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Saving Energy at Your Business

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You can cut your energy costs for your business by 30 percent with just a few simple changes, Energy Star reports. Startups and small businesses have a more manageable task, since they can start from the beginning to enforce behaviors and practices that save energy. Large businesses can also have an impact with some planning and by slowly rolling out energy-saving changes, which quickly add up for more profits for your business.

October 1, 2013

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Assess Your Situation

To save energy, conduct a thorough evaluation of your energy use. Look at your electric bill, and understand where all the charges are coming from. If noted on the bill, when are the peak use times? When are the lulls?

Walk around the business, and make a note of everything that is plugged into an electrical outlet or power strip. Indicate whether the item is constantly being used, such as a network server; used on demand, such as a printer; or rarely used, such as a DVD burner.

Look for coffee pots, electric pencil sharpeners, vending machines and other electrical equipment that you may not think of right away as office equipment. Note the location, and again, how often they are used. Also make note of personal devices you find plugged in versus company-provided devices.

Note the different types of lights in the office. Which ones are turned on all of the time? What lights are necessary, and which ones are redundant? Again, note any personal lights that have been brought into the office.

Make Plans to Save Energy

With your information, begin drafting an energy-saving plan. Remember these two points to be successful with your plan:

  • The sooner you start, the sooner you will begin seeing the cost savings.
  • No action is too small to have an impact. A dozen small steps can have a bigger impact than one large one.

Take Action

The Small Business Administration lists lighting as a key part of an energy plan. Some of their suggestions include:

  • Put lights on timers or motion sensors
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL lights
  • Replace old fluorescent bulbs with newer electronic ballast tubes

Plug those energy leaks. For example, www.SaveOnEnergy.com reminds you many electronic devices continue to draw power even when turned off. From your study of your office, identify those items that can be unplugged when not being used. A fax machine that gets used two or three times a week is a good candidate.

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Vending machines draw a lot of energy. If your office is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., does the vending machine really need to be plugged in overnight?

Adjust the thermostats up two degrees in summer and down two degrees in winter. Have an HVAC specialist tune your system, and make sure the thermostats are accurate. Installing shades or blinds on windows may reduce your cooling expenses in the summer.

Make sure unnecessary computer equipment is turned off overnight and on the weekends. People should turn off their own devices before leaving for the day.

Evaluate and Repeat

Start with some small steps, and measure their effectiveness. Announce your success to the company to create some confidence and backing for further steps.

In what ways has your business cut down on energy costs? Share them in the comments.

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