10 Comfort and Energy Saving Tips for Businesses
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 by Joy Padgett
There’s definitely a growing trend toward improving home comfort and making homes energy efficient, but what about comfort and energy efficiency for businesses? Is your business location having the same issues you’re having at home with some rooms getting too hot while others don’t seem to warm up at all? Are you or your employees constantly complaining about being uncomfortable? Do you find yourself wearing a sweater or jacket in your office while your employees in another part of building are wearing short sleeved shirts to keep from overheating?
And what about the utility bills for your business? Have you ever stopped to consider whether or not they’re higher than they should be? Or are you just making too much money to even care? (If that’s it, well….good for you!) I believe most businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and increase profit margins across the board. Whether the way to do this is to order materials in bulk, select another vendor with cheaper prices, or something else, I don’t know. BUT, I believe most businesses never even consider the comfort/utility bill aspect of running a business. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t smart business owners out there who are looking for ways to reduce the company utility bills and increase productivity by participating in energy conservation.
Let’s face it, buildings aren’t built with comfort and utility usage in mind. I know I’ve worked in many buildings where one floor is relatively comfortable, but go up or down a floor and you’re either freezing or burning up! I used to work on the “basement” level of one particular building in Lexington. It was always cold on that level, so I would bring a sweater to wear even though the outside temperatures were soaring into the 90’s! I would often have to go up to the third (and top) floor of the building only to have to shed the sweater and grab a notebook to fan myself. My colleagues would often find a reason to come to the basement just so they could escape the sweltering heat that defined the third floor. Now, I’m not sure what the utility bills were for that building, but I’m guessing they weren’t low!! PLUS, it seems logical that an employee who isn’t comfortable with the temperature he/she is working in, isn’t as productive as one who is! (I’m sure there are studies out there to support this, but I’m just using my own personal experience and common sense here.)
If you own a commercial building, a small storefront, large retail space, restaurant, hotel, office building or other business, the good news is that there are ways for businesses to save money on utility bills AND make their building more comfortable for those working in it….including your customers! Here’s a list of 10 energy saving tips for retail stores, restaurants, hotels, manufacturers, health care providers, schools and more!
- Trade in those inefficient fryers, deck ovens, griddles, steamers and exhaust hoods with energy star rated appliances. Check with your local utility company because some of them will offer rebates, even to businesses, if upgrading to energy star appliances.
- Install refrigeration curtains and automatic door closers on walk-in refrigerators and freezers and replace worn seals and gaskets on refrigerator and freezer doors.
- Clean evaporator and condensing coils every 30 days in food cooling units. Clean coils will lower utility bills and extend the unit’s life.
- Install occupancy sensors in general usage areas so that lights turn on only when a student/person is in that area and that turn off during non-school/business hours.
- Install dimmable ballasts to control the current passing through fluorescent lamps. Lower light levels use less energy and dimming enhances comfort for patients and employees.
- Install thermostat sensors on guest room air conditioning units and install water saving commodes, showerheads and faucets in the guest bathrooms of hotels.
- Install devices that automatically shut down to reduce peak demand and install small air compressors for low-use periods. (This is more for manufacturers and businesses with stationary machinery.)
- Use LED bulbs and exit signs and install inexpensive occupancy sensors in bathrooms and dressing rooms.
- Lighting is government building’s largest source of energy usage. Simply upgrading lamps and fixtures is a great place to start conserving energy.
- Install window film and blinds to keep the heat out of office spaces and switch to LED bulbs to decrease the amount of heat and air conditioning energy use.
Even the simplest and least expensive items (light bulbs) can make a big difference in the comfort and energy efficiency of your building. And remember, more and more utility companies are offering rebates to businesses for increasing energy efficiency. Give your local company a call to find out how this is handled in your area. I’ve heard that larger cities, like Atlanta, have utility company programs that are mainly focused on having businesses switch over to LED lighting and offer HUGE rebates for doing so.
The company I work for can help you make your business location even more comfortable and energy efficient by checking duct systems, window and door seals, and insulation. If the air inside your building (the air you want to maintain a certain temperature) is actually escaping out of your building, what does that say? It says your building is costing you money!! Nobody wants that to happen! When your building is not performing up to your standards, it causes your employees to be less productive….which also costs you money! Think about it: if your employees are freezing, they aren’t going to get as much work done…..maybe because they have to get a hot cup of coffee every half hour. If your employees are burning up, they won’t be as productive either. Heat can cause serious illnesses such as heat stroke, but, more often than not, it causes employees to feel sluggish which translates into a drop in productivity. PLUS, heat can make people irritable and nobody wants to be around someone who is irritated!
Another issues we have seen in many of the businesses we have worked with, is sound. Our technicians can also work with you to cut down on noise transfer between offices, for example. With all of the privacy laws out there, it is important to keep your client’s information private. Your customers will feel more comfortable knowing people in the office next door cannot hear what they are saying. If you can overhear conversations in adjoining offices, the company I work for can help.
We have worked on the offices in a manufacturing plant, attorney’s office, and dentist’s office. We have also worked on a hot yoga studio and an upscale salon. Why, the salon had monthly electric bills of $800 when the owner called us. After we completed this project, the owner was pleasantly surprised when her next bill was less than $300! Now, we can’t promise that kind of savings for everyone, but saving a little here and there can really add up! So, whatever kind of building you have, we can help!
In closing, although it doesn’t exactly feel like fall yet in Central Kentucky, shouldn’t we think ahead and take care of some “business” before the cooler temperatures arrive? I think so. After all, why put off until tomorrow what we can do today!