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How to Reduce Your Business’s Electric Bill & Carbon Footprint

Solar for Businesses | 6 min read

What if there was something you could do at your business that reduced your overhead and attracted more customers at the same time?

What if that something also helped save the environment, too?

We have good news for you: you can accomplish this goal by implementing the 4 tips shared below.  

By implementing a few practices, you can slash your business’s electric bill and reduce its carbon footprint. By going green, you can give your brand a boost by appealing to the 66% of consumers who are willing to spend more money on a brand that values sustainability, or the 48% of consumers who would change their buying habits to reduce their environmental impact.

You can also start saving money each month on your electric bill, which frees up money to invest elsewhere in your business.

Here’s how:

  • Optimize Your Heating & Cooling System
  • Don’t Underestimate Efficient Appliances and Lighting
  • Get a Handle on Demand Charges
  • Reduce Energy Expenses and Carbon Footprint with Solar Energy

Optimize Your Heating and Cooling System

While big industrial equipment may take the cake for the largest use of electricity at your business, temperature control probably still makes up a large portion of your bill. Attacking this cause head-on could reduce the amount of electricity you use each month.

New heating and cooling systems are becoming increasingly more efficient as technology continues to advance, but there may be less expensive ways to get a hold of your climate control.

Keep the Air Flowing with Clean Air Filters

Air filters extract the dirt, dust, and other particulates from the air. Depending on the type of work your business does, these filters could be getting clogged up in just a few weeks. Clogged-up air filters require your HVAC system to work a little harder to keep up with the temperature setting, which means higher energy bills.

Your business’s filters could be changed up to once a month if your work requires particles to hang in the air, such as grease, smoke, or fine particles from manufacturing. You should regularly check your air filter to make sure it’s clean enough for air to flow freely.

Keep Items from Blocking Air Vents

Do a quick inspection of all the air vents in your facility and look for items that may be blocking intakes or outtakes. Making sure that they are clear can ensure the system’s airflow is not disrupted, which means it doesn’t have to work extra hard to compensate.

Additionally, make sure these vents remain open. Whether it be equipment, desks, boxes, or papers, blocking the airflow to and from your unit can result in up to 25% more energy being used to maintain the temperature of your business.

Assess Where Hot and Cool Air Can Escape

The money you spend on keeping your business at a comfortable temperature shouldn’t be wasted, but with drafty buildings, this money can quite literally fly right out the window. Take a walk around and feel for where the air is escaping, then take actions to keep it in. Window treatments, blinds, weatherstripping, or other weatherproofing measures can be a quick and inexpensive way to make your business more efficient.

Places to pay particular attention to are windows, doors, attics/garages, vent or fan hoods? and exterior walls. Be sure to seal up any cracks that may be letting air escape outside and insulate wherever possible. Fixing these areas is relatively inexpensive but it could save you up to 20% on your electric bills.

Even something as simple as drawing the blinds or curtains can help keep warm or cool air from escaping.

Adjust the Temperature with Smart Thermostats

Many business owners are surprised by how much even a small adjustment to the thermostat can save them. Over eight hours, each degree the thermostat is set back can save you up to 1% on energy costs.

Smart thermostats help save money on your electric billIf you don’t want to sacrifice the comfort of your employees and customers, you can set the heat to a lower temperature or the air conditioning to a higher temperature during the hours your business is not operational. To make this even easier, invest in a programmable or smart thermostat. These devices allow you to program the temperature in your business throughout the day, automatically adjusting based on your energy goals. With a smart thermostat, you can regularly adjust the temperature from a convenient app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer, no matter where you are.

However, if you have a multi-stage heat pump or electric elements for backup on your heat pump, don’t change your setpoint significantly, as this can actually take more electricity to heat the space back up.

Don’t Underestimate Efficient Appliances and Lighting

While heating and cooling are often a good place to start, taking a look at smaller devices could still have a big impact on your electricity usage. As technology improves, energy-efficient alternatives are becoming more and more affordable.

Use Energy Efficient Appliances & Equipment

Whether it’s a dishwasher in your break room or a projector in your conference room, making energy-conscious decisions when purchasing appliances can help save money and can reduce your carbon footprint.

