Whether you know it or not, your electricity consumption actually does impact your bottom line. Understandably, depending on the size of your building and the commercial activity will consume more electricity than a home and paying that bill is a business cost, but are all those things necessary?
Misuse of energy within your property, does not only add unnecessary costs to your budget, but also emits additional carbons on the environment and having a serious negative impact on the way it functions.
Take a moment and walk through your property with the deliberate intention of assessing how the electricity is used. The wastage you find will be the key to lowering your bill.
Here are a few things you should focus on specific arears and what will become long-term energy savings changes.
Get an audit
It is always more efficient to make informed decisions. Robert Senyonga, an electrician recommends getting an energy audit done. He says the electricity distributor can provide engineers who do this for free or at a small fee depending on the type of audit the organisation wants.
“There are different levels of audits; the first one gives a better understanding of the facility’s energy consumption, focuses on operation and maintenance practices. It will can help you figure out where your money is going every month, how to increase energy efficiency and how to lower electric bills,” says Senyonga.
The second and third levels are according to Senyonga more complex and identify and provide a savings and cost analysis for practical measures that meet the organisation’s budget, replacement of equipment such as air conditioners and changes to operation and maintenance procedures.
Even before getting an audit, it is advisable to always turn lights off when you leave a room and when you leave your office. Wilberforce Etyang, an office manager says by encouraging staff to always switch off the lights when they leave a room he notices a drop in the bill.
“We asked staff to switch off light and air conditioners when no one is in the room. For outdoor lights, you can get motion and light detecting lights that will only turn on at night time and when someone is in the area,” he advises.
He similarly urges people to switch off electric equipment such as computers when not in use.
“Leaving monitors and computers at the end of the day means they are still consuming energy even when not in use, encourage your staff to turn off their monitors if will be away from their desks for more than ten minutes,” Etyang advises.
He further recommends replacing all your lights at home and at your business premises with the more energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) products.
Another way to lower the electricity bill is by resorting to natural lighting. “Open the blinds around your propertiesand let the daylight in. not only is it healthier it is also effective in reducing lighting needs during daytime hours,” he says.
Etyang recommends removing any lighting that might not be necessary in the office building. For instance you might have two lights in the office pantry yet one can light efficiently.
Purchase energy-efficient office equipment
Energy efficient devices cost more up front but over years of use, they are going to save you money.
This holds true for any equipment that run on electricity – spending a little more can result in significant savings over years. When buying office equipment such as computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, scanners and copiers look for those that can run much more efficiently and automatically power down during extended inactivity. That can help you save 50 per cent or more in energy use on these power-hungry devices.
And, if your old heater or air conditioner is not working at maximum efficiency, it could draw unnecessary power, which also costs you money. Replace any old heaters and AC units with Energy Star models.
Look for a printer that has a sleep mode and automatic shut-off mode. Both can ensure that the printer is not using energy during the times when no one is printing.
Choose a printer with various quality settings — sometimes you do not need a high quality print version of a document, which uses the most ink and energy. Having options for print quality means you can save on energy and costs.
Stand-by is an energy-inefficient mode. Where equipment is used infrequently throughout the day or week, remember to switch off at the wall to reduce this electrical load.
Screen savers do not save energy, try to make sure the power settings on the computer are set to turn the display off, rather than simply switch to a screen saver.
Chargers left turned on at the wall still consume a small amount of electricity, even if they are not charging anything.
Educate your employees regarding energy saving features of air conditioners, printers, and microwaves and let them use those features to cut energy costs. Discard old gadgets if they do not have it and buy energy efficient peripherals.
Take control of your a/c
Clean your A/C’s condenser/evaporator coils at the beginning of the season.
Clean coils will lower your energy costs, extend the unit’s life, and provide cleaner air for you to breathe.
The fin coils on the outside A/C unit can be washed with a hose. Coils on inside units are best serviced by a trained technician.
Keep debris, high grass and other obstacles away from the condenser so that airflow to the unit is not blocked.
Blockage will make the condenser work harder and run longer.
One of the best ways to save energy is to use less air conditioning. Each degree cooler or warmer will increase your energy use by 6 to 8 per cent.
Additional reporting from www.conserve-energy-future.com