Be sure to properly prepare your business for any type of cold weather. Here are some tips on saving on energy costs in the winter and throughout the year:
- Lower your thermostat during off hours: The number one way businesses waste money in the cold months is by heating unoccupied space. By setting thermostats to a comfortable temperature during working hours, and setting your heat lower during “off” hours, you can significantly reduce your energy bill.
- Although you can switch temperature settings by hand, a programmable thermostat can be set to return temperatures to normal before your employees arrive, and adjust the heat back down after the building is vacated. A programmable thermostat will also help reduce cooling bills during the summer.
- To conserve energy and reduce interior temperatures, turn off computers, monitors, printers, copiers and other heat-producing technologies during non-business hours.
- Take advantage of off-peak hours. Energy is the most expensive during the peak hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and if you have equipment that requires a lot of energy, try to switch the use of your equipment, or operate it during off-peak hours. This may require a little more planning on your part, but it can reward you with substantial savings.
- Replace air filters and tune up systems. Regular maintenance of your HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) system not only keeps your systems operating at peak efficiency, which reduces energy bills, but it can also uncover small problems before they become expensive or dangerous. Consider setting up a schedule and reminders to regularly replace filters. This not only keeps internal parts clean but ensures that a dirty filter doesn’t stop airflow. This increases energy efficiency and provides cleaner air.
- Use free energy from the sun and minimize heat escape. Take advantage of natural light and heat. Open blinds to let the sunlight in during the day, especially if your building has southern and/or western sun exposure. This allows sunlight to naturally light and heat your business.
- To make sure the heat stays where you need it, make sure to seal leaky windows and doors, keep exterior and freight doors closed as much as possible, and consider installing strip doors to limit heat loss. If possible, replace worn doors or windows and recaulk as needed.
- Reduce or replace inefficient, outdated or excessive lighting within your building.
- Install lighting sensors that automatically turn lights on or off, depending on occupancy. These sensors work well in areas such as conference rooms, break rooms or individual offices that are not occupied continuously.
Small, inexpensive changes can really add up! These changes here generally don’t require much money or effort, but can pay off with real savings as you use energy in a smarter way.