LOW AND NO COST WAYS TO REDUCE ENERGY USAGE & COSTS
People always ask us how they can reduce energy usage and cost without disrupting day-to-day operations and productivity. This is understandable since energy is generally one of the top expense line items in a typical business budget. As sustainability becomes increasingly more important to end users, executives are also exploring ways to reduce their company’s carbon footprint. Could it be possible to achieve both without spending a small fortune and leveraging your balance sheet? In many cases the answer is a resounding YES!
America is generally more wasteful and less efficient when it comes to energy usage. I often scratch my head and ponder how can it be that the greatest nation on the planet is light years behind the rest of the world in sustainable energy technologies? Actually, the answer is quite simple. While many of our clients complain about the cost of energy; our energy unit cost has been and continues to be a fraction of what our European & Asian counterparts pay. In most cases, the US economy has not yet reached its pain threshold in regards to energy costs to spur a massive investment in sustainable technologies.
But as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, it is possible to reduce energy usage and cost without impacting operational productivity, product quality and profitability. This will require some simple behavioral adjustments and self-discipline.
Here are a handful of rather simple ways to better control and reduce energy usage and cost:
- More efficient use of lighting
There is no doubt that your employees need to be able to see in order to work. That doesn’t mean that every light within your organization needs to be switched on at all times. Cutting back on the amount of lighting that is being used is the simplest and most effective way to reduce energy expenses. Identify the areas of your offices, warehouses, and plants that don’t require constant lighting. Switching the lights off in these locations except on an as-needed basis, or installing motion-sensors will make a measurable difference in your monthly electric bills. You can save even more money by opening up window blinds and taking advantage of free, natural sunlight during daylight hours.
2. More efficient heating & cooling
Heating, cooling, and ventilation costs are another major expense for businesses. There are ways to intelligently scale down your heating and cooling energy usage without significantly effecting occupant comfort. Believe it or not, there are always certain areas within a building that simply don’t require as much heating or cooling as others. Simply closing the vents or switching to a zoning system can allows you to control where energy is being used, thus shaving down your monthly bills. For example, during the winter months, the southern side of a building will not require as much heating during the daylight hours as the sun provides free thermal energy. This also works in reverse; during the summer, installing shades or awnings can greatly reduce the cost of cooling.
Taking a proactive approach to the operation of a HVAC system based on the weather forecast can help your HVAC systems to run more efficiently and effectively. This reduces both usage and costs during the higher cost peak usage hours of operation. When the forecast is for an extremely hot and or humid day, set the thermostat lower than usual at the beginning of the day to precool the building. Raising the temperature in the early afternoon will reduce the electric demand during the more expensive peak hours resulting in measurably lower cooling costs. This will also reduce the strain and wear & tear on your HVAC system. In the event that you need to run the AC again during the day, turn the system on and off manually, as it will use less energy than keeping the thermostat on “auto.”
3. Kill Energy Vampires
Just because an electronic appliance is turned off doesn’t mean that it isn’t still sucking energy. “Energy Vampires” will continue to consume energy as long as they are plugged into an outlet. This includes phone chargers, computers, copiers, manufacturing machines, etc. Plugging devices into a power strip provides the ability to cut off power to the main strip at the end of the day eliminating the sucking of precious power during the off hours. In addition, a quality power strip will protect equipment against possible damage from a power surge.
Although every business uses energy differently, in many cases it’s the simplest measures that go the longest way to reduce energy usage and cost. These simple tips will provide a starting point, however, there are many other ways to reduce usage and cost, and become more sustainable. Reach out to the NJGEC experts today at 973-287-7797 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how a holistic energy management plan can help maximize the value of every penny spent on your company’s energy budget.