Winter Energy Saving Tips

Winter is here, and that means increasing energy costs. The return of an El Niño weather pattern will have a significant influence on the winter season this year. Mild air will linger in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic before cold weather takes hold in January and February. Some Northeast cities will notice a significant temperature dip compared to last year.

If you’re a Northeast based business, you remember the Polar Vortex in 2015 and Winter Storm Jonas in early 2016 and the hefty energy bills that came along with those events. It pays to think ahead and apply some energy-saving tips for your business this winter, before the cold weather really settles in.

Turn off unused equipment
Turning off machinery, computers and lighting at night can reduce energy costs. While this may seem pretty obvious, you’d be surprised how much energy all those computers, monitors, printers and other equipment consume while sitting unused but left on. By making sure they’re in “sleep mode” or turned off completely overnight, you won’t be paying for electricity you’re not using. Businesses should appoint an employee to take a quick tour of the office at the end of each day and flip the OFF switch on idle equipment. If space heaters are in use, it’s a good idea to make sure those are unplugged as well.

Use motion detectors and automatic dimmers that adjust to your needs
Believe it or not, lighting accounts for almost 20% of electricity used in U.S. commercial buildings. So being just a bit smarter about when, where and how you use the lighting in your building can add up to big savings. Consider installing motion detectors in hallways, meeting spaces and other places where “always-on” isn’t always needed—along with automatic dimming controllers that measure and adjust to the light levels you actually need.

Take advantage of natural sunlight
Open the blinds around your workspaces to make the best use of daylight—and take advantage of skylights or other natural light sources to reduce your lighting needs during daytime hours. It’s also worthwhile to see if there are areas of your office that are overly lit and remove lighting that may not be necessary.

Compact fluorescent light (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs
This is one place where saving a little bit in a lot of places can really add up. Replacing a single 60-watt bulb with an 18-watt energy-efficient bulb that’s on for 10 hours a day can easily save a business $1 or more each month. Multiply that out to an entire year—and by the hundreds (if not thousands) of bulbs in your business—and we’re talking some serious savings. Energy-efficient bulbs aren’t just a smart way to lower your electric bill in the short term. Their extended service life will help you save in the long-term, too. Energy Star LED light bulbs not only use at least 75% less energy, they can last 50 times longer than the average incandescent, or up to 20 years.

If your business or office currently uses T12 fluorescent lights, consider switching to T8 lamps and electronic ballasts. The switch could reduce your office lighting energy consumption by up to 35 percent.

Install programmable thermostats
A programmable thermostat gives you the power to automatically adjust the temperature of your workplace when no one’s there (e.g., most nights, weekends and holidays). Set yours to turn the heat on 30 minutes before people arrive and shut off 30 to 60 minutes before they leave. During the cooler weather periods, set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees.

Keep the heat in with screens, film and weather-stripping
While you may think the draft from your conference room window isn’t a big deal, it is actually money and energy seeping out of the building. But it is an easy a fix. Add or replace weather-stripping, caulk or foam around your windows and doors to save energy.

Energy-efficient office equipment
Be sure to look for the Energy Star logo, when it comes time to buy new office equipment. Energy Star-labeled computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, scanners and copiers run much more efficiently and automatically power down during extended inactivity. That gives you the chance to save 50% or more in energy use on these devices.

Get an energy audit.
We can help you get a free energy audit for your business. The audit can help you determine where your money is going every month, how to increase energy efficiency and where you can make adjustments to lower your electric bill.

Contact us today to find out more.

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