Conserving Energy in a Business Environment
Businesses are always looking for ways to save on the bottom line, and energy conservation can help reduce operating costs. By using several of the following measures, you can save from 10 to 50 percent on your energy expenses, according to the Department of Energy.
Also, if you need more assistance on your energy-efficiency needs, Omaha Public Power District can provide technical guidance and energy audits, plus energy credits for customers who install high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.
Here are some quick tips to save on energy costs:
- Adjust thermostats. Turn up the thermostat a few degrees in the summer and down a few degrees in the winter. A one-degree increase in the summer can save 3 to 5 percent of the energy used for cooling. Consider installing programmable thermostats or energy management systems. These devices can help optimize your building's heating and cooling needs.
- Close the blinds. If the windows in your building have blinds or curtains, keep them closed to block any direct sunlight in the summer and open in the winter to provide warmth.
- Lower the lights. Dim or turn off any unnecessary lighting when not in use. Utilize area lighting so you don't have to light an entire room.
- Use energy-efficient lighting. Compact fluorescent light bulbs and other efficient lighting technologies save energy and money.
- Buy energy-efficient Energy Star labeled equipment. Most office equipment wastes energy if it is idle. When replacing equipment, purchase computers, copiers, and other office equipment with built-in power-management features that can greatly reduce energy use by switching to low-energy modes when idle.
- Turn off machines and equipment when not needed. In many businesses, this can achieve big savings.
- Shade the windows and building walls. Landscaping can improve a building's energy performance. Trees and shrubs can provide shading or a wind block. If appropriate, awnings also will provide shade.
- Reduce hot water temperature. Turn the thermostat on the hot water heater to 120 degrees.
- Replace furnace/air-conditioning filters regularly. Replacing the filter on schedule can save money by reducing the amount of electricity needed to run a blower motor.
- Install automatic room-lighting controls. These devices will decrease lighting expenses by automatically turning lights off or on, depending on occupancy.
- Keep outside doors closed as much as possible. You also may want to install a protective entry to assist in keeping out the heat and cold.
- Insulation levels. Take time to check building insulation levels. A properly insulated building reduces energy usage and energy dollars both winter and summer.
- Seal Air Leaks. Uncontrolled air leakage can cause significant additional heating and cooling expenses.
- Repaint with light colors. Light colors reflect light and radiant energy, lowering air-conditioning loads.
- Encourage employees to be energy-conscious. Employees can be a big asset when it comes to energy-efficiency efforts as simple as shutting off desk lights and other office equipment.
For additional information, visit Energy Star.gov (Buildings & Plants) or, call OPPD's Customer Sales & Service at (402) 636-3536.