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Energy Saving Tips for your Business during Cold Weather
  • 08 January 2019
  • Rebecca Delaney

Energy Saving Tips for your Business during Cold Weather

As some parts of the country settle into the cold, dark days of winter, small business owners need to keep an eye on the weather — not only to help predict sales trends and inventory needs, but also to project when their energy bills may spike. As the temperature drops and the sun sets earlier, follow these energy saving tips to help keep those energy bills manageable this winter season and to make your business more environmentally friendly.

Schedule an Energy Audit

Contact your local electric company and ask if they conduct free energy audits for customers — most companies typically do. Someone will visit your small business or home and examine your space for inadequate insulation; leaky walls, windows or eaves; inefficient appliances if you have any; and any inefficiencies in the building's furnace and water heater. Typically, the professional will find some area where you can improve and provide you with energy saving tips and ways to increase your business's energy efficiency.

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Install Programmable Thermostats

Your office does not need to be 70 degrees when you and your staff are at home for the night. Purchase a programmable thermostat and schedule it to start heating up your office around 30 minutes before you and your team typically arrive in the morning. Then set the thermostat to go down when you leave for the night.

Staying late to finish a project? You can always override the thermostat to make sure you and your employees do not freeze while you are burning the midnight oil. Experts recommend setting the thermostat to between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit when you are gone, and 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit during business hours.

Turn off Computers and Printers

Before you leave for the night, be sure to turn off your machines, and encourage your staff to do so as well. Plug computers, printers, monitors, coffee machines and other appliances into power strip surge protectors so you can easily flip the switch on the outlet to turn them off.

When machines are plugged in but not turned on, they still draw power from the outlet, which is called "phantom energy". One study estimated that a desktop computer used on average 2.4 watts per hour when it was turned off but still plugged in. A computer monitor uses 1.2 watts and a modem uses 1.5 watts. This energy usage can add up on your monthly electric bill!

Switch out Your Light Bulbs

In some areas the sun starts to set around 4 p.m. Your electric bill will most likely shoot up if your business is located in one of these regions. Energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs will help you save on your next bill. LED bulbs last around 15 to 20 years, while an incandescent bulb only lasts for about one year.

If possible, consider replacing lights in conference rooms, break rooms or offices with lighting occupancy sensors that turn off when someone is not in the room and turn back on when someone enters. These sensors are an effective way to save on your electric bill if you have rooms that are only used from time to time.

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Get Staff Involved

Ask for volunteers to become part of an energy committee for your small business. Some employees may be passionate about resource conservation and have energy saving tips they use in their homes that they can share. Hold a contest for the best energy-saving idea from your staff. The more you can inspire your team to buy into your small business energy savings plan, the more results you will see this winter.

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