Six ways to make your business more energy-efficient this autumn5 September 2023
The sun has begun to set earlier, the evenings are cooler, and it may even be dark now when your business locks up for the night. As your company prepares their fall marketing campaign or switches out summer stock for fall product lines, remember to make changes to your energy usage. Small adjustments now will keep business operations running more efficiently heading into the colder, darker days of winter.
Here are six steps to increase the energy efficiency of your business this fall:
1. Remove window air conditioners
If you have been using window-installed air conditioners, remove these units when the weather starts to cool. No matter how well you seal them, they are still a source of air leaks. With the air conditioners gone, you can close your windows and get a proper seal, and the air you pay to heat with your central system will stay inside. You’ll also be able to open and close the window as needed to take advantage of more mild outside temperatures and airflow.
2. Adjust your water heater
Water heaters are quite energy inefficient. You pay for energy to keep a large tank of water heated all day and night so that it’s ready when you use it. Imagine constantly heating a kettle on the stove so that you have hot water when you want to make coffee or tea. That’s what a traditional water heater does. The cooler you keep that water, the less energy you are wasting.
Many water heaters automatically default to 140°F/60°C. Unless you have equipment that requires hotter water, change that setting. In most cases, 120°/50°C is safe and comfortable. You likely won’t notice much difference in your daily activities. The slightly cooler water should feel the same in the cooler fall weather. Once you are used to it, you may even find that you don’t need to turn the heat back up come summer. This single change can dramatically affect the energy costs of running your water heater.
As a bonus, the lower temperature also slows corrosion and mineral build-up, prolonging the life of your water heater and pipes. It also addresses the scalding hazard created by extremely hot water. For a more efficient solution, consider replacing your water heater with a tankless system if it is suitable for your business’s needs.
3. Work on your windows
As temperatures drop, drafty windows become a bigger problem and waste energy. Seal gaps with insulation. Consider installing clear plastic sheets around windows, especially those that get the most wind. These treatments seal to the frame of the window, creating an air-tight barrier but still allowing in light.
Fall is also a great time to consider installing more energy-efficient windows. Installing double or triple-pane windows in place of older single-pane windows can dramatically impact the effect the weather outside has on the temperature inside your offices.
You will also save energy by installing heavy curtains. When closed, these will act as a blanket for your windows, creating an insulating barrier between the cold glass and your warm office spaces. Encourage your staff to open the windows during the day to light your business areas with free sunlight instead of energy-drawing light bulbs. When it is dark or particularly cold, your energy bill will benefit from the protection provided by closed curtains.
4. Save at the thermostat
When switching from air conditioning to heating, carefully consider the thermostat settings. A difference of even one or two degrees can have a meaningful impact on your energy consumption. Though it saves you money, it shouldn’t affect the ability of your employees to stay comfortable and your equipment to function effectively.
If you haven’t already, install a smart thermostat. Heating workspaces to the same temperatures after business hours makes little sense. A smart thermostat allows you to regulate your preferred temperature and the times your system works to hit those levels.
5. Tune your heater
Autumn is the perfect time to bring in a professional to ensure your system functions properly. In addition to looking for areas of concern, a trained HVAC technician can perform a system check to ensure there are no efficiency concerns. Blocked vents, dirty air intakes, or other issues that can decrease the energy efficiency of your system if not addressed. These problems make your HVAC system less effective at keeping your space comfortable and cause it to work harder to do its job.
Fall is also an excellent time to replace your air filters. The recommended frequency for changing filters varies by system, but if it has been a while, you are probably due. In many cases, changing your filters is an easy task for yourself or your staff, with no professional knowledge or tools required.
6. Consider an energy audit
Commercial energy audit companies will assess your facilities to determine how you can save on your energy bills. An energy audit can identify areas of savings by reviewing your facilities, operations, equipment, and even past energy bills.
All of these tips will put your company on the right track for managing energy expenses, increasing energy efficiency, and decreasing waste as you transition into the fall season and beyond. If you are looking for even more impactful ways to alter your energy consumption and procurement expenses, working with an energy procurement consulting firm is an option that works for your business year-round.
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