Energy efficiency can not only improve your organization’s energy output, reducing its negative impact on the environment, but it can also save a significant amount of money. But despite the importance of energy efficiency and all the resources available to help organizations improve energy output, many businesses are still operating inefficiently.
According to Energy Star, there were 5.6 million commercial buildings and 346,000 industrial facilities in the US at the end of 2015. 30 percent of that space was used inefficiently or unnecessarily, and the annual energy cost totaled $400 billion. Can you imagine how much more productive those businesses could have been if they had been able to spend that money on projects or operations, instead of putting it towards energy use?
Reducing your organization’s energy output can be easier than you might think. There are several things you can do to cut down on energy consumption, give back to the environment, and put money back in your pocket.
1. Make a company-wide goal.
Your employees play a vital role in everyday operations, and they’ll be a vital part of your energy saving efforts as well. If everyone is not on board, it will be difficult to have the effect you want. Call a meeting and let employees know about your efforts to improve your energy output, what you plan to do to make that happen, and how they can help, then set goals together.
2. Adopt an “if it’s not in use, shut it off” policy.
Running appliances and equipment can take up a lot of energy. According to the US Energy Information Administration, computers and office equipment can contribute as much as 8 percent to your energy consumption, lighting up to 10 percent, and space heaters a whopping 25 percent. Shutting off any equipment that’s not in use is a great way to conserve energy and reduce your organization’s consumption.
3. Swap incandescent for CFLs or LEDs.
If you haven’t already, one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to improve your organization’s energy output is to exchange old light bulbs for CFLs or LEDs. New light bulbs could save you up to 90 percent of energy given off as heat in traditional light bulbs and save you a significant amount of money.
4. Replace your windows.
If you’ve ever stood by an old window, you know just how much air it can let in (or out). Old windows could be the main culprit behind your expensive heating and cooling bills. If they’re not sealed properly, they can also cause damage and issues like mold by letting moisture into the building. According to Energy Star, new windows could save you somewhere between $27 and $456 a year.
5. Refresh the insulation.
Over time, insulation can deteriorate, become contaminated, and become much less effective. This could mean your heating and cooling bills are going through the roof—exactly where the insulation should be. Installing new insulation could drop your costs and save money in the long run.
6. Upgrade your equipment.
Newer equipment is designed to run more efficiently than older models, so if you’re using old computers, have an old fridge in the breakroom, still run an old copier, or have any other outdated equipment around the office, you could be spending way more on energy than you need to be. Upgrading equipment can be costly up-front, but it’s worth it in the long-run. Newer equipment will not only conserve energy but will boost morale since everyone likes to work with nice, upgraded technology.
7. Upgrade your software.
While your software may not necessarily be energy inefficient itself, upgraded software does have the ability to help run your equipment more efficiently. DCIM software, for example, can manage your data center no matter where you are, controlling settings to reduce energy costs.
8. Consider alternative power sources.
Solar power is much more common and available these days and is a great alternative power source. There are even programs available to help commercial building owners get solar panels installed and start giving back.
9. Upgrade the building’s HVAC systems.
Just like old appliances can suck energy, so can outdated HVAC systems. Replacing the system could save you a lot of money while still letting you keep the building at a comfortable temperature for employees no matter what time of year.
10. Make the building smart.
Similar to upgrading software, installing smart devices to make your building smart can help you control energy consumption and reduce your organization’s output. Smart devices let you control lights, temperature, and more no matter where you are, so after everyone has left for the day, you can shut everything down—even if you’ve already left the office.
Your organization’s energy output could be costing you a lot of money. By implementing even small changes like new light bulbs and an “if it’s not in use, turn it off” policy, you can not only save yourself a lot of money but make steps toward being more green overall.