Outlined below are seven basic steps that businesses can take to reduce energy consumption and lower energy bills.
1. Commercial Lighting Rebate
Commercial Lighting can account for 40-60% of a business's energy costs. The lighting rebate is an incentive to install energy efficient lighting to help reduce energy conservation.
2. Schedule a Commercial Energy Audit
Our Energy Analyst will survey your business to identify your energy consumption and suggest practical improvements for saving money. Beaches Energy will pay 1/2 the cost of your commercial energy audit. Call 904-247-6241 for scheduling and cost.
3. Track Your Energy Costs
Take time to review energy usage and understand how your business consumes energy.
4. Pay Attention to How You Use Energy
You and your employees can do a lot to save money simply by turning things off when they are not in use. Keep up routine maintenance. By maintaining and cleaning equipment, you can ensure the safe and efficient operation of your energy-consuming systems and appliances.
5. Troubleshoot Problem Areas
If you suspect equipment is malfunctioning, running too long, or not operating properly, get it fixed quickly. Install more efficient equipment.
6. Invest in Systems or Appliances With High Energy-Efficiency Ratings.
New equipment and appliances offer opportunities for improved energy efficiency. If there is an added cost for high-efficiency equipment, be sure to factor in savings from lower energy operating costs over the life of the appliance.
7. Change Energy Usage Behavior
Some of the fastest and easiest ways to save money typically cost little or nothing. Turning off lights, computers and other office equipment when not in use and especially overnight and on weekends can reduce energy costs significantly.
8. Routine Maintenance
Maintenance of energy-consuming equipment is critical to ensuring optimum energy efficiency. Many maintenance items do not require specialized training and can be done yourself.
Advancements in fluorescent and LED lighting technology allow lighting projects to show a return on investment in two to three years. Replacing lighting that was installed as recently as five years ago can offer considerable energy savings. Fixture design and layout are very important for optimizing the efficiency of a lighting system. In addition, motion sensors which turn out the lights when the areas are unoccupied should be considered.
High-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems offer considerable energy savings over the lifetime of the equipment. Adding whole building control systems, coupled with variable speed fans and occupancy sensors can increase the efficiency of both existing and new equipment.
ENERGY STAR-certified office equipment-from computers and monitors to printers and copiers-help to eliminate wasted energy. ENERGY STAR-certified products use 30 to 75 percent less electricity than standard equipment. When not in use, these products can automatically enter a low-power mode.
The ENERGY STAR program was created in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an attempt to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by power plants. It began as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient computers. It has since expanded to major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics and other products. The label can also be found on some new homes and commercial and industrial buildings. The ENERGY STAR program adopted new, tighter standards in 2007. Over the next five years, the EPA estimates that these products will save Americans almost $5 billion.
Ideas for Investing in High-Efficiency Equipment
- Install automatic, programmable thermostats to control both heating and cooling. Most offer flexible options that enable you to change setting for different days of the week, weekends and holidays.
- Install occupancy sensors in hallways, bathrooms, meeting rooms, kitchens, storage rooms and other areas where lights can be shut off for blocks of time.
- Install photocells in outdoor entry ways and security lighting to automatically sense outdoor lighting levels that turn on and off automatically.
- Install light-emitting diode (LED) exit signs in place of incandescent signs. LED signs last up to 15 times longer and use much less energy.
- When changing interior lighting, use energy-efficient fluorescent T-8 or T-5 lamps with electronic ballasts.
- If you lease equipment, insist on energy-efficient models to lower your operating costs.
Low Cost / No Cost Ideas for Commercial Customers
- Turn off lights, computers and other office equipment when they are not in use. Have a procedure to ensure these items are switched off overnight and on weekends. Consider installing reminder labels or motion sensors to turn off lights automatically.
- Lower your heater thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting when your business is occupied. Set the temperature back further when the business is unoccupied.
- In warmer months, raise your air conditioner thermostat to the highest comfortable setting. There should be at least five degrees Fahrenheit between heating and cooling set points.
- Set back or turn off heating or air conditioning a little while before the end of your operating hours. Remember to maintain some heating in winter to prevent pipes from freezing and in summer to maintain some cooling to prevent mold.
- Let the sunshine warm your office during colder months by opening drapes or blinds. Close them at night to retain heat.
- Remember to turn off outside safety and security lighting at the start of each day. Alternatively, you can install light sensors on your lighting system that will automatically turn it on at dusk and off at dawn.
- Keep doors and windows closed to prevent heat loss during winter or loss of cool air in summer. However, you may wish to keep doors and windows open to provide ventilation, instead of using air conditioning in milder months.
- Check to be sure all automatic controls are set and operating correctly.
- Clean all filters in your heating and cooling system monthly.
- Check and regularly clean filters if you use exhaust fans.
- Caulk or weather-strip any drafty doors or windows.
- Remove unneeded light bulbs or use lower wattage bulbs.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with screw-in energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFLs) as appropriate.
- Lower your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees.
- Adjust outdoor lighting timer controls to accommodate daylight savings time changes, or install photocells to adjust automatically to changes in seasons.
- T8 and T5 (5/8-inch diameter) fluorescent tubes (1-inch diameter) last longer than the older T12 lamps. You do not need to replace them as frequently as T12’s. When you do replace them, be sure to buy case-lots from lighting supply companies to save money.
- LED lighting technology has replacements for T12 lamps that eliminate the need for a ballast. Over the life of the LED lamp, your savings can be substantial.
- Regularly clean and maintain food refrigeration equipment where applicable. This includes cleaning the coils behind or under the refrigerator and the seals to the doors.
At home you can reduce your energy costs by using these same low cost / no cost ideas.