Energy efficient appliances help reduce electric billsWhen buying new appliances or equipment, keep in mind that they have two price tags: the one to make the initial purchase, and the one to keep that item running. While more efficient tools may cost more upfront, they will likely make up for it and then some over the course of their lifetime, while also being better for the environment.

Look for appliances with the Energy Star logo, or ones that have an energy-saving or eco mode.

Replace Lights with LEDs or CFLs

If your business is still running on incandescent bulbs, you may be paying much more for lighting than you need to. While a lamp here and an overhead light there may not seem like a big contributor to your energy expenses or your carbon footprint, they could be using up to 80% more energy than alternatives.

LEDs and CFLs have become much more affordable in recent years. With their years-longer lifespan, it’s even easier to justify the higher upfront cost. A 12-watt LED bulb will last up to 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb and will use 25-80% less energy. If LEDs are still more than you’re willing to spend, look into the less-expensive CFLs. While they don’t last as long as LEDs, they are an efficient alternative to incandescents.

Comparison of electric usage by lightbulb type

Depending on your financial goals, you could make one big sweep, replacing all your lightbulbs with LEDs. If you’re looking for something less demanding, try doing it gradually. As each incandescent bulb burns out, replace them with a long-lasting and efficient LED. You’ll hardly notice the few extra dollars spent on each lightbulb.

If you’re looking to go a step further, you can take lighting efficiency to the next level by installing motion-sensing lights. These will help make sure you aren’t paying to light a room that no one is in.

Get a Handle on Demand Charges

Many large pieces of equipment that run on electricity don’t run on a consistent rate. The energy they draw varies depending on what they’re doing. For some, they draw the most power when they’re first switched on.

If you’re turning on a few of these machines at once, the amount of electricity you need in that moment is much greater than the electricity you need throughout the day. That moment is known as your peak demand period, and utility companies charge you extra for electricity during that time. These are known as demand fees, and they can add up quickly to make up a significant portion of your energy bill.

Learn more about how to cut your demand charges with solar storage

The first step to reducing your demand charges is to first understand when your peak demand period is and what pieces of equipment are contributing to them. Reach out to your utility company to have them provide a detailed breakdown of your energy consumption.

Then, see what you can do to reduce the amount of electricity you use during your peak demand period. Whether that’s staggering when you turn on big pieces of equipment or turning off anything that isn’t needed during that peak time (like lights in other rooms), anything you can do to get the kilowatt-hours used during your peak demand period down will help you save money on your electric bill.

Reduce Energy Expenses and Carbon Footprint with Solar Energy

With alternative energy, you can essentially eliminate the carbon footprint caused by your business’s electricity usage, and you can dramatically reduce your energy bill. One of the most common alternative energy sources is solar energy.

Solar panels are relatively simple to install and have proven their dependability over several years of widespread use. They’re also low-maintenance and start saving businesses in the first year with additional benefits like tax credits, accelerated depreciation, and SRECs (where available).

Depending on how much electricity you use, how much you pay for that electricity, and what incentives are available in your area, a solar energy system can save your business thousands of dollars over its 30+-year span. It can also dramatically shrink your carbon footprint.

With over 1,400 solar systems installed, it’s typical for our commercial solar customers to see double-digital ROIs on their solar investment. How does the return on a solar investment compare to other investments?

Studies have found that the average annual return on S&P 500 stocks are about 10%, but since 1998, returns have ranged from a high of 25% to a low of -38.5%. There are a lot of variables that go into making a good investment in the stock market. The only variables that go into making a good investment in solar energy? Increasing utility bills and the sun shining. Those are odds we’d take any day.

Link to case studies about solar energy

If you go solar with Paradise Energy, you can opt-in to our Triple Ten Guarantee, which includes a ten-year production guarantee. This basically guarantees the ROI of your investment in solar for the first ten years. If your solar system doesn’t produce what we predicted, we’ll write you a check for the difference.

In 2021, your business can go solar for 26% less thanks to the federal government’s Solar Investment Tax Credit. But in 2023, this tax credit steps back to just 22%, and in 2024, it steps back to just 10%.

If you want to substantially decrease both your monthly electric bill and carbon footprint, this is the year to do it.

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