layers underneath from overheating. Reflective paint also reduces heat absorption and energy consumption. Some energy-efficient insulation options, such as closed-cell spray foam, can contribute to your sustainability efforts.
- Implement a Water Recycling System
Reducing energy consumption from electronic devices is essential, but you must also focus on water usage. Your business should implement its own water recycling system to become more self-sufficient and less wasteful.
Your existing plumbing system filters all water, regardless of its use. That means energy is needlessly wasted on filtering water for landscaping and flushing toilets. A recycling system would only filter what’s needed for necessary applications, reducing energy usage.
These systems have simple functions, capturing rainwater and snowmelt for purification and sending the finished product back into the building’s plumbing. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that recycled water can satisfy up to 50% of the building’s needs and slash bills in half.
- Invest in Energy Management Software
If your business is growing fast and you’re having a hard time tracking power expenses, then it’s time to invest in energy management software and get a helping hand. This online resource will pinpoint your organization’s most wasteful consumption habits and give real-time updates on specific items, such as your computer monitors and HVAC system. It will show you exactly where to make changes to lower your output and costs.
You must make the suggested adjustments to reduce consumption after the energy management software identifies areas needing attention. It simplifies the day-to-day analytics, allowing you to focus on the bigger picture and implement effective long-term changes.
Think Outside the Box to Slash Energy Expenses
Sometimes you need to think outside the box regarding sustainable business practices. These innovative ideas will help you use less energy on a short- and long-term basis.
You’ll be on your way to significant energy savings if your employees buy into their new daily habits and your building upgrade projects go smoothly.