Today everyone is looking to save energy. This is a win-win situation that provides you with money-saving solutions that are kinder to the environment. It is especially useful in business, where saving money can add to your bottom line and enhance your reputation as a business that cares.
However, there are many times when we make careless mistakes that end up costing valuable resources and money goes out the window. What’s even more frustrating is that often these mistakes are completely avoidable.
Knowing how to look out for them can make you aware of what to look out for and do your best to save energy. Keeping that in mind, here are 16 avoidable energy efficiency mistakes business owners make.
1. Not Making Energy Efficiency Upgrades
In the course of doing business, there are many times when we have the opportunity to make energy efficiency upgrades.
Many business owners simply find these upgrades too expensive and pass on them, not realising they are money-saving steps that will help reduce expenses in the long run.
Others think that small changes will not be important enough to matter. However, such changes really do add up and it’s important to get them done in a timely manner.
It may not be necessary to spend a bunch of money at a time to get these issues taken care of. However, it is a good idea to research to see what will be beneficial to you in the long run and what your immediate needs might be.
You can go from there to make the necessary changes.
2. Not Watching for Energy Star Ratings
The most efficient products will have a high Energy Star rating on the front of them.
You can find it on many different products from electronics to heating and cooling devices and service equipment.
The more stars on the rating that are coloured yellow, the more energy you will save by choosing them. The rating goes from 1 to 5, which is the highest.
3. Not Turning Off Lights When You Leave the Room
This may be one you’ve been hearing since you were a child and your mother would yell at you to turn off the lights when leaving a room. However, it is good advice that still rings true.
If a light bulb is on it is using electricity and costing you money. That’s why it is a good idea to make sure all lights are off before leaving the room.
Using natural daylight whenever possible can also help to cut down on costs.
4. Not Unplugging Electronics
It’s one thing to turn off electronics, but devices like printers, TVs and monitors can continue to suck power when not in use. This is because they go into standby mode, which allows them to turned back on quickly.
Did you know that 10% of your bill can come from your standby electricity?
That is why it is best to unplug items completely, making sure they are not using any power at all.
5. Not Upgrading Old Equipment
Many business owners are reluctant to upgrade to newer equipment because of the high upfront cost. However, newer items are often more energy efficient than older items.
They will also require less upkeep and maintenance. These are all factors that make upgrading a worthwhile investment.
It may be difficult for some business owners to afford equipment upgrades, especially if there are several pieces of equipment that need to be upgraded at a time. Therefore, it’s a good idea to prioritize what equipment replacements are most necessary and which will yield the best saving. Also, consider your budget and financing possibilities.
6. Not Using LED Light Bulbs
A lot of people are resistant to using LED light bulbs because they are more expensive than other light bulbs.
While these bulbs cost a whopping $100 when they first came on the market, they are now down to a more reasonable price of less than $10 a bulb. While this may still seem expensive to some, when you consider that these bulbs are 10 times more efficient and last 50 times longer than their incandescent counterparts, you can see that they are quite cost-effective. In fact, you can save over $150 a year using LED light bulbs alone.
7. Not Checking with Your Provider to Make Sure You Are Paying the Lowest Electricity Rates
Electricity rates fluctuate over the course of a year. It’s a good idea to talk to your energy provider every six months or so to see if you are eligible for any discounts or promotions.
Make sure you know the rate you are currently paying. This will appear on your bill as dollars per kilowatt ($/kWh).
If electricity rates have gone up, it may be a good idea to consult other electricity companies to see what they are charging. If your business is in one of the states where utilities have been deregulated, check the rates with independent suppliers for additional savings.
8. Using CRT Monitors Instead of LCD
If your facility is still using CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors on your computers, it may be time to upgrade to LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitors.
LCD monitors not only offer benefits like less eye strain, smaller size and improved image contrast, they are also kinder to the environment using half to two-thirds of the energy CRT monitors use. This will result in significant monthly savings.
9. Keeping Exterior Doors Open
Most people know to keep the door shut to keep warm or cool air in a room or building. This should also apply to loading bays and maintenance areas.
Keep a tight seal on the building so that interior temperature will remain constant and reduce the need for additional energy usage.
10. Not Using a Programmable Thermostat
With today’s technology, thermostats are now available that allow you to program them so that you can regulate your energy usage. You can take advantage of this feature by setting your thermostat to a reasonable temperature that it will automatically adjust to at times of the day when your building and offices are being occupied.
Recommended temperatures are 22-23 degrees during the hot summer months, and 26 degrees during winter.
When the building is not being occupied, the thermostat can go into energy saving mode allowing you to save on utilities.
11. Not Installing Occupancy Sensors
Occupancy sensors will detect motion so that lights are turned on only when someone is present in a room and shut down when the room is unoccupied.
Not only is this an effective way to lower energy usage, it also helps to increase the life of the light bulb and reduce costs overall.
12. Not Opting for Individual Metering
If you are in a multi-tenant complex, there is a possibility that your metering system is set up so that you are paying a percentage of the total energy used by the building.
This could mean you end up paying for a neighbour who is wasteful with electricity. To avoid this from happening, make sure you are using a sub-metering or individual metering system. This will ensure that you are paying for your own energy usage only.
13. Not Getting Energy Audits
An energy audit may sound like a scary thing, but the truth is, it can actually help you save money in the long run.
Regular auditing will help you discover additional ways to save and ensure your energy improvements are maintained throughout the year.
You can find a certified auditor to perform your inspection or do it yourself by finding a checklist online.
14. Not Updating Building Energy and Temperature Systems
Updated energy and temperature systems can help you manage energy consumption accurately and efficiently.
It can provide you with information that can help you save energy and money on your utility bills.
15. Not Taking Advantage of Deregulation
In a deregulated market, competition works to a customer’s advantage. Here, business owners can compare rates, services and contract terms to find a plan that best suits their needs.
If you are living in a state with energy deregulation, it is advisable to keep checking the rates and plans being offered by your utility company as well as other utility companies in your area. This way, you can be sure you have a plan that is best suited to your needs.
16. Not Going Solar
While the upfront cost of solar may be daunting, the truth is that solar power is the cheapest form of energy in the world. In fact, in most states electricity produced by your solar system will cost half that of grid power.
It’s a smart investment and a valuable asset to your home. If you choose the right system for your needs and have it installed by an experienced installation team, it will help to reduce your bills for the next 25 years.
If you are a business owner, you need to save money wherever you can. Cutting down on energy usage is cost effective and environmentally friendly move that can pay off substantially.
Think about both the little and big things you can do in your business to save on your utility bills and increase your bottom line.
If you want to see how much solar or battery storage could save you over the next 5 years, then take our solar saving calculator quiz below!
Or talk to an Instyle Solar expert about the best solutions for home energy storage or PV-panels.
Otherwise, head back to the solar blog to find even more great educational content.
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