Small business owners are always looking for ways to make sure overhead costs don't eat into profits. Electricity usage is one of the most common overhead costs for businesses. We've outlined some of the best ways you can reduce your business energy usage and save on your business electricity bill.
1. Conduct a business energy audit.
Do you know how much energy your business is using on a monthly basis?
If you’re responsible for paying your business's utility bills, you probably do! In fact, that monthly energy bill may provide valuable insights for lowering your electricity costs. For instance, you may learn about your business's average energy usage, how much you're getting charged for time-of-use rates (i.e. peak, mid-peak, and off-peak rates), if you're ever exceeding your expected usage level (kWh per month), and if your business is subject to demand charges or any other less obvious surcharges or fees.
All of this info could potentially help you form a plan for smarter energy use. If you'd like to take it a step further, you could even hire an energy efficiency consultant for your small business, though we recommend trying tips #2, #3, and #4 first before making that decision.
2. Re-evaluate your HVAC habits, ASAP.
When it comes to residential energy use, heating and cooling is the biggest factor pushing up your energy bill, accounting for roughly 46% of energy use. It may or may not be the biggest drain on your business electricity bill, depending on the specific machinery your business may use, but that doesn't mean a more strategic, more effective use of your heating and cooling systems couldn't cut your electricity bill down by a lot.
For starters, make sure you're using your thermostats programmable settings to crank down the heat or A/C when employees or customers aren't in your business. Additionally, weatherproof your establishment so that hot or cold outdoor air is staying outdoors, and the comfortable indoor air is staying indoors. Seal your heating and cooling ducts. Change your HVAC's air filters every three months. Runs fans in conjunction with your air conditioner to make it more efficient.
If your business's HVAC system is decades old, consider asking an HVAC technician to evaluate whether it would be cost-effective to upgrade to a new system, as newer ones can be 30% more effective than HVAC systems from the 1970s. And while that HVAC technician is there, ask them for any advice to lower your business's HVAC-related energy usage. Many HVAC companies offer free consultations if you're in the market for a new HVAC system.
3. Set energy-efficient policies for your employees.
Little wastes can add up to big costs. To that end, make smart energy use a part of your employee onboarding or a section in your employee handbook. If your business includes numerous laptops or desktops, tablets, smartphones, printers, copiers or other common office equipment, make sure employees agree to put on a more energy-efficient sleep mode or completely power down at the end of the work day.
On that same note, be wary of energy waste due to "phantom power." Phantom power can be an invisible, but substantial portion of your monthly energy costs. Also called “standby power,” phantom power refers to the electricity that is being wasted by devices that your employees leave plugged in but not actively being used. According to some estimates, it may account for as much as 25% of your energy bill. Power strips are a great tool for avoiding phantom power waste, as you can switch an entire power strip of with one flip of a switch. (Make sure all devices are properly powered down beforehand, however!)
4. Switch to a lower rate.
If your business operates in a state with energy choice, you can compare electricity rates and switch your electricity provider to lock in a lower price per kilowatt-hour. At ElectricityRates.com, we offer a handy Quote Request tool specifically for small business owners found at the top of this page. Or, if you prefer, you can call us directly to speak to a Small Business Energy Advisor. We'll help you educate you on the switching process and help you make the most informed decision possible.
Making smart energy use a pillar of your business plan.
Energy efficiency isn't just for eco-warriors. With energy costs getting more expensive all the time, smart energy use is a key component of any business plan.
By taking a bird's-eye view of your business's energy use, in particular how you heat and cool your workplace, as well as establishing an energy-mindful workplace culture, you could radically decrease one of your main business expenses. Plus, searching the market for a business electricity plant that offers a lower rate could also dramatically cut your business energy costs and free you up for greater profitability.