Here’s a checklist of energy-saving measures that cost little or nothing and will return big savings on your energy bills. They are easy to implement, whether you own or rent your work space.
- Turn lights, computers, and other equipment off when they are not in use. Let workers know that you appreciate their help in this effort. Computers often have an energy-saver mode, but workers sometimes disable it. Consider adding automatic controls, too, such as programmable thermostats, timers, and occupancy sensors. A programmable thermostat can cut heating and cooling costs by a third, compared to a building that does not use energy-saving settings.
- Share your enthusiasm for saving energy with workers and customers. Post energy-saving tips for workers, and reward them for useful suggestions.
- Regularly change or clean filters in heating, ventilating, and cooling (HVAC) equipment. During peak heating or cooling season, change or clean filters monthly. Youll also enjoy the cleaner air.
- Have a contractor clean and tune your HVAC system annually. This will increase operating efficiency and may prevent costly emergency repairs.
- Use fans whenever possible. Ceiling fans, which gently move room air, add comfort and save energy. According to Energy Star, you can raise summer air conditioning temperatures by 3 to 5 degrees with no loss of comfort if you add ceiling fans. Every degree raised on the thermostat typically saves about 3 percent on cooling costs.
- When replacing lights, use compact fluorescent lamps in place of incandescent bulbs, and use lower wattage fluorescent tubes in place of old fluorescent tubes. Compact fluorescent lamps last up to 10 times longer and use a fraction of the energy compared to incandescent bulbs.
- If you have exit signs, switch to new light-emitting diode (LED) signs. They pay for themselves through energy savings in three years of less.
- Control direct sunlight through windows. In summer, block it, suing blinds, screens, film, or outdoor awnings, vines, and trees. In cold weather, reverse your thinking. As long as you control glare, the sun can bring welcome warmth in winter.
- Perform basic weatherization. This includes repairing holes and cracks that let in drafts and weather-stripping or caulking around doors and windows. It also includes plugging leaks and fixing gaps in insulation on ducts and pipes.
- Save water to save energy. Water-saving measures, from fixing leaky faucets and toilets to adding water-saving showerheads and aerators, will pay you back on your water bills, and by saving hot water on energy bills.
And one more tip: remember to think about energy when you shop for any new equipment, lighting, or building renovations. The easiest approach is to look for the Energy Star label.
Energy Star is a program co-sponsored by the EPA and numerous business partners to help promote energy-wise purchasing decisions. The program started in 1992. Today, it saves consumers more than $14 billion per year, based on the energy savings represented by Energy Star purchases in over 50 product categories. In general, Energy Star products use about one-third less energy than comparable standard products. Energy Star also saves consumers in terms of avoided pollution and avoided greenhouse gas emissions. Check out the Web site www.EnergyStar.gov to find useful advice on buying lighting, HVAC equipment, computers, copy machines, printers, and dozens more products that you need for your business.