Spring is in the air! In the Province of Ontario that means one sure thing – another hike in your hydro rate is right around the corner. Frustrating as it is, the best way to fight against higher bills is to increase the energy efficiency of your business. Let’s take a look at a few tips on how to cut your energy consumption to become even greener.
Spring is a good time to have any rooftop HVAC units serviced. Having your mechanical company perform a semi-annual service check will keep the unit running at peak efficiency. Old worn belts, clogged filters, worn out motors and leaks in the Air Conditioning system all contribute to inefficiency and higher energy usage. On top of semi-annual service, arrange for quarterly filter replacement. Clean filters provide better work place air quality and will lower your heating/cooling operating costs by allowing your HVAC system to operate efficiently.
One of the best ways to cut energy consumption is to turn off all electronic equipment when it is not in use. Electronic equipment can be an energy killer. One of the best ways to cut energy consumption is to turn off all electronic equipment when it is not in use. Put together a plan to ensure that all electronic equipment is turned off every night and on weekends and holidays. These savings will add up quickly. If you have a piece of equipment that is only occasionally used keep it turned off until needed.
Computers can silently chew through energy. Encourage all staff to set their computers to sleep mode after 10 minutes of non-use or to turn off monitors when the computer isn’t in use. Discourage screen savers as these continue to consume energy while the computer isn’t in use. Make sure all fully charged laptops are unplugged. AC adapters draw power continuously, even when the laptop is fully charged. Plugging the AC power cord into a power bar, with an on off switch, allows you to quickly turn off the power bar and save energy. As a side note, all AC adapters should be unplugged once the equipment is fully charged – this goes for cell phone chargers too!
While we’re on the subject of computers, if you need new computers consider laptops. Laptops consume less energy than desktops and also offer the portability function to your staff. Make sure to always look for computers that are Energy Star rated. This means they have been third party tested to meet efficiency standards. In fact, no matter what equipment you’re purchasing always make sure it is Energy Star approved for efficiency.
It is estimated that by setting your air conditioning 3 degrees higher you will save around 10% on your cooling costs.Once it’s time to start the air conditioning consider setting it for a higher temperature and using fans to move the air around. It has been proven that a combination of a higher temperature and fans will provide the same comfort level while reducing energy consumption. It is estimated that by setting your air conditioning 3 degrees higher you will save around 10% on your cooling costs. When you are cooling your business make sure all windows and doors remain closed (this includes the loading dock), open doors lead higher energy consumption. Programmable thermostats also help reduce energy consumption during the times when your business is unoccupied.
Change your lighting to energy efficient LED lighting (okay, you knew this one was coming!). Not only will LED lighting consume less energy, while providing better light, they will cut down on air conditioning costs too. For instance, if a furniture store is open for 70 hours a week and uses 200 125 watt halogen PAR 38s to light their store, they would save over $1000 a year, on their air conditioning costs, by switching to 200 15 watt LED PAR 38s.
Remember, it’s the cumulative effect of many efforts that will lead to a reduction in your energy consumption and a reduction in your hydro bill. Think green, after all Spring is here!