With tax time upon us, you’ve probably spent the past several weeks or months ripping your hair out over the money your business puts into regular expenses. You’ll never be able to run your company without paying employees, buying advertising, manufacturing products and maintaining large outreach campaigns. With the economy mired in a recession for several years now, consumers have been very careful with their spending. Even if you’ve got the best products in the industry they may go another direction, simply due to price. You can’t lower your prices unless you cut your expenses, and one of the best areas to target is your energy usage. Trimming energy costs improves the environment over the long term, but also saves you precious dollars each and every month you can repurpose for more pressing needs. Here are five ways to cut down on energy costs in the workplace.
First of all, have an intern or a lower level employee look over all of your lighting fixtures. What sort of bulbs are you using? Explore the differences between incandescent bulbs and the more sustainable LED and CFL alternatives, and the reasoning will clarify. Switching out your bulbs for these other options will extend the life of each fixture, and require significantly less energy each month. You’ll pay a bit more for the bulbs, but the difference in your yearly energy costs will be pretty sizable.
Now you should turn your attention to your appliances. The larger your business, the more appliances you’ll have working for you. And older devices always use far more energy. Look for options that are Energy Star certified, and you’ll trim your utility bill significantly. There are Energy Star versions of all the most popular keyboards, computers and monitors. And if you have a full kitchen in the office, you’ll be able to take advantage with your choice of dishwashers and refrigerators as well. The initial investment will be significant, but it will give back for years to come.
You should also make sure that all of your lighting systems are plugged into dimmers and smart timers. Technology has evolved by leaps and bounds in the past few years, and these options exist to conserve natural resources and buffer your budget. Put all desk lights on a dimmer, and your employees will automatically use less energy. Your general lighting, both interior and exterior can also be put on timers or motion sensors, insuring you aren’t burning precious energy all night long when it is totally unnecessary.
Now that the cold winter months are in the past, it’s a great time to have your HVAC system serviced and upgraded. Old, poorly maintained heating and cooling systems burn through energy and blow up your electric bill. Sometimes a simple cleaning job can make a huge difference. Sometimes you can upgrade to Energy Star hardware, or have a digital thermostat installed to cut down on your off-hours usage. Remember that more than half of your annual energy bill is spent on cooling and heating your office. So any savings here will be substantial.
Finally, don’t forget to shut off electronics when not in use. It used to be common practice to leave the lights and computers on all night, whether anyone was in the office or not. That’s simply not sustainable anymore. You can purchase high end surge protectors that preserve systems that must always have power (such as your computer hard drives), while fully shutting down everything else. Monitors, printers, scanners and other devices left on ‘standby’ still burn energy. And that simple difference will save you hundreds of dollars a year. Don’t believe it? See what Businessenergy.com has to say about it, and you’ll surely change your tune.