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Energy is one of the highest costs of doing business. By thoroughly reviewing how your business uses power, there are several key ways in which to improve efficiency and optimize significant savings. Even quick, small adjustments can lead to substantial reductions in your electric bill right away and in the future. As a bonus, these strategies are all environmentally friendly, too.
While some of these solutions are ideal for businesses in the facilities planning and design stages, there are plenty of simple, straightforward, common-sense ways to conserve energy in all industries at any stage of development. By investing in energy-saving now, you will strategically position your company to continue enjoying these savings well into the future.
Key Energy Saving Ideas for Industries
There are three fundamental steps to creating a viable, sustainable energy management plan: evaluate, maximize, and upgrade. Within each of these stages, we’ve included some of the best energy-saving tips for business owners.
Evaluate Energy Cost
The first step to cutting your electric costs is awareness. Only when you understand how your business uses electricity can you increase efficiency and secure savings.
Conduct an energy audit:
To understand how you use the electricity that you consume, consider an energy audit. Most utility providers offer free audits to their commercial customers. The review will identify peak consumption times and give you some information to develop your energy management strategy. Use this audit as a basis to begin designing your energy-saving plan.
Additional Read: A Responsible Approach Towards Energy Savings
Create an energy management team:
Tap a representative from each department to help develop and enforce an energy management strategy. Have these representatives brainstorm innovative energy-saving solutions with other members of their department. Some of the most practical ideas will come from the individuals who are in the trenches, closest to the machinery.
With a cohesive plan in place, you can incentivize cooperation with bonuses correlated to energy savings. Continue to monitor the consumption of your facilities to make sure that you continue on the right track.
Strategically schedule machinery use:
Your energy audit will show you how and when you use the most energy. If possible, stagger your production to reduce peak usage and minimize demand charges. Schedule time equipment changeovers and employ power control devices. Set computers to hibernate after periods of inactivity or when they are not scheduled to be in use. Stagger equipment startups to reduce the peak load drawn on the production floor after a planned shutdown.
Turn off the lights:
This is one of the simplest things that you can do right away. Add automated timers so that rooms are lit, and machines operate only when they are in use. For areas that are not continuously occupied, install motion sensors so that lights or equipment only turn on when needed. For appliances that aren’t in constant use, unplug them as they continue to draw small amounts of energy when plugged in, even while not in use.
Clean and maintain your equipment:
Incorporate equipment cleaning and maintenance on an optimal schedule. Cycle maintenance to spread your peak usage, lower your demand, and keep your machines efficiently running so that they require less energy and last longer.
Upgrade To Green Technology
Conduct an HVAC system audit:
Heating and cooling buildings are one of the single most costly undertakings of any business, often 20-40% of monthly energy usage. Making minor adjustments can yield a huge difference. Use a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperature. Adjusting the stable temperature even one degree above or below what you typically set it will return significant savings. Consider investing in insulation so that your facilities better retain heat or cold.
Replace aging HVAC equipment. Newer systems are more efficient, and will soon pay for themselves in energy savings. Check your air compressors. Inefficient compressors are a common culprit for wasted energy, costing the US over $3 billion each year due to leaks and sub-optimal operating pressure. Seal airlines and have them inspected frequently.
Switch out your lightbulbs:
Replace your old fluorescent or incandescent lighting fixtures with LED bulbs and lamps. LED bulbs use about 25% of the energy required of a standard lightbulb. Additionally, they tend to last five to ten times, even 50 times longer than a regular bulb. Retrofitting these new bulbs into existing fixtures will save money and allow for the conversion to be completed quickly, with virtually no downtime. Replacing just one standard 60-watt bulb that’s used for 10 hours a day will save a business up to $1 each month. Those savings continue to add up over the long lives of these bulbs.
Upgrading to greener machinery:
Since equipment use consumes a lot of energy, operating the most efficient machinery will translate into energy savings. Look for Energy Star (or similar) rated appliances that can accomplish more than your current machinery using less power. Over time, these upgrades pay for themselves with the reductions in demand and energy required to operate.
Switching to renewable energy:
Renewable energy sources, like wind or solar power, can save you quite a bit over time. Consider investing in solar generating equipment, perhaps by installing solar panels on the roof of your facility. The initial investment may be partially offset by any number of federal, state, or local programs, including several available tax breaks in place to encourage the adoption of alternative energy sources.
Switching to solar power will instantly reduce your peak demand, saving you money on your standard utility bill. If you are able to generate more energy than you use, you can often sell it back to your local utility at a profit. Together, these savings make the conversion process quite attractive and significantly reduce the initial barriers that most businesses encounter as they consider alternative energy sources.
Use nature to your advantage:
Use daylight to light indoor spaces when possible. If the airflow is available, open a door and let that air-cool your space. Plant trees to filter light and keep cooling costs down by shielding the building. Install shades and screens to keep areas cooler and help your employees naturally regulate indoor temperatures.
Your energy management team should consistently monitor your energy usage and work to improve continuously. By consistently evaluating what works and keeping up with what does, you will maintain the benefits of investing in energy-saving techniques and technologies. Paying attention to these patterns allows you to leverage the momentum gained and keep saving even more energy. This top of mind approach towards managing energy costs will put your business in a secure, stable, and competitive position as far as energy usage and savings are concerned.
Why Energy Saving Is Important For Any Business
Energy saving is essential for many reasons, chief among them:
- Energy saving is excellent for your bottom line. Understanding how and where the power that you use is spent helps you to reign in production costs and remain competitive. As one of the most significant expenses, this can make or break your budget.
- Energy-saving maximizes efficiency. A thorough evaluation of how you use energy will allow you to optimize and allocate all of your resources efficiently. Successfully taking advantage of these energy-saving modalities means that your equipment will function optimally, and you will wisely allocate all of your resources.
- Energy saving is good for the environment. Greener practices reduce your associated carbon emissions and show good stewardship.
A Qualified Energy Consultant Can Help
As part of your energy management strategy, consider enlisting the services of a qualified energy consultant, like Verde Solutions. We have extensive partnerships in place with over 120 utility providers across the United States, and years of experience with helping commercial and industrial clients save money on their energy expenses.
Verde Solutions can help you evaluate your current usage and pinpoint ways that you may be able to save money by reducing demand or coordinating your energy use with local markets. If you are considering the purchase of new technology to realize savings from more efficient energy use, we can help you navigate the myriad lighting rebates and solar tax credits.
Additional Read: Understand Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC)
Taking a look at all of the energy-saving options available will easily save you money and help to guide your future approach to keeping these costs in check. These solutions range from immediate to long term, inexpensive to capital intensive, and your best solution will likely be a mix of several types of strategies.
Together, Verde Solutions can assist you in successfully utilizing all of the tools at your disposal as you work to craft a practical, sustainable energy strategy that will save you money by saving energy, right away, and in the future. Leverage our knowledge of the industry to shave hundreds or even thousands off of your electricity bill and position you securely for the future.