As a business owner, you want to make sure that you’re spending your money wisely. Monthly utility expenses are inevitable, but you can take steps towards ensuring you’re not spending more than you should on energy bills. Conduct an energy audit for your small business today and prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades.
There are two types of energy audits: a professional energy audit or a “do-it-yourself” approach. A professional energy audit can be more methodical than a “do-it-yourself” audit. However, should you elect to conduct your own audit, we’ve compiled some tools and suggestions to help you get started and to identify areas for improvement.
A poll conducted by the National Small Business Association (NSBA) showed that 82% of small businesses surveyed had already taken one or more steps to reduce energy use. Energy management helps you understand your business’ energy needs and an energy audit is a tool that identifies areas for improvement. Identifying areas for improvement will help you prioritize energy efficiency efforts that will result in cost savings, potential preservation of your property and equipment and a strong reputation as an environmentally-responsible business.
Before you prepare to conduct your business’ energy audit, it is vital to understand your business’ energy needs and usage. As a WGL Energy Services (WGL Energy) business customer, you have access to our free energy management tool. The Energy Management Platform (EMP) allows you to complete a profile, receive highly tailored energy efficiency recommendations and find your ENERGY STAR score. Understanding your business’ energy consumption is the starting point; it will make it easier to track improvements over time. You can also compare your business’ energy use to the national median (or midpoint) energy use of similar properties with ENERGY STAR’s reference data.
Now that you have some insight on your business’ energy consumption, here are areas to review during your energy audit:
1. Lighting – Replace outdated light bulbs and fixtures with energy efficient alternatives, install motion censored lighting and minimize lighting during non-working hours.
2. Windows and Walls – Plug air leaks, replace windows, install window shading and minimize the escape of air conditioned air or heat.
3. Office Equipment – Set computer power settings to save energy when not in use, utilize “smart power strips” and replace cathode ray tube (CRT) computer monitors with LED monitors.
4. Kitchen and Food Service Equipment – Swap food service equipment with ENERGY STAR certified equipment, minimize use of multiple refrigerators, service walk-in refrigeration systems annually and turn off or unplug appliances when not in use.
5. HVAC – Check for air leaks, install a programmable thermostat, change filters monthly during peak use seasons, clean heating and cooling coils twice a year, conduct annual maintenance for HVAC system and use fans in occupied areas.
6. Water – Find and fix leaks, insulate water heaters, set water temperature only as hot as needed, install energy efficient water heaters, optimize the amount of water used in heating and cooling systems and practice water-efficient landscaping.
Access the EMP today to see your business’ profile program or contact us at EMP@WGLEnergy.com for assistance with your EMP login.
ENERGY STAR®. (2015, April). ENERGY STAR® Action Workbook for Small Business. Retrieved August 02, 2017 from https://www.energystar.gov/sites/default/files/tools/Action%20Workbook_Small%20Business_0.pdf