October is National Energy Action Month, and with winter just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to implement new strategies to save energy and cut costs. But we all know it’s not as easy as that – with occupant needs to consider and the seemingly ever-increasing price of energy, setting aggressive reduction goals and seeing them through to the subsequent savings can be an uphill battle.
Nothing helps an initiative get off the ground like some easy victories, so the Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council has shared 8 tips (including some you can do to save money today) that can help your energy-reduction efforts score big on the electricity bill.
1) Use programmable thermostats (properly)
Programmable thermostats offer the dual benefit of not only allowing for a quick way to reduce heating and cooling costs, but also the convenience of not having to constantly worry whether the temperature is appropriate. A properly-installed programmable thermostat allows you to program set points that allow you to reduce energy use when your facility is unoccupied but maintain comfort by the time you re-open.
2) Implement lighting changes
You probably know that LEDs and CFLs can offer significant savings over incandescent bulbs, but an area of lighting that often goes overlooked is exit signage – since they’re always on, make sure your exit signs are as efficient as possible. Occupant sensors are another quick fix that can help reduce lighting costs, as well as checking for rebates that may be available from your utility provider.
3) Turn off computers and other equipment at the end of the day
Be sure to remind occupants to turn off their computers, printer, and copiers at the end of every work day, ideally have them un-plugged as well. An easy way to maintain this consistency is through the use of power strips that can simply be turned off, making it as simple as a button-push for occupants who may balk at the idea of having to un-plug and re-attach their equipment every day.
4) Form an employee green team
Don’t underestimate the value of your occupants. If you want your energy-reduction initiative to get off the ground, you’ll need their support and participation. An employee green team is a great way to help keep everyone responsible for saving energy.
5) Check interiors and exteriors for damage
You can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s there, so make building audits or walkthroughs a priority. Make sure to look for insulation issues with the roof, ceilings, doors, and windows. Any cracks or gaps can let air into the building, which diminishes energy performance.
6) Find underperforming equipment (and replace it)
During your regular building audits, take a look at your equipment to make sure it’s functioning as well as it can. Any inefficient equipment should be replaced, and be sure to look for ENERGY STAR models if possible to ensure any new equipment is as efficient as possible.
7) Benchmark your energy performance
Use a tool like the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark your facility’s performance and find the right incentives to help implement improvements. Your building may even qualify for ENERGY STAR certification if your efficiency performance is good enough.
8) Join or start a local green business council
Green business councils give companies a great resource to help identify sustainability strategies, share success stories, and identify ways to maximize available resources.