Five ways to decrease energy costs

energy auditsCutting costs and saving money is essential to the health of any business. But too many small business owners focus on direct spending and not the indirect costs of intangibles such as energy costs. Every penny saved on conserving energy goes straight to the bottom line. Here are five strategies for cutting energy costs in your business.

Empower an Energy Manager

Put someone in charge of your energy savings and empower them to make decisions and cut costs. This person can be someone in accounting or a general office manager. It needs to be someone familiar enough with the day to day operations to understand where, when and how energy costs can be cut without impacting services. Give this person reasonable and attainable goals and hold them accountable for savings. You might even offer an incentive for meeting specific goals.

Get an Energy Audit

The new energy manager should first be required to perform an energy audit. They shouldn’t have to do this alone. Your power provider and other local groups can be called upon to help create energy audits, often at no or low cost. Identifying where energy can be saved is the first step to cutting power costs. Don’t forget to audit the energy consumption of all equipment as compared to newer energy-efficient models. Have the manager look at both short and long-term savings for purchasing new equipment and replacing old power hogs. Many replacements will pay for themselves in less time than you think.

Get Regular Maintenance of all HVAC Equipment

Keeping the equipment healthy that makes your environment comfortable is a significant step in energy savings. Replacing dirty filters and other minor changes can make huge boosts to your energy conservation. Take a look at your annual heating and cooling costs for general office systems. Now imagine cutting 30-40% of that cost annually. Also, have your HVAC maintenance company make recommendations on ideal settings for your thermostats and have all thermostats replaced with ones that can be set to timers or operated remotely.

Don’t Forget Your Computer Rooms

While saving on cooling costs, you can’t afford to risk your valuable data servers. But you don’t need to dump a fortune into keeping them cold either. First, have an expert make recommendations on optimal temperatures for your server rooms and computers. Next, find ways of maintaining these temperatures more efficiently. A low power electric fan can make a massive difference without impacting your cooling system budget. Install equipment and/or software that puts the computers in a low-energy standby mode when not in use.

Invest in Alternative Energy Sources

Depending on your location, alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power may be available. Solar energy can be installed for almost any business depending on the type of building and local zoning ordinances. Installation of solar panels is often tax-deductible, and even better, your solar farm may produce enough energy to sell some of it back to your power company.

Energy savings not only helps the environment but can drastically improve the bottom line of your company. Make decreasing energy costs a priority today and reap the benefits for years to come.

How to reduce the energy costs of your business

energy saving

1. Why energy saving is important?

With the growing concerns about climate change and the increasing energy costs, businesses of all sizes, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as large businesses are putting measures in place to save energy and the environment. Many of these businesses are switching to renewables or implementing energy-saving measures to reduce their carbon emissions while gaining their competitive edge at the same time.

Energy saving is an interesting concept, but at the same time, a concept that requires careful thought in planning and consideration in order to save energy by influencing behaviors, improving knowledge and skills. Technological changes both locally and internationally imply that today there is a shift that is in favor of clean and energy-efficient technologies that can be applied to save energy and protect the environment at the same time.

Energy saving is also a concept that many businesses are incentivized to implement because energy costs make a significant expense and reducing such costs will help companies gain a competitive edge in the long run.

2. Energy saving is possible with continuous improvement 

Energy-saving will require companies to set up a plan of implementation once a comprehensive energy audit has been conducted.  An energy audit by an energy professional will help to determine the amounts and types of energy consumed in your business.

Energy audits provide data when it comes to knowing how your energy is consumed and where the energy wastage is taking place – that is, it is not possible to manage what you do not measure. Hence, the data collected and analyzed during an energy audit is key to making decisions about how much energy saving can be realized over time depending on your baseline.

Once an energy management plan has been drafted, energy saving should be integrated into your company policy to introduce continuity or sustainability in the implementation of energy efficiency. To encourage behavioral change to energy efficiency, all levels of the organization should be involved, including senior management. The implementation plan would also include setting up an energy-saving committee while organizational policies and procedures should include the need to save energy and other utility costs.

