The recent recession had everyone looking for ways to save money and reduce energy consumption. As the economy settles into a new normal and begins to slowly improve, prudent business owners continue to monitor their expenses and strive for low energy costs. Now is a great time to be doing just that. Technology and decades of research are now making it possible to operate your business more efficiently than ever before. While you reevaluate your business plan for the new economy, also reevaluate your energy usage for the new year and beyond.
Get everyone involved
As the business owner or manager, you have a lot to oversee and many things vying for your attention at any given moment. It is easy to overlook or disregard little things that are adding up to a lot of wasted energy over the course of a year. Let each of your team members and employees know that you appreciate their input and suggestions about ways the company can save energy. They will appreciate being an integral part of the company’s success. Even without new ideas, you need everyone participating in your goal of low energy costs – turning off lights when leaving a room, turning off or unplugging electronics not in use, and so on.
Have a written plan
Having a written plan of action helps you stay focused on low energy costs for the long term. In addition to helping keep yourself accountable, you can use it to educate your employees about the energy saving policies you are initiating at your company. When you have a new employee orientation, it is easier to discuss your expectations. Having written guidelines eliminates the possibility of any employees not realizing that energy conservation is company policy and vital to the profitability of the business. Most people are glad to offer ideas on how to achieve low energy costs and help both the business and the environment.
Track energy usage
The best way to begin is with any energy audit. Check with your local utility company about free or low-cost evaluations they may provide to small businesses. There are many energy saving calculators online. By entering some basic information about your company, it can provide a few suggestions to lower energy use. Most also include a ball-park estimate of initial expense to make changes and an estimate of savings you can expect overtime. Schedule an inspection and test of your HVAC system with an experienced professional contractor. They will visit your location, run a diagnostic of your equipment’s performance, check for leaks in duct work, and provide a detailed report of their findings. You can then make an informed decision about any needed repairs or upgrades to your existing system. Many old heating and air conditioning units continue to operate even though they are far less efficient than newer models.
2015 HVAC Efficiency Standards
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has new HVAC efficiency standards for all residential and commercial equipment that is installed January 1, 2015 and after. The standards vary slightly by region of the country. For most areas, the old seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of 13 changes to 14 for all air conditioners. The standard for split-system HVAC units has changed from a SEER of 13 and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) of 7.7 to a SEER of 14 and 8.2 for the HSPF. The FTC EnergyGuide, also known as the yellow hang tag, that accompanies any new heating and cooling units must show the lowest and highest range for the combined condenser and certified coil configurations. This ensures that all components have an aggregate SEER rating that satisfies the new standards.
Use new technology
Until recently, energy management systems were thought to be for only large real estate management companies with multiple properties or for facilities with more than 100,000 square feet of space. This left small businesses with nothing more than programmable thermostats. In 2015, small and mid-size companies have many new options to help create detailed reports of their energy usage. With more small businesses being responsible for about half of all commercial energy usage, several companies are offering technology that can gather information about a small facilities HVAC equipment, lighting, and other essential electronics to help business owners who are serious about low energy costs. Most systems are easy to install and use cloud-based software so you can access information from anywhere and remotely control systems using your smartphone. With this technology being relatively new for small businesses, it is a good idea to discuss the different options with your HVAC contractor for which one can offer the best return on your investment.
Call Snyder Heating & Air Conditioning for a consultation or to schedule a test of your current system. We have more than 40 years experience serving the needs of Florida business owners. We want to earn and establish an ongoing business relationship with you and help your business operate as efficiently and profitably as possible.