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7 Ways Your Business Can Reduce Energy Costs

Reduce Energy Costs

Reducing your business energy costs can make a substantial difference in what your operations cost you each month. Whether you are a large or small business, combined with payroll; the cost of water, gas, electricity and other resources are a substantial portion of your expenses. If you are concerned about the rising cost of energy and your ability to remain competitive, there are a few things that you can do to help lower these costs.

Reduce Energy Costs

  1. Learn about energy savings. When you need to reduce the amount of energy that you are using on a daily basis, there are a few simple things that can make a profound impact. Each company has its own major energy consumers. Large companies generally use florescent lighting so unlike homeowners simply changing your light bulbs to CFLs is probably not an option. But looking at other lighting consumption might be a possibility. Motion detectors can be installed that will automatically turn off lighting when certain business areas are not in use. Policies should be in place to require that minimal lighting be maintained in areas not in use.
  2. Good Motor Management- A recent Department of Energy study found that electric motors consume nearly 63 percent of the electricity used by industry. Make sure workers turn off equipment when not in use can help significantly. Small machines should be turned off during breaks, lunch and when leaving. larger equipment (100 hp or more) should be turned off if it won’t be used for more than 15 minutes. Older motors are often less efficient than current EPA minimums.  You should do a motor survey of your facility and compile a list of  all the motors in use. Look at motors that drive your machinery such as conveyors, fans, pumps and machining centers. This will give you a benchmark to determine how much electricity your electric motors are using. According to Baldor,  The initial price of a motor is approximately 3% of the lifetime costs of operation; therefore it usually pays to purchase the highest efficiency possible. Premium efficient motors often pay for themselves in energy efficiency within the first three years then continue saving energy for years to come…   A 100 HP motor operating continuously with an 85% efficiency rating would use 768,820 kWh of electricity annually. If you upgrade to a premium efficient motor rated at 95.4%, you could save 83,810 kWh of energy annually. At 7.5¢ per kWh this would mean an annual energy savings of $6,285.75.  Of course, you need to do the calculations on your own motors based on your usage rates and electricity costs. 
  3. Monitor your energy usage DAILY. This is an important step for businesses as well as consumers. In order to know where you are spending the most in energy, you have to pay strict attention to your energy usage. Daily meter readings are inconvenient but can spot a spike in usage before it has significant impact on your monthly bill. Daily readings will tell you if the lights or machinery were left on overnight as well as spoting unusual usage. Simply assign the tracking task to a security guard or maintenance person. It will only take them a few minutes but it could save you thousands if properly implemented. Have them track it in a spreadsheet and look for unusual spikes. Meter readings should also be compared to utility bills to ensure accuracy.
  4. HVAC is a major energy user- Set temperatures to reasonable levels, use programmable thermostats, set air make-up units to barely maintain the building temperature, keep doors shut or install systems to seperate indoor areas from outside areas. Large doors can have hanging strips, smaller doors can have air curtains or air-lock entry ways. Look for doors being propped open because one area is being overheated. If machinery is generating heat look for ways to use that heat elsewhere. Be sure filters are changed at the appropriate intervals- a clogged filter restricts flow causing the blower to work harder thus consuming more electricity.
  5. Plug Leaks- We all know a dripping faucet wastes water and makes the pump work harder, in the same way air leaks cause compressors to work harder and product leaks waste product. A seemingly small leak can make a big impact. A single pipe dripping only once every 20 seconds or 3 drips per minute will waste over 100 gallons a year. Multiply that by dozens of leaks around the plant and you could be wasting thousands of gallons a year. Air leaks under higher pressure can cause the compressor to cycle much more frequently than otherwise necessary thus significantly increasing energy usage.
  6. Get your employees onboard- let them know you are serious about saving energy. Your employees should be educated about your energy saving policies and how they can help to keep energy costs down. Hold an employee meeting to outline your plan for energy conservation and ensure that all employees understand your plan. You can ask employees for their suggestions about helping to bring energy usage down and offer incentives for those that really work to get the job done.
  7. Check out newer technology. There are many products on the market today that are designed to help you lower your business energy costs. You can look various energy savings solutions up online and find out what specific technological advances will help your individual company to cut down on energy usage. Things like allowing employees to telecommute on certain days of the week can help to lower what you spend on electricity each month. You can cut down significantly on your monthly overhead costs and wear and tear on your equipment by allowing employees to share their office space as well as office equipment and work from home on alternate days.

Small savings here and there will add up to significant monthly savings with just a bit of focus in finding them.

This article was written by Business Electric. Visit the website to learn ways of cutting your company’s energy costs.

Photo Credits: By redjar