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Saving money—and the planet—are two obvious reasons to invest in energy-efficient changes to your business. And they are great reasons. But the benefits go far beyond both of those, from increased employee productivity to lower maintenance costs and improved overhead expenses, to help make your bottom line, not to mention your business as a whole, better.
As with any big change, the hardest part is taking that first step, whether you need to make minor improvements to your small company or a full-scale energy efficiency plan for your large manufacturing facility.
To get started, National Grid offers not only a list of suggestions and tips, but also incentives to make big changes more manageable. In the spirit of 2017, here is a collection of 17 tips from one of the world’s largest energy companies:
- After hours, walk through the facility and look for wasteful patterns and energy-saving opportunities, making sure no lights are left on unnecessarily and that heating and air conditioning systems are set to appropriate usage levels.
- Study a series of energy bills, not just one, to look for patterns in peak usage times and where adjustments can be made.
- Small adjustments to your start-up and power-down times to all of your systems, from HVAC and lighting (both internal and external lights) to computer servers, can result in major savings over the long haul.
- Get the industry standards for lighting levels and compare your building’s levels. You may find some areas are overlit, and other parts are underlit.
- Replace overhead lights where possible with lights that are smaller and for specific tasks.
- Those exit signs? They probably have old bulbs or lighting. Trade them in for Energy Star qualified signs that last longer and require less maintenance.
- Make sure all vents are cleared of any obstacles preventing heat or cool air from escaping. A blocked vent can use up to 25 percent more energy than a clear one.
- It may seem obvious, but it’s overlooked: Educate your staff, employees, and building occupants about energy use and how they impact it. Train them in practices that will save the building, and save them money. Maybe create a company energy team to encourage best practices around the building and hand out small rewards to shining (energy-efficient!) stars.
- Remember that many appliances and laptop chargers draw power when they are switched off. Unplug cords not in use or use an advanced power strip that can be easily turned off or that turns off automatically.
- A few tips during the summer can go a long way toward a more efficient building: Using vegetation, solar screens, and awnings can help keep a building from getting too warm.
- When winter comes, make sure all shades and blinds stay up and let the sun shine in. It may not feel warm, but it is.
- If you have a large computer server, save energy with power-management software that lets servers slip into standby mode when they aren’t being used.
- Do you have a data center? Tweak the layout so that there are hot aisles and cold aisles, which improves airflow and is more efficient.
- Move away from desktop computers the next time you do a computer upgrade and switch to more laptops. They are far more energy efficient.
- Does your office have a refrigerator, or two? Not only should you try to clean the coils at least twice a year to limit dust buildup and make the appliance is as efficient and cold as possible, but go a step further and replace old models with Energy Star ones.
- Set a maximum water temperature. Chances are nobody is using the hottest temperature it’s already set at. Check your local codes for specific guidelines.
- Finally, don’t skip those regular vendor maintenance checkups on your heating and cooling systems before summer and winter. It’s always better for your building and your business to learn about a problem before it happens—not after.
To learn more about energy saving solutions for your business, visit ngrid.com/save. National Grid is a proud sponsor of Mass Save.