Saving Energy for Business

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To help Ontario’s small businesses become more energy efficient, manage costs and save money, the province has developed a Five-Point Small Business Energy Savings Plan. Read Helping Small Businesses Save Energy.

Smart business means keeping your costs low, and that includes saving on energy. Unsustainable practices and inadequate equipment maintenance can cost hundreds of dollars in lost revenue each year while unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions hurt the environment. Visit saveONenergy.ca to find out how you can save energy in your business.

Remember these main conservation ideas:

  1. Shift electricity use to off-peak periods.
    With smart meters and time-of-use pricing, you can save money by switching some of your energy use to mid- and off-peak hours when electricity prices are lower.
  2. Unplug electronic items not in use.
    Many electronic items — TVs, computers, photocopiers — continue to consume small amounts of electricity unless they are unplugged. Try plugging these items into a power bar with a switch, so you can easily turn them off when they are not in use.
  3. Choose energy-efficient products.
    ENERGY STAR® appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs consume less electricity, so your costs will be reduced.
  4. Talk about energy conservation.
    Train staff on energy conservation business practices, such as temperature control and appropriate lighting. In addition, renters and landlords should work together on energy efficiency to reduce energy bills for all parties.

We also encourage you to review our household conservation tips as many will apply in your business too.

Follow us on Twitter for daily tips on how you can conserve energy.

Heating and cooling

  • a building with a few lights onClose the door. An open door may entice some customers into your store, but it consumes a lot of energy and costs you money.
  • Install a programmable thermostat with a built-in timer. In the winter, set the heat down by a few degrees when your business is not open.
  • In the summer, set your thermostat to 25°C instead of the low 20s. Use a portable fan and/or ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioner to stay cool and save energy. Relax your dress code to keep employees comfortable.
  • Consider getting a heat recovery system to reduce heat lost from air exiting your building through the ventilation system exhaust. You could save up to 60-70 per cent of heat lost through air ventilation with an air-to-air heat exchanger, particularly for kitchen exhaust ventilation.

Equipment and appliances

  • A person using a cell phone and a laptopTurn equipment, computers, monitors, photocopiers and appliances off when they are not in use. Electronic items continue to consume small amounts of electricity unless they are unplugged. Try plugging these items into a power bar with a switch, so you can easily turn them off when they are not in use.
  • If you have a large walk-in refrigerator, consider installing a humidity control system to increase temperature by two to four degrees. Because walk-ins are usually storing fresh food or meat, humidity and temperature must be kept at the proper levels to preserve food quality. Check with your appliance supplier.
  • If you have a compressed air system, check it for leaks. A small leak of only 0.8 millimetres can waste up to $100 per year.

Buying a new monitor?
Replace worn out computer systems and monitors with ENERGY STAR® models, and save up to 75 per cent of the energy typically consumed by their conventional counterparts. For example, a flat-panel, liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor consumes less than half the energy a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor does.

Buying a new appliance?
Consider energy savings in your buying decision. Look for the EnerGuide label when making your next appliance purchase. Also, look for ENERGY STAR® models. ENERGY STAR- qualified appliances exceed minimum federal energy efficiency standards for energy consumption by at least 10 per cent, which will save you more money in the long run.

Lighting

  • Replace older T12 technology lights with newer T8 lights to save 25 per cent on operating costs. You will also eliminate the buzz from magnetic ballasts of T12 lights as you switch to the electronic ballast of T8 lights. Dispose of older ballasts and fixtures in an environmentally friendly manner as magnetic ballasts can contain PCBs, and fluorescent bulbs contain small amounts of mercury.
  • As a lower cost (but less efficient) alternative to full replacement, remove unneeded light bulbs in areas with excess lighting levels, such as near windows, in hallways and in areas with no furniture. Adjust lighting levels by removing either the two outermost light bulbs or the inner pair from each four-bulb fluorescent fixture and keep a uniform lighting pattern for the ceiling. Save even more by purchasing lower wattage bulbs.
  • Add reflectors on fluorescent tube light fixtures to increase the effectiveness of lighting, which often allows for lower wattage and/or fewer bulbs.Two people changing office lights
  • Add occupancy sensors in areas such as store rooms and warehouses.
  • Replace pot lights (recessed downlights) with compact fluorescent light bulbs as pot lights are inefficient and trap most of the light the bulb produces. Alternatively, ensure pot lights are properly air-sealed, insulated and separate from the insulation, to ensure safety and prevent excessive loss of heating/cooling from the building. Special sealing boxes are available for this purpose.
  • Replace traditional EXIT signs with newer light emitting diode (LED) signs. By law, EXIT signs must be lit whenever the building is occupied, so they are often lit 24 hours a day. LED bulbs are more expensive, but they can last up to 10 years.
  • Decorate you business with LED lights during the holidays to reduce energy costs by up to 85 per cent.