Like clockwork, utility bills drop unwanted news on your desk on a monthly basis. Communications bills, supply bills, and energy bills all amount to a big chunk out of the bottom line of your business - and a smart businessman will look for effective ways to trim away some of that spending.
Here are ten simple and effective ways to trim away some of your energy costs.
Get a free energy audit from your utility company. Many electric companies offer a free energy audit program to ensure that you’re using your energy efficiently. Call them up and see if they can send someone over to help you identify ways to trim your energy spending.
Replace burned-out bulbs with energy efficient ones. The more energy efficient the bulb, the better. If you use a single bulb for ten hours a day, reducing that bulb from a 60 watt to an 18 watt energy efficient bulb will save you $1.30 each month. Multiply that out to an entire year and by all of the bulbs in your business and you’re talking about some serious savings.
Invest in a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature of your workplace during the hours where no one is working. A single night or two of savings from not having an air conditioning unit run all night when no one is around can pay for the thermostat - anything beyond that is pure savings.
Establish energy efficient standard practices. Make sure that the “closing up shop for the day” routine involves turning off as much equipment as possible, turning off the lights, and so on. The more energy efficient tasks you can include in such a routine, the more you’ll save.
Invest more up-front in more energy efficient items in the workplace. An energy-efficient microwave might cost you more now, but over years of use, it’ll save you money. The same goes for virtually any piece of equipment you might have - spend a little more now to save a substantial amount over the long haul.
Air seal your business. Many business lose substantial portions of their heating and cooling costs to small drafts that aren’t even noticed by the employees. A careful air sealing of the work environment, however, can eliminate those drafts, keeping the expensive heat or cool air where it should be.
Schedule your computers to hibernate during evenings and weekends. Most businesses shut down their non-essential computers overnight to save money. And, just as often, someone forgets to turn theirs off. Make the turn-off automatic - or, better yet, use hibernate mode to reduce the chances of lost work due to an unexpected powering down.
Use efficient power strips for your electronic devices. The coffee pot and radio and television in the break room might seem like great morale boosters, but they’re also energy vampires, slowly stealing your energy bill even in the evenings when they’re not in use. Put all these devices on a single power strip with a switch, then make it part of the standard closing procedure to flip that switch and keep the energy vampires from eating your money.
Look into tax breaks for energy efficiency for your business. During the “green rush” of 2007, many states passed laws that provide tax breaks to big businesses for energy efficient initiatives. Many of these laws also apply to small businesses. Ask around and research the rules in your state. It might just be that installing an Energy Star appliance might just net you a bonus next April 15.
Reduce your paper usage. This might seem like a surprising way to reduce energy, but consider it for a moment. The less paper you use, the less you use the printer and the less energy - like car fuel - you have to spend getting paper and printer supplies. Often, clever usage savings in other areas can have a positive impact on your energy use.
The reward for all this work? Every month, your energy bill is a lot lighter, making the standard upkeep of your business that much easier and your profit margin that much bigger.