By Kerry Cooper
While energy consumption does not traditionally reach the forefront of a business owner’s spending radar, cutting back on the amount of energy your business uses is a surefire way to save money. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to reduce your energy costs:
Smart Saving Tip #1: Temperature control
Monitor your thermostat manually or opt for a programmable one, available at most hardware stores for $20-$75. Be sure to lower the thermostat when your business is closed, and time it to go on before you arrive so your office is warm when you get there. Each degree lowered on the thermostat in the winter and raised in the summer can save between two and five percent on annual heating bills.
Smart Saving Tip #2: Power down electronics
Make sure computers, monitors, televisions, printers, lamps, and other electronics are not drawing power when they are plugged in by using either a smart power strip or unplugging the devices. Up to 75 percent of electricity is consumed when equipment is not in use, but still plugged in. Considering the extent to which businesses rely on technology, this practice can lead to substantial savings.
Smart Saving Tip #3: Run an energy-efficient kitchen
Appliances in the kitchen can make a difference too. Provide a microwave for energy-friendly heating and unplug the microwave when not in use. If you have a dishwasher, encourage your employees to consolidate dishes for dishwasher loads. Also, using a dishwasher to clean dishes and utensils is more energy efficient than hand washing.
Smart Saving Tip #4: Light bright
Replace incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs cost 75 percent less to operate and last 10 times longer. Plug seasonal or promotional electronics into smart, time-controlled power strips. Smart power strips make cutting energy consumption a no-brainer, providing great cost efficiencies during the busier times of the year.
Smart Saving Tip #5: Shop around for a lower electricity rate
Small businesses can lower their monthly energy bills by up to 32 percent just by switching suppliers. In many states, businesses have the opportunity to buy electricity from competitive electricity suppliers. Check out fixed-rate options to lock in savings on energy bills.
“Found money” is a coveted concept for any small business owner. Following these simple tips is not only a way to unlock annual savings, it’s also a generally better way to operate a responsible business.