In Part 1 of our two part energy saving tips series, we covered ways to save money on residential energy use. There are also many ways to save money on energy use in businesses too! Obviously, commercial savings can be quite significant. Here are some ways to save on commercial energy use that we find very interesting. If you own a business, you probably already know to set the thermostat to a reasonable temperature that isn’t warmer or cooler than needed. You probably already understand the cost savings of LED lights. So, let’s touch on some of the more unique tips we’ve come across.
Control Direct Sunlight
Don’t ever underestimate how effective it is to control direct sunlight using window blinds. When it’s cold outside, you can make sure that you don’t use blinds on southern facing windows. Blinds aren’t simply for blocking glare or reducing light. They help control temperature. So, don’t block that direct warmth from entering your building, warming surfaces and floors with blinds in the winter. Likewise, when it’s hot, block the direct heat! In the morning, make sure your blinds are in use on the windows on the east side of the building. In the afternoon, make sure your blinds are in use on the windows on the west side of the building. There are even solar-powered blinds that self-adjust too!
EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is free. It’s an interactive energy management tool. It lets you track and assess energy and water consumption across your portfolio. So, if you have multiple buildings you own or manage, you can use it to identify under-performing buildings, determine where efficiency upgrades are needed most and more. You can even use it to verify that efficiency improvements worked!
Have A Casual Dress Code
While we understand this isn’t always possible, loosening dress code requirements can help keep energy costs in two ways. When your employees are more comfortable because they are wearing clothing that will keep their individual comfort level in check they will be less likely to try to undermine your cost saving efforts. You might even consider letting them know that you would like to work as a team to reduce energy use and that you feel it will be easier for them to commit to this team goal if they are allowed to dress more casually. You can then set the thermostat to a temperature that might otherwise be seen as too hot or too cool, because your employees will be able to adjust their clothing in turn.
Consider Going Solar
Solar power can offset the amount of electricity you have to buy from the power company. The more solar arrays you have, the more you will be able to protect yourself from rising costs and regulatory changes that will affect your profits. In some cases, there may be no upfront costs to adding or switching to solar energy. And right now, there is still a federal tax credit available for solar systems installed at businesses. This tax credit has been extended. So, you can still earn a 30 percent federal tax credit through 2019. After that, the tax credit will reduce incrementally through 2021.
“While the U.S. is expected to continue its slowdown in the earlier part of 2019, the year-end deadline for the 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Projects that have already procured 5% of their components will be eligible for the higher rate. In 2020 the ITC will drop to 26% and subsequently 22% in 2021,” John Parnell wrote in Forbes.
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