Summer has ended and we’re officially in the cool weather of fall, preparing for winter weather. The colder months often bring higher energy bills for business owners. For many, heating your building is one of your largest expenses. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, commercial businesses use about 28% of the total energy consumption in the U.S.
Keep your company’s energy bill low this winter with these cold weather energy-saving tips:
Use the Sun
If your building has south-facing windows, open the blinds or curtains! The sun is a free and natural way to help heat up and light your building. Don’t forget to close the blinds before you leave for the day to help keep heat in and reduce the chill from cold windows at night.
Lower the Thermostat
Heating is a huge cost, and a few degrees can make or break your energy spending this winter. The number one way companies waste money on their energy bills is by heating or lighting unoccupied spaces.
It’s recommended you set the thermostat to 68°F during the day when employees occupy the building. This may sound a little chilly, but the few-degree difference could save (or cost you) around 8% on your energy bill. Program the thermostat to be cooler (60°F) overnight while employees are away. Make sure to keep your heat no lower than 55°F during the winter, or your pipes may freeze.
Look into getting a smart, programmable thermostat that you can control from your phone. You can adjust the temperature accordingly before employees arrive and after they leave.
Did you know that the electronics you have plugged in still use energy even when they’re off or not in use? The wasted energy is called a phantom load, and it can be contributing an extra 10% to your total energy bill.
If you run an office building with many desktop computers, printers, copiers, and fax machines, phantom loads can add up quickly. To be most efficient, consider investing in smart power strips that automatically cut power to devices that are not in use, as it may not be possible to rely on employees to remember to unplug their devices before leaving for the night.
Check Your Heating System
Before every winter, make sure your building’s heating and cooling systems are up to par and ready for the cold weather by:
- Replacing the HVAC system’s filters
- Scheduling an inspection
- Cleaning dead leaves and high grass from around units
- Filling your oil or propane tank before temperatures are too low
Make Lighting Efficient
If you use incandescent lighting in your building, you could be paying up to five times more than you should be. While incandescent bulbs are cheaper initially, they last for roughly 5% of the time that LED bulbs do. Incandescent lighting is also slower to turn on and off, taking time to heat up before it’s at its brightest. This is especially true during colder weather. LEDs, on the other hand, turn on and off virtually instantaneously.
In addition to replacing outdated lighting, consider installing lighting sensors as well. Lighting sensors will turn lights off if there isn’t any movement in an area for an extended period. These sensors work well in areas that aren’t being used consistently throughout the work day, like conference rooms or break rooms.
Seal Any Leaks
If your windows and doors aren’t well insulated, you could be losing a lot of money on heating. Making your building more airtight can help save you hundreds or even thousands in energy costs. Install door sweeps and weather stripping to close gaps under exterior doors. Use insulating window films over old windows. Use caulk to close small air leaks in your building’s exterior, and spray insulation for any larger air leaks in building cavities.
By using these tips, your business can be more efficient this winter. For more ways to save money on your company’s energy bill, contact the experts at UGI Energy Services today.