If you're the owner of a small business, you're likely always on the lookout for ways to reduce the amount of money you pay toward overhead expenses like rent (or a commercial mortgage) and utilities. An increase in utility costs, property taxes, or your rent could cut into your bottom line and reduce your profits, hampering your ability to expand your business in the future. Fortunately, advances in technology have helped make many products and processes more efficient even as energy rates rise. Read on for some investments you can make in your business's infrastructure and software to significantly reduce your energy costs.
What products are available to help control the amount of electricity your business uses?
Unless your business is a production facility that uses electricity to power a variety of machines, it's likely that a good portion of your electricity costs are due to energy "vampires" (electronic devices left plugged in but turned off) or items like computers, printers, and fax machines that are left on round-the-clock. For example, simply leaving a cell phone charger plugged into an outlet uses approximately 10 percent of the electricity used when the charger is actually doing the work of charging your cell phone. If you have a number of electronic items your business uses infrequently, you may want to plug these items into a single power strip rather than using various outlets. This will allow you to toggle off your power strip when you're not using these devices, preventing them from using any electricity until the power strip is turned back on.
Installing power manager software onto your computer can also help control the amount of electricity siphoned off by power vampires, along with your computers themselves. This software can allow your computers to save browsing sessions to disk and shut down your computers after a brief period of inactivity, allowing you to resume your session in seconds while pausing your computer's use of electricity when not in use.
Another common culprit behind high energy costs can be heating and cooling inefficiencies. If your business is vacant after closing hours and your inventory doesn't require storage at a specific temperature, turning the thermostat to a lower temperature in winter, higher temperature in summer, or simply off altogether can allow you to avoid paying climate control costs for hours when your building is vacant. However, you may find that you have to arrive at your business hours before opening to get the temperature up (or down) to a comfortable range for your customers.
Smart (or wirelessly-controlled) thermostats and building management systems are a great solution to this dilemma. Instead of manually turning your heater or air conditioner on and setting the desired temperature, you'll be able to monitor and control your building's temperature from anywhere with a wireless connection, using your computer, tablet, or even smartphone. This ensures that no energy is wasted and can allow you to make periodic adjustments throughout the day to maximize your customers' comfort while reducing energy costs (for example, lowering the heat setting during a winter afternoon when your store is crowded and temperatures are running high).
Are there any other ways to help reduce your business's energy costs?
In addition to the devices and software you can purchase to help control your energy costs, your local utility provider or government may also be able to provide some assistance. In fact, the federal government has even put forth an incentive program for businesses that take efforts to control the amount of energy used by computers through the purchase and installation of a power manager program. If you take part in this (or another) incentive program, you may be able to recoup many of the initial expenses you incurred when purchasing technology to cut energy costs.
For more information, contact a power manager software company like SHAVLIK.
As soon as I started a new job, I realized that I should spend a little time honing my technology skills. I wasn't that familiar with the program that the rest of my team was using, but I knew that understanding the jargon would significantly help my career. To sharpen my technology skill set, I started staying after work to practice different aspects of the software. It took me a few months, but eventually I knew the program better than anyone else at work. My blog is all about learning more about technology, so that you can stand out from the crowd.