3. Solar PV is a great candidate for energy saving for many businesses. 

Solar PV is a great example of a technological change that can reduce your energy costs dramatically both in the short-term and long-term.  Solar PV may have a high initial investment, but in the long-term, it will help you save a significant amount of energy and contribute to your efforts of contributing to sustainability.  With solar PV, once your solar panels are paid off perhaps after 5 to 7 years depending on their payback period, going solar can save you anywhere from 20% to 100% of your energy costs.

How much energy you save with solar panels will depend on what other energy-saving measures you implement, for instance, switching from incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving lights.  Implementing such low hanging fruit energy-saving measures will help to reduce your investment cost for solar panels.

How many solar panels you need for your PV system depending on your energy profile. To find out how many solar panels you need, you can use a solar panel cost calculator to allow you to see your current PV system based on your roof size and how much sunshine is hitting your roof.

Energy-saving options

solar panel cost calculator

Going solar is a great long-term solution to saving energy, reducing your energy bill, and for sustainability. However, how you maximize solar savings depends on how you shop for solar and the guidance you get as you plan to go solar. 

The process starts by wanting to know whether going solar is for you. Today with the onset of online solar panel calculators, it is easy to determine whether your rooftop receives enough sunlight to generate clean solar power. Using a solar panel calculator, not only gives you an indication as to whether you can create your solar energy but also, estimates how much it would cost plus the savings. 

Once you have estimated the costs and savings for going solar, the next step would be to determine possible ways to obtain the full benefit of solar power. Getting the full advantage of solar power means reducing your solar panel cost significantly and save more money in the long-term. These options include energy efficiency, the use of online solar marketplaces, exploring tax incentives available, and the use of a solar panel cost calculator. 

1. Explore energy efficiency options for your home or business.  

Conducting an energy audit by a professional energy rater certified under an accredited home energy rating system (HERS)would help to determine some quick energy efficiency measures that could be implemented to reduce your energy demand and hence help you to save you the number of solar panels required to power your home or business.  

By conducting an energy audit, you may find out that you need to switch to more energy-efficient appliances that are ENERGY STAR certified. ENERGY STAR rated, means that they consume less energy than their traditional home appliances. Implementing such measures has a high upfront cost, but in the long-term is a cost-effective option. The department of power is a good starting point to point you in the direction of how to finance your home energy efficiency projects

Conducting an energy audit by a professional energy rater certified under an accredited home energy rating system (HERS) would help to determine some quick energy efficiency measures that could be implemented to reduce your energy demand and hence save you the number of solar panels required to power your home or business.  

2. Explore online solar marketplaces to find out who has the best solar panel deals 

Online solar markets can aggregate different solar panel quotes from different solar installers hence helping to reduce your overall solar panel cost.  

An online solar marketplace like the EnergySage provides prospective solar photovoltaic (PV) customers with a platform to obtain and compare quotes from multiple competing installers.  It is an excellent tool for solar customers to get more quotes, and the competition between drivers may allow customers to receive lower prices in a platform like the EnergySage. 

 

solar panel cost calculator

(Source: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL))

For instance, recent, NREL research studies have shown that solar panel prices from online solar marketplaces are about $0.20/W to $0.40/W lower on such platforms compared to market-wide prices. 

According to NREL, these price differences are robust after controlling for the various market- and system-level characteristics (e.g., system size, module efficiency). For instance, a typical residential solar PV system, the price differences equate to about $1,000 to $2,000 in savings.

3.  Additional ways of getting the full benefit of solar panels 

Reducing the cost of solar panels by exploring further about some of the available rebates and tax credits available from your state or Federal government, respectively. You can also explore different grants or low-cost financing options that are available in the market to help lower your initial solar panel cost. 

A great place to start and get the link up to all these offers and ways of getting the full benefit of solar power is through the use of a solar panel cost calculator. Get started today to get the full benefit of your solar panels.