It can become even more difficult when you consider the different types of costs you’ll run into when you’re starting up. Employee salaries, benefits, products, rental space and much more – all of these factors can impact your budget and will have to be taken into consideration when you’re creating and running your business. However, something many people don’t consider is the cost of energy and efficiency when you’re operating. Electricity, hydro, water and gas can be costly as well especially if you’re working long days or have a wealth of these different energies throughout the week. In order to reduce costs in your business when it comes to energy, there are a variety of different factors you need to consider. By assessing the needs of your employees and your customers when it comes to providing quality and standard energy, you’ll be able to make a plan that helps you cut costs where you need it the most.
Some essential tips come from the way you are already choosing to operate. Ask yourself this list of questions and consider the answers you come up with; many people are surprised that what they do on a day-to-day basis for their business can actually have a great influence over their energy costs. Energy Audits and Online Calculators
For many businesses, the best way to begin saving energy is to get help from experts. Many utility companies provide free or low-cost personalized evaluations of how your particular business can implement cost-saving energy reductions. Often, this process involves an onsite visit to your business and a detailed evaluation of your energy needs, usage, and ways to save.
You can also take advantage of the many energy saving calculators that are available online. Plug in information about your business, and get specific suggestions for saving energy — including an estimate of the up-front costs of implementing changes and how much money those changes could save you over time.
Use Technology to Reduce Energy Costs
Businesses can also take advantage of new technology to reduce energy costs. For example, web cameras and accompanying software can allow companies to hold virtual meetings — instead of driving or flying to meet clients or colleagues in distant offices.
Technology also allows business owners to create innovative and flexible work arrangements for employees. For example, by allowing two employees to work from home on alternate days, you can save money on overhead and equipment by having those employees split the use of an office, computer, and phone.
Educate Your Employees
Don’t forget to educate your employees about energy saving policies you would like to implement in your business. Hold a meeting to discuss your expectations for reducing energy and waste, provide all employees with written guidelines on office policies, and invite employee ideas on how to further cut energy costs. If you approach the issue with the right attitude, most employees are more than happy to help the business and the environment.
If you plan to build out a new space or a new building for your business, put energy conservation on your list of priorities. Investing in green technologies may be more expensive at the outset, but saves money in the long run. Examples of green building include:
• using thicker drywall to prevent heating and cooling loss
• installing skylights
• using a low energy lighting system
• installing solar panels
• installing a water collection system that redirects drain water to landscaping, and
• purchasing low energy appliances.
While total energy management is very complex, there are some relatively simple strategies that can reduce your company’s energy consumption, lower costs, and advance your conservation goals.
Lighting: Energy efficient lighting is an easy way to lower energy bills. When installing or replacing commercial lights, consider the location, conditions, and lighting quality desired. Choose appropriate energy-efficient lamp technology, controls, and other components for a high performance lighting system, the most efficient one being the day lighting solutions that use direct sun light.
• Replace incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent lighting indoors and outdoors. CFL is almost four times as efficient as incandescent bulbs and lasts about 12 times longer
• Replace the conventional lighting with delighting equipment and power controlled day lighting.
• For outdoor lights, use a timer or photocell so they turn off automatically during the daylight hours
• For indoor lights, adjust lighting levels to your needs with three-way lamps, dimmer switches for overhead lights, and task lighting
• Use 4-foot fluorescent fixtures with T5 or T8 lights with reflective backing on the fixture and electronic ballasts
• Take advantage of natural light by placing work areas near windows
• Install occupancy sensors, so lights go off automatically in unoccupied rooms
savings ideas and strategies – optimizing energy use and costs minimizes overhead and operation costs.
Idea behind daylighting:
There are several key principles to designing or modifying a home for effective daylighting:
- Base your daylighting decisions on utility, not aesthetics. The sizes and locations of windows should be based on the cardinal directions instead of how they make your house look from the street.
- South-facing windows are best for quality daylighting and for moderating seasonal temperatures. South-facing windows allow the most winter sunlight into the home but little direct sunlight during the summer, which limits heat gain during warm months while increasing heat gain during cold months.
- North-facing windows are best for admitting relatively even sunlight and producing little glare. They also do the best job of limiting unwanted solar heat gain during hot summer months.
- East- and west-facing windows are the least effective choices when it comes to daylighting. While they provide quality light in the morning and evening, they also allow significant solar heat gain during warm months and contribute little to solar heating during cold months.
Daylighting can save you big bucks off monthly electric bills
It’s one thing to say that daylighting can save you money by lowering your electric bills, but it’s another thing to be able to prove it. That’s why the Energy Center of Wisconsin conducted an experiment on daylighting at the Energy Resource Station in Ankeny, Iowa.
The experiment measured commercial energy use in two different buildings— one that incorporated daylighting principles (the test building) and one that didn’t (the control building). The experiment simulated three different seasons summer, fall and winter — and found that daylighting produced significant annual savings per
square foot in the test building:
Lighting Savings: 32 Percent. Annual lighting costs were 15 cents per square foot in the test building, compared with 22 cents per square foot in the control building.
Cooling Savings: 25 Percent . Annual cooling costs were 14 cents per square foot in the test building, compared with 19 cents per square foot in the control building.
Heating Savings: -1 Percent. The only recorded energy increase in the experiment was with heating costs, but, at -1 percent, was easily overshadowed by decreases in the other categories. Annual heating costs were 6.1 cents per square foot in the test building, compared with 6 cents per square foot in the control building.
Total Savings: 22 Percent
Although many electric customers don’t pay demand charges, in which electric companies charge more for electric use during peak demand, the demonstrated lighting and cooling savings achieved through proper daylighting are significant enough that business owners should consider incorporating day lighting principles in new facility construction or as a office improvement project.
Tubular skylights can also save energy and money by reducing electricity use. They direct sunlight from the roof into the home through a highly reflective tube that fits between the rafters and ceiling joists. The reflective tube guides the sunlight to a diffuser lens at the ceiling level, which spreads light evenly throughout a room.
Tubular skylights are usually cheaper and easier to install than regular skylights. Also, unlike regular skylights, they do not cause condensation or ultraviolet damage to carpets and furniture.