22 Energy-Saving Solutions for Your Startup Business
One of the most unpredictable expenses that small businesses have is their energy costs, and most of the energy they use is electricity. When you have a small business, you are on a budget, so any ideas to help save energy and reduce your startup business' power bills are great. That is why we have put together this list of energy-saving solutions to help your startup business.
1. Use Motion Sensing Lights
Typically, in an office, the lights in the break room, conference rooms, and bathrooms stay on even when they are not in use. If you put motion-sensing lights in those areas, you can save energy since they will only be on when they are in use.
2. Use Energy Efficient Lightbulbs
One of the easiest ways to save energy in your startup business is to use energy efficient lightbulbs, like LED lights. These use a lot less energy than other bulbs.
3. Program the Thermostats
Once your business closes for the day, you do not need to keep the heater or air conditioner running as hard. By programming the thermostats to run less automatically, you can save some energy. Do not shut them off completely, though; it will take more energy to get the building warm or cool enough when you turn it back on. If your hours vary, you can program the thermostat to run only when they are there, but you might need to invest in a smart thermostat to manage varying hours.
4. Invest in a Steel Building
While you might not think that steel is an eco-friendly, energy-saving building material, it is actually the greenest building material out there, making it perfect for a startup business. Steel itself is nearly 100 percent recyclable, and you can design the building to be more energy efficient. You can include large windows and skylights to let in natural light, and steel has excellent insulation, which will save you money on your heating and cooling costs.
5. Go Paperless
While this is not always an easy thing to do in a business setting, going paperless is a good way to help a business save some energy. If going completely paperless is not an option for your startup business, you can at least try to limit paper. It can actually make it easier to keep track of documents and communication, and you will not need to have as much physical storage space.
6. Allow Remote Work
This truly depends on your industry, but another great way for your business to save energy is to allow your employees to work remotely. You will be reducing your own carbon emissions from commuting to and from work, and your own power bills should go down with fewer people in the office all day.
7. Buy Energy Efficient Equipment
Before buying electronics for your startup business, check to make sure that they are energy efficient. Spend some time researching the equipment that you want to purchase for your startup business to find the most energy-saving options.
8. Use Laptops Instead of Desktops
Laptops are much more energy efficient than desktop computers. They typically draw in about 60 watts of energy, while a desktop uses about 175 watts. Plus, when the laptop is fully charged, you can unplug it to save energy and reduce the draw of power.
9. Turn Equipment off at the End of the Day
Many people leave their computers on when they leave the office for the day, but that can become a drain on energy. Have your team get in the habit of turning off their equipment when they leave the office for the day. Unplugging things like the coffee pot and toasters can also be unplugged at the end of the day to reduce energy use.
You can also reduce phantom energy, which is energy that is still being used when equipment is plugged in. One easy way to do that is to put devices on a surge protector so you can flip a switch to shut down multiple devices at once.
10. Reduce Your Peak Demand
Peak demand is the hours during the day when energy use is the highest, which is typically centered around a 9 to 5 office schedule. If you have different work times than the peak demand, or even just wait to run heavy equipment during the early morning or later in the evening, you can conserve some energy during the day.
11. Let in Natural Light
If your office has a lot of windows, take advantage of the natural light. If it is a sunny day, you may not need to turn on every light because the windows can give you enough illumination. This can help you save quite a bit of energy on a nice day.
12. Use Fans
Running fans will allow an HVAC system to run a little more efficiently, so if you have fans going in your building, you can save a little more money on energy.
13. Consider Investing in Solar Panels
If you add solar panels to your startup business' building, you can save a lot of energy and money. There are also often tax credits available from the government for adding solar panels to your building, so while there is a bigger investment upfront, it balances out in the long run. If you are having a new building constructed for your startup, you can have the solar panels installed at the same time.
14. Clean and Service the HVAC System
When the filters in your HVAC system need to be cleaned or changed, or the system is overdue for maintenance, it can make the system work harder to run. By making sure you keep your filters clean and get regular maintenance on your system, you can save on energy costs.
15. Plant Trees
Plant some trees that will offer shade outside of your office. This can help keep the building cooler and clean the air outside your building, helping your energy usage and the environment.
16. Use Rechargeable Batteries
For any devices that your startup business is going to need, a great energy-saving idea is to use rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones.
17. Invest in Insulation
When trying to lower the energy costs of your startup, it is important to think about the insulation of your building. Invest in some high-quality insulation for your building to help reduce your heating and cooling costs. Make sure you remember to have the ceiling insulated, too, as that will help regulate the temperature.
Double-paned windows are also a good investment for insulating your building as well. It is a great way to help keep the drafts out in the winter.
18. Shut Down Areas that Are Not in Use
Are there areas of your building that you do not use all the time? Like a conference room or a few extra offices that are open until you hire someone to come fill them? Shut them down. If you only use that conference room once or twice a week, it can be off and running only a few times a week. Make sure everything is completely shut down when it is not in use to save energy.
19. Adjust the Closing Speed of Automatic Doors
Do you have automatic doors in your startup's building? Depending on how long the delay is before they close again, you could be letting in too much hot or cold air, which makes your heating and cooling system work harder. If you adjust the delay of the doors so that they close a little quicker after opening, reducing the amount of time that the outdoor temperature can hurt your inside temperature.
20. Conduct Energy Audits
There are companies that can conduct an energy audit on your building to see how much energy your building is consuming. They can then help you identify areas that could improve to make your building more efficient. Running one of these can be a big help in improving your energy costs.
21. Reduce the Number of Light Fixtures
When you replace old light fixtures with newer, more efficient fixtures, you might be able to get a little more illumination out of them than you did with the old lights. If this is the case, try to cut down on the number of light fixtures you have in use, which will lessen the power you are consuming.
22. Upgrade Break Room Appliances
If you have a refrigerator in your break room that is not energy efficient, you can save on your energy costs by upgrading it to one that is. You can also try to find an energy efficient microwave and any other appliances that you keep in there.
About the Author
Auz Burger is a freelance writer and an expert in steel buildings. She has a BA from Washington State University and has been writing and editing professionally for over a decade.