With energy always being a large part of the cost of doing business, it is in every small business owner’s interest to save on energy consumption.
Below is a list of some of the most common appliances and systems your business likely uses with recommendations on what you can do to lower your energy consumption while increasing operational efficiency.
As the Department of Energy states, switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut energy bills. Simply changing energy-zapping incandescent bulbs in your facility to more efficient, LED alternatives can save you as much as 75 percent in energy consumption.
What’s more, LED bulbs can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, reducing maintenance costs and allowing your business to save even more.
Since the turn of the century, refrigerators have witnessed huge energy-efficiency boosts. In fact, a new refrigerator certified by ENERGY STAR can save you about $270 over the next five years and reduce your carbon footprint. If your business uses industrial refrigerators, you could see significant savings by replacing older, less efficient models with newer alternatives that have better energy ratings.
HVAC System Upgrades
Is your heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) system more than 10 years old? If so, it might be time to upgrade to a newer, more efficient model. Have the performance of your existing HVAC system evaluated. If it’s not running as efficiently as it should be, replacing the system with an ENERGY STAR-rated model can save more than $115 on energy bills annually.
Industrial Washing Machines
Is there a washing machine, or perhaps several, on your premises? If so, what’s the age of your washing machine? Older machines typically operate much less efficiently. On average, a newer washing machine certified by ENERGY STAR could save you $490 over the machine’s lifetime — more in the case of a washer and dryer combination.
Refrigerated Vending Machines
Cold drinks and snacks are not much good in the middle of the night when your facility is closed. Reduce energy consumption and save money by only making refrigerated vending machines operational when they need to be.
There’s no need to remember (or forget) to turn vending machines off at the main switch at the close of business every day. Take advantage of devices that can be attached to a vending machine to control its power.
Systems like the VendingMiser, for example, can save up to 46 percent in annual refrigerated vending machine costs. You simply plug this device in and, when the area around the vending machine is vacant, it powers down the machine. It also maintains the temperature of the products in the vending machine, so no energy is lost re-cooling products.
There are essentially three different types of furnaces, high-efficiency, mid-efficiency, and low-efficiency. The latter usually relies on a constant pilot light being on. By contrast, high and mid-efficiency furnaces use electronic ignition.
If your business’s furnace is a low-efficiency, pilot light model, switching to a newer more efficient furnace, which stores and exchanges heat, could result in considerable energy savings.
Does your business use motorized equipment? Even if you’re not in an industry like manufacturing or construction that relies on heavy-duty motorized equipment such as jack hammers and drills, chances are your business does depend on some motorized machinery.
Simply altering the speed of motors so they are decreased by approximately 20 percent can equate to a 50 percent decrease (PDF) in power requirements.
According to one report (PDF), installing variable-speed drives (VSDs) for appropriate machines can help businesses save money, cut costs, and increase their profit margins. VSDs provide a high degree of motor control. They can be used in more simple applications, such as pump and fan controls, as well as in more complex ones for precise speed and torque control.
Poorly performing steam systems result in considerable energy wastage, too. In fact, one report says (PDF) energy losses can be as high as 19 percent of the total steam energy production cost. Properly maintained steam traps can help eliminate the energy wastage created by lost steam.
If your business uses an industrial dryer, regular maintenance will ensure the machine is working and drying clothes efficiently.
Each time the machine is used, clean the lint trap. If the lint trap remains uncleaned, this can result in the drying time taking longer and using more energy, costing your business more.
Check with Constellation for more tips on how to save energy in your business.
HVAC Technician Photo via Shutterstock
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