Nobody likes having to pay bills, but energy bills are to be expected on a fairly regular basis.
As a business owner, it’s important to stay on top of energy consumption and find ways to keeping bills to a minimum.
Apart from the obvious reduction in spending, you also give a little helping hand to the environment when opting for energy saving methods.
Commercial facilities are notorious for incurring substantial energy bills, especially if the premises are large and have several lights, machines, HVAC systems and other mission critical equipment running for several hours a day or even around the clock.
However there are some ways to save energy in a commercial facility that are well worth exploring.
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Conduct an Energy Audit
It’s a good idea to start off by conducting a thorough energy audit.
This is an exercise that you can do in-house or alternatively, have a professional consultant carry out.
The aim is to determine how much energy is being used in your premises and more specifically, where it is being used.
Firstly, past energy bills will be reviewed to see your total energy consumption.
Then a professional or qualified individual will check each and every piece of equipment, machinery, lighting unit, and anything else in your premises that uses energy to ascertain which are most likely responsible for demanding the highest levels of energy consumption.
Chances are that some of them may be considerably old and their running costs are proving to be high, when compared to recent alternatives currently available on the market.
So it might be more practical to replace them for more modern and energy efficient options.
Energy audits will give you a clear idea of where you stand and where you can make improvements
The following are some of the most common areas that you could work on:
Insulation is responsible to how effectively you can maintain an acceptable temperature in your building, without unnecessarily wasting energy on heating or cooling systems.
There may be times when your existing insulation is ineffective and may need repair or replacing to be more effective in sealing air leaks to maintaining comfortable temperatures inside of your premises .
This would ultimately result in long term savings on your air conditioning or heating bills.
Operational efficiency of your HVAC system is of utmost importance if you want to save money on your energy bills.
An inspection of air conditioning and heating units should be carried out by a professional.
Many problems could be present in such units, and with minor repairs, replacement part, or even just a good servicing, you will be able to notice a huge difference in their operational efficiency and running costs.
Dusty vents and dirty HVAC ducts are a common problem, for instance.
Air conditioning coils should also be cleaned on a regular basis, and air filters should be changed regularly as well.
Another common mistake is to block vents and registers with drapes, rugs, furniture or machines.
Upgrading and maintaining your HVAC system is of critical importance to reduce your premises’ energy costs.
You might be surprised to learn that around a half of your commercial premises energy consumption will account for at least half of your energy bill.
In some cases, a complete replacement of the old fashioned HVAC system may be a good idea.
But as this may be too costly and outside of your current budgetary limitations, you could at least start making HVAC upgrades from time to time until you have a more modern and energy efficient HVAC system within a few years’ time.
Regular improvements and upgrades will undoubtedly make a huge difference.
Some items to start off with may include installing a smart thermostat, and retrofitting energy saving elements.
As noted earlier, regular HVAC maintenance can never be underestimated.
It is a common mistake to neglect heating and cooling systems maintenance, but it will make such a big difference to your bills long term if you put a preventative maintenance schedule in place.
All it takes is a call to an HVAC technician, and they can schedule in regular checks to clean coils, change air filters, and check refrigerant levels.
Just consider how many lights are switched on continuously throughout the day in your commercial premises.
The more offices, shops and corridors there are, the more lights are involved.
You need to make sure that you have energy efficient lighting options installed, otherwise this will result in considerable lighting costs.
Old incandescent bulbs are a big no no nowadays, especially now that the more energy efficient LED lights have become so popular.
Whilst LED lighting will require an initial investment to replace all the old lamps, they will ultimately give somewhere in the region of 75% savings on operating costs long term.
Appliances & Equipment
Depending on the type of commercial premises, the number and types of electrical appliances is going to vary.
For example, vending machines tend to use up a considerable amount of energy.
So make sure that you consider if their energy usage is ultimately justified compared to the money earned from them.
A kitchen area is very common in most commercial premises.
Consider whether the fridge and any other appliances installed are efficient in terms of energy ratings, or if it would be more feasible to replace them for newer models.
Apart from putting the above mentioned tips into practice, it is also very important to establish a work culture at your business premises where energy saving methods become the norm for all employees.
Trying to instil this way of thinking in your employees and work culture could make a huge difference.
For instance, employees should be encouraged to shut down computers or all equipment at the end of each work day.
Switching off lights in unused rooms or areas which is also important.
Every little bit helps, and in time you should be able to save energy as well as money in your commercial premises.