Learn How a Basic Energy Audit For Your Business Can Help You Lower Your Bills
Energy audits regularly help businesses save plenty in energy costs.
An energy audit examines the costs and energy use in a building, looking for ways to make improvements.
With a simple DIY energy audit, you can find where you’re using and losing the most energy. From there, you can make the necessary upgrades to reduce energy costs and your carbon footprint.
We’ve put together a guide to help you conduct your own energy audit for your business, letting you reduce energy costs with energy-efficient windows and other green upgrades.
Your DIY Energy Audit Guide
Check Windows and Doors for Leaks
Place your hand near the frames and panes of your windows and doors to feel for cold air leaking in. You can also hold a lit match around the frames to see if the flame flickers.
If you feel a draft or notice other signs of an air leak, your building may be losing a lot of heat in winter and cool air in summer. This causes your heating and cooling system to work in overdrive, increasing your expenses when you try to maintain a consistent temperature.
Assess Natural Lighting
How much natural light do you let in during the day?
By opening all curtains and blinds, you can make the most of the natural light from your windows. This helps reduce your need to use artificial lighting during the day, saving on energy consumption and costs.
Natural light is also more visually appealing than artificial light, and can even improve workplace productivity.
Look at the Thermostat Location
The best and most energy-efficient location for thermostats is away from direct sunlight, drafts, windows, and skylights. These can cause inaccurate temperature readings for the thermostat, making it run the heating and cooling system more often than necessary.
Check Your Appliances
Does your business have a kitchen or break room with appliances, such as a fridge and a microwave? If so, you should look at the age and energy rating of your appliances.
If they are outdated (i.e. more than 10 years old), then chances are that newer models are outclassing your appliances when it comes to energy efficiency. Appliances with a poor Energy Star rating (or no rating at all) are worth replacing, letting you invest in an energy-efficient appliance.
Examine Your Light Bulbs
Do you have incandescent, CFL, or LED light? Incandescent bulbs are an older, more traditional style, and are probably the style most people are familiar with. While familiar, though, incandescent bulbs use about 75% more energy than CFL and LED lights. Upgrading your lighting is a simple way to find savings on your energy bills.
Check All Devices & Equipment
At the end of the day, see what devices and equipment have been left on at your business. If leaving computers and tablets on standby is the norm, consider changing your policy to turn off all devices before leaving for the day.
Besides adding insulation and weather stripping to drafty areas in your building, you can make significant improvements to your building’s energy efficiency with a few key upgrades.
Energy Efficient Windows
Consider replacing old, drafty windows with new energy-efficient windows. Energy Star-rated windows help improve a building’s insulation and help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature year-round, reducing your heating and cooling costs.
These windows can also block out the sun’s harmful rays and outdoor noises, so your employees won’t be bothered by the heat or noise.
If your business equipment and appliances are outdated, consider upgrading to new ones. Look for Energy Star-rated appliances to help reduce your energy consumption, bills, and carbon footprint.
Efficient Heating & Cooling Systems
The same goes for air conditioners and furnaces. If yours are outdated, replace them and save.
Alternatively, you might want to consider annual servicing, inspection, and cleaning to ensure your heating and cooling system is working at its best. Be sure to replace the filters every month or two to ensure good indoor air quality.
Cleaning coils on air conditioners, electric baseboard heaters, and behind fridges can help your appliances perform better as well.
Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
You can use up to 80% less energy for lighting when you switch to energy-saving light bulbs such as LED and CFL lights. These light bulbs (especially LED lights) last much longer than traditional light bulbs. So you can save on replacement costs along with more energy savings over the long run.
If you or your employees forget to switch off lights when leaving rooms, consider upgrading your business lighting to motion-sensitive lighting.
This lighting turns on when someone enters a room, and automatically turns off when the person leaves, helping you reduce how often lights are left on and the amount of energy wasted.
Making your business more energy efficient will have a significant impact on your energy consumption and costs, saving you 30% or more on energy bills.
Energy saving light bulbs use about 75% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. And LED bulbs last much longer, helping you save on frequent bulb replacement costs.
Energy Star windows can save you an average of 8% on your energy bills. But the most efficient Energy Star windows are up to 40% more efficient than standard windows.
Why It’s Worth It
Lower Operating Costs
While the upfront costs of investing in a more energy-efficient business may seem steep, the energy savings are worth it to lower your business’s operating costs. Installing new energy-efficient windows and making upgrades is a worthwhile investment.
Boost Market Value
The demand for green buildings is ever-growing. With the cost-savings alone, more people are choosing to buy and rent property with energy-efficient windows, doors, climate control, and lighting systems.
So if you ever decide to sell your property, you can boost the market value and curb appeal with these energy-efficient upgrades.
Improve Brand Image
Since consumers, employees, and the general public are more aware of environmental impacts and responsibility, they will appreciate businesses who take the initiative to go green.
Your dedication to lowering your energy consumption and carbon footprint shows that your business cares about the environment. This will give your brand a positive image, reputation, and response from your employees and consumers.
Benefit Your Employees’ Health
Making improvements to your building’s insulation, heating and cooling system, and lighting will create a more comfortable environment for your employees. This whole-building approach to energy-efficiency improves comfort levels and employee health with:
- Reduced dampness: Well-insulated buildings won’t cause illnesses related to damp environments, such as allergies and respiratory diseases.
- Good air quality: Clean and efficient heating and cooling systems won’t emit toxins, gases, and particulates in the air.
- Better thermal quality: Efficient thermostats and heating and cooling systems ensure optimal indoor temperatures year-round. Buildings that are too cold can impact employee health and comfort. And hot environments can be just as uncomfortable, while also being dehydrating and too dry.
Consider doing your own energy audit and upgrading to more energy-efficient windows, appliances, climate control, insulation, and lighting. By doing so, you can invest in a healthy, sustainable, and successful future for your business and the environment.