Lowering energy usage should be a priority for any business, both for the financial benefits that a leaner approach to energy can provide and for the immense benefits that reduced energy usage can have for the environment.
While all businesses are different, there are some shared features of all businesses that can be modified to reduce energy usage. These eight tips will help you reduce energy consumption for your retail store, modern office, or production center.
1. Old building? Install new air conditioning
If your business is based in an aging office building, you could be spending far more than you need to on an inefficient, overly expensive air conditioning system. Talk to your building manager and learn when your HVAC was installed, and whether it’s a good idea to replace it and improve energy efficiency.
2. Run a factory? Consider insulated skylights
Since factories are often made up of large interior spaces uninterrupted by corridors or office cubicles, they’re remarkably easy to illuminate using natural light. Consider installing skylights – preferably insulated or filtered ones, to limit heat transfer – for simple daylighting and reduced energy bills.
3. Replace outdated electrical equipment
Printers, computer monitors, photocopiers, and other electronic gadgets are often best replaced relatively early in their lifespan. As computer technology is growing more and more powerful at such a rapid rate, it’s often best to buy new computer technology every 2-3 years to reap the energy efficiency benefits.
4. Use energy-efficient artificial lighting
Although daylighting is the best choice for energy-efficient illumination, not every building can benefit from skylights and large windows. If your building depends on artificial lighting, consider switching from older light bulbs to more efficient high-performance interior lighting.
5. Look for easy daylighting opportunities
Some parts of your building may be begging for a skylight or window. If you can see a wall or ceiling space that would be the perfect location for a skylight, talk to your daylighting contractor and consider installing UV-filtered skylights or windows to capture as much natural light as possible.
6. Install automatic lighting in storage closets and unused rooms
Fluorescent lights installed in storage closets and unused rooms can turn into an expensive resource drain. Since employees will often set lights and forget about them, it’s worth installing an automatic on/off switch in rarely-used rooms that switches lights on or off based on human movement.
7. Focus on switching off (and unplugging) electronic devices
Switching your computer to ‘sleep’ mode at the end of the day will do very little to your energy consumption. Even turning it off – provided it’s still plugged in – may not even stop it from drawing a charge. Make sure you turn off and unplug most of your office’s electronic devices before a weekend or public holiday.
8. Sunny day? Turn off the lights
If your office or retail store is adequately lit naturally, there’s often very little need for additional lighting. During peak sunlight hours, try switching off your artificial lighting and working using far healthier – and more productive – natural light.