A Startup Guide to Energy Efficiency

Startup Tips, Guest PostThe best time to start thinking about energy efficiency and cost saving for your startup is as soon as you start detailing your business plan. Build energy saving steps into your plan early, and start saving money on day one. If you wait until the business is moving down a path of wasting energy, you’ll spend a lot more time and money getting back onto a cleaner path.

Begin creating energy-efficient policies and procedures so your staff will know you are serious about saving energy. Reinforce and reward energy-saving behaviors. It’s easier starting this way than trying to change the company culture later.

This also gives you an opportunity to think about your energy usage plan. If you’re in an energy-deregulated state, choose an energy provider that meets your preferences. If you consider yourself a “green” company, this is the chance to associate your business with one of the renewable energy resources available in your area.

Start a List by Starting Simple

A startup has enough things to think about, so they should start simple when it comes to energy management. Start with the lights in your office.

Take advantage of the natural light coming in through the windows. Keep the lights off throughout the day if there is enough natural light for people to do their work. Change the light bulbs in the office to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Where you need more lighting or spot lighting, use halogen lights or LED clusters.

Install motion sensors where it makes sense in the office. Areas such as restrooms benefit from motion sensors, so the lights aren’t on for long periods when there are no people present. Get your office lighting on a schedule. Make sure the lights are off during evenings, weekends, and holidays when people aren’t there.

Be on Schedule

Depending on the type of business you have, a startup schedule can be very important. Food Service Equipment and Supplies suggest a food service business can save a lot on energy costs by creating a schedule of when to turn on cooking surfaces. A broiler that is only used at lunch and dinner doesn’t need to be turned on at breakfast. Put the kitchen on a schedule on opening day, so the staff gets accustomed to the procedures.

Track the Temperature

Monitor the HVAC system and thermostat. Again, the environment only needs to be comfortable when people are present. If you open windows to allow fresh air in, adjust the thermostat so you don’t lose energy dollars out the windows.

Make sure doors and windows seal properly when closed. Doors should have automatic closures on them. Your HVAC expenses could be some of your highest costs. Be sure to fine-tune your heating and cooling schedule so you’re not wasting money.

Be Well-Equipped

The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends using equipment with the Energy Star rating. To receive this rating, products must prove they can operate 10-15 percent more efficiently than the non-rated devices.

Plug desktops, monitors and printers into power strips so they can be turned off while not being used. Minimize printer and copier use. The startup phase is a good time to try to be a “paperless” office.

Peggy Smith

Peggy is a sustainability specialist from Arizona who writes about solar energy and green living.

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