5 Ways to Save Money by Cutting Back on Utilities

September 8, 2016

7:00 pm

When it comes to saving money, businesses often think about costly services employee salaries, and product price points. Unfortunately, cutting down on any of those could easily derail your company. Fortunately, there’s an easier opportunity you may be missing and it comes in the form of your office’s utility bills.

Over the years, there’s been a lot of talk about how homeowners can reduce their dependence on energy in order to save money. But very rarely is the same topic discussed in terms of commercial offices. The truth is that it’s just as important for businesses to lower their utility bills.

Let’s take a look at a few practical tips that both small and large offices can use.

Invest in Smart Appliances and Controls

If you own a large company that demands higher than average amounts of electricity in a short period of time, then you’re actually paying a premium. If you didn’t know, major U.S. companies are on commercial rates with their utility companies. Included in this rate is a demand charge. This charge is essentially a premium for companies that use lots of power during a short period of time. In other words, you’re paying extra for using power inconsistently, as opposed to a constant rate.

According to The Harvard Business Review, demand charges can account for 30-70 percent of your entire bill. There is a solution, though. By utilizing smart appliances and – more importantly – smart controls, you can shift loads without compromising the end use. This can ultimately reduce your electric bill by as much as 40 percent, saving you a boatload of money.

Use Fluorescent Bulbs

Did you know that compact fluorescent light bulbs consume 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, according to La Capitale? If you’re still using the latter throughout your office, then you’re wasting a ton of energy. There are two ways to approach this issue.

The first option is to go through your entire office building and replace every single bulb at once. This could cost you thousands of dollars up front, but will ensure you begin saving immediately. The second option is to simply replace light bulbs one by one as they go out. This obviously costs less on the front end, but also delays the savings.

Invest in Solar Power

If you’re really serious about reducing your dependence on energy, then you should consider investing in solar power. Solar energy is free, clean, and renewable – making it the ideal choice for offices of all sizes.

However, it should be noted that solar panels are expensive. Depending on where your office is located, what industry you’re in, and other relevant details, you may be able to get tax cuts and kickbacks to reduce some of the costs. But regardless, you’re going to pay a pretty penny. Solar panels last a long time and have very few issues. Plus, your monthly electricity bill will go down tremendously.

Encourage Remote Working

There’s been a huge increase in the number of employees who work remotely. While much of this is due to the development of new technologies – as well as a shift in culture – many companies are actually encouraging remote working because it allows them to reduce energy consumption.

When employees work from home, they use their own electricity and energy. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you compound it over multiple employees and many months, it can make a huge difference. There are obviously issues for some companies, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to encourage more remote working opportunities. It’s a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.

Conduct an HVAC Analysis

Did you know that as much as 30-40 percent of the air that flows through ducts actually leaks? This accounts for a huge amount of wasted electricity and ultimately drives up utility bills for many companies.

Your air duct system may not be this bad, but it’s worth taking a look at. Have an HVAC professional come out and run an analysis. By fixing leaks and other related issues, you can slash your electric bill pretty quickly and save you a lot of money.

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Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, iMediaConnection.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. When she isn't writing, she's outside on her bike and contemplating her eventual trip to graduate school. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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