With colder weather right around the corner, it’s a good time to look at energy consumption in your business and make changes to reduce energy use. In honor of National Energy Action Month in October, the Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council (GCGBC) has announced eight energy-saving strategies for the workplace, including some that can start saving your business money today.
“Organizations often overlook simple changes they can make to save money today and into the future,” said Jeremy Chapman, General Manager, Melink. “But the benefits go beyond cost savings to include reducing the environmental impact of your business which can help increase employee engagement and customer loyalty.”
The Council’s tips for conserving energy include:
1. Install, set up, and properly use a programmable thermostat.
Programmable thermostats allow organizations to conserve energy during unoccupied times, but it is important that they be set up and used properly. Be sure to program set points, generally 68-70 degrees for heating and 74-76 degrees for cooling, that allow you to reduce energy use when your business is closed but be comfortable by the time you re-open.
2. Implement lighting changes.
Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and LEDs, especially for exit signage. Ask employees to think about whether turning on the light is even necessary. Install “occupant sensors” to automatically turn lights off when no one is present and sensors that adjust interior lighting when natural light is bright. Contact your utility provider for rebates and technical assistance to evaluate existing lighting and upgrade options.
3. Turn off computers and unplug “vampire” loads at the end of the day
Ask employees to turn off computers, printers and copiers in the office at the end of the day to cut down on energy consumption. If possible, electronics should also be unplugged to further conserve energy. This is easier when equipment is on power strips that can be turned off at the end of the day.
4. Form an employee energy/green team.
Employee buy-in and communication is essential for successfully implementing changes within the facility. Energy teams are responsible for creating, delivering and tracking the progress of energy efficiency initiatives, as well as encouraging participation from colleagues.
5. Check interiors and exteriors for damage.
Conduct regular walkthroughs and audits of the building to identify insulation issues with the roof, walls, ceilings, doors and windows/skylights. Cracks, gaps and worn seals let air infiltrate the building, driving excessive energy costs.
6. Identify and replace underperforming equipment.
When equipment, such as an HVAC unit, doesn’t perform efficiently, energy is wasted. An energy audit can help pinpoint underperforming equipment that should be replaced. Switch to ENERGY STAR® models if possible as these are certified to provide savings.
7. Benchmark the energy performance of your building and pursue ENERGY STAR Certification.
Download the GCGBC’s Energy Benchmarking Toolkit to learn about the free tools that are available to help you determine the energy efficiency of your building and find incentives for making improvements. If your building is a good performer, it might qualify for ENERGY STAR Certification.
8. Join or start a local green business council.
Green business councils allow companies to identify sustainability strategies, such as reducing energy use, within their organizations and in the community. This forum also lets organizations share success stories and identify opportunities for maximizing resources.
For more information on the Green Business Council or to download the Energy Benchmarking Toolkit, please visit www.gcgbc.org.
About Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council
The Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council was initiated by Cintas Corporation in 2010 and is composed of some of the leading companies in Greater Cincinnati. The Green Business Council aims to inspire the business community to deliver a better social, economic and environmental future by sharing best practices and collaborating to drive and accelerate sustainable development in the region. The Green Business Council is driving the Greater Cincinnati business community to be the sustainability leader in America. More information on the Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council can be found at www.gcgbc.org.
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