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5 Ways For Small Businesses To Stop Wasting Electricity

Kimberly Hutchings
April 11, 2023

There are so many costs associated with running a business, some expected and some, well, not so much. There are office supplies, software licenses, accounting fees, shipping costs, employees to pay; the list goes on. But one of the most unanticipated costs that small businesses face year after year is one you might not guess immediately— electricity.

Electricity costs can pile up quickly for businesses, from powering equipment like computers and printers to ensuring the office is comfortable through lighting and proper heating and cooling systems.

The good news is, though, as a business owner, there are a few ways you can adjust your energy practices to reduce your consumption, making a positive impact on the planet *and* your bottom line. Keep reading for five ways your small business can stop wasting electricity and save on your monthly energy bill!

Tips to avoid wasting electricity at home.

1. Prioritize powering down at the end of a workday.

One of the simplest ways your business wastes electricity is by forgetting to power down devices at the end of a workday. In fact, did you know that a single desktop computer left on standby mode can cost $23 each year in electricity? Multiply that by every computer in your office and factor in all the other energy-hogging devices like printers, paper shredders and more — and it's no wonder these costs pile up.

Set a standard for your office that employees should power down their equipment at the end of a workday to reduce unnecessary consumption and save on electricity. You'll be surprised at the big impact this small change can make!

As a bonus, if you have an office kitchen, you might also consider adding smart plugs to appliances like toasters and microwaves so you can set up schedules to have them automatically power down at the end of the day, helping to further save on wasted standby power.

2. Keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape.

The office HVAC system is another big energy consumer, but there are a couple of things you can do to help make sure it runs efficiently.

Firstly, keep air filters clean with regular maintenance. Air filters clogged with dust and debris must work harder to circulate air throughout your office. Unfortunately, when this happens, your heating and cooling systems have to work overtime to get your space to the desired temperature, running up your electricity bill in the process! Most HVAC filters require cleaning or replacement every two to three months, so set up a schedule to remind yourself to keep up with the clean routine. 

Secondly, if your office space allows it, invest in a smart thermostat! Smart thermostats allow you to access additional insights on your heating and cooling practices, identifying where you can cut back on energy consumption and allowing you to build automatic schedules that reduce your usage during peak times and after work hours. For instance, if your business operates on a typical 9-5 schedule, you likely don't need to maintain your heating and cooling over the weekend or late at night. Powering down or reducing your thermostat temperature during these times can help you take advantage of some significant energy savings. 

New to smart thermostats? Check out our beginner's guide here for everything you need to know.

3. Get bright about your lighting choices.

It goes without saying that turning off the lights at the end of a work day can save you majorly on electricity consumption, but it goes beyond simply switching off after office hours! For example, consider spaces like the washroom or communal meeting rooms where lights are frequently left on throughout the workday. Encouraging employees to switch off these lights when they're not in use is a great way to reduce your electrical usage further.

Additionally, if you haven't already, switch your lightbulbs from incandescent options to LED alternatives! LED lightbulbs can last up to 25,000 hours (nearly 50 times longer than traditional bulbs) and use at least 75% less energy, saving you on power and replacements over time.

Overwhelmed by the number of lighting choices out there? Here's our guide to the best smart LED light bulbs of 2023 to get you started.

Effective methods to reduce electricity waste.

4. Get an energy audit to identify areas of improvement.

Perhaps you've already completed tips one through three but are now feeling stuck on further reducing your wasted electricity. If so, an energy audit may be the perfect next step! 

An energy audit involves a certified professional visiting your business to conduct an in-person walk-through, assessing workplace habits and analyzing each room to identify opportunities for improved efficiency. They're relatively inexpensive (usually only around $100-$150), and they can help guide you in putting together a list of actionable steps that will allow you to further your electricity savings and work towards maintaining a greener office space. 

5. Make the environment part of your mission.

There's truth to the saying we can accomplish more together than alone — and the same goes for saving electricity! Making sustainable choices a part of your mission and company culture is a simple way to get employees on board with working together to create a more eco-conscious work environment. 

Consider offering employee incentives for those that power down their devices at the end of the workday, use reusable coffee cups, take their meetings outside on sunny days and apply other energy-saving habits to their workdays! It can be a fun way to motivate your team while simultaneously cutting back on energy consumption.

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