Lighting the Way to Big Savings
For most small or medium-sized businesses, lighting provides the greatest opportunity for energy savings.
Here are some tips to reduce what you spend to light your business:
- Turn off lights when not in use
- Use task lighting when appropriate
- Replace lamps before they lose their effectiveness
- Remove unnecessary lights
- During cleaning, only light the area that's occupied
- Think about paint - consider painting with lighter colours to increase reflection and reduce lighting needs
- Add reflectors to overhead lights
- Use timers or photocells for outdoor security and parking areas
- Install dual switches and dimmers
- Adjust lighting levels to match your true needs
- Label your switches and electrical panels
- Leave on at all times
- Leave on during business hours only
- Leave on during occupancy hours only
- Install lighting occupancy sensors
- Clean and inspect your lighting systems regularly
The Facts about Exit Signs
Most traditional exit signs are lit by two incandescent lamps that draw approximately 30 watts of power. That means a single exit sign could cost you approximately $15 per year on your energy bills. Even more, because exit signs have to be on all the time, traditional incandescent lights burn out extremely fast (in less than one year) - so you're buying new bulbs and up on a ladder again in no time.
LED exit signs, on the other hand, use just 1 to 3 watts of power - about 90 per cent less than incandescents - and can be expected to last an amazing 60,000 to 100,000 hours, or 7 to 11 years. The result: your energy consumption goes down, you save money immediately on your monthly energy bills, and you reduce your operational and maintenance costs for years to come.
Here are no cost or low cost ways to stay warm and lower your energy consumption at the same time:
- Turn Down the Thermostat
Heating costs rise about five per cent for every degree above 20°C (68°F) that you set your thermostat. Simply turning your thermostat down a degree or two - and asking your employees to wear a sweater - can save you big time.< Depending on where your business is located, just turning the heat down from 21ºC to 16ºC at night can save as much as 10 per cent on your energy bills.
- Draftproof your business
Eliminate those little gaps, cracks and holes that let cold air into your building and you'll not only save money on your heating bills, you'll also make your business more comfortable, reduce inside moisture and help block outside noise. Inspect your business carefully and run your hand around windowsills, doors and exterior walls to feel for cold drafts. If you find them, you'll most likely need weatherstripping to block leaks around your doors and windows, and caulking to stop leaks in or around your window frames, along baseboards, and around pipes or vents.
- Apply weather-stripping around windows and doors
- Install energy-efficient windows and doors
- Consider window film
- Use window coverings effectively
Phantom load: arresting the invisible thief
All electronic devices - including computers, printers, modems, photocopiers, fax machines, televisions, cell phone chargers, coffee makers and anything else with a clock, timer, adapter, memory or remote control - continue to draw power even when you're not using them. If you've got a lot of devices at your workplace, that can really add up.
Here are two easy but effective ways to reduce your phantom load:
- Turn off your computers, monitors, printers, copiers and other equipment when they're not in use - especially nights and weekends
- Ban screensavers (which do not, in fact, save energy) and instead enable the "power save" or "sleep" mode on your computers
Conservation tips to create an energy-efficient office
Saving energy in the office starts with your choice of equipment.
- Buy ENERGY STAR® - When it's time to buy new equipment, always look for the ENERGY STAR® label. Because they use anywhere from 40 to 65 per cent less energy than non-ENERGY STAR models, the savings can be significant.
- Choose Laptops Instead of Desktops - A typical laptop computer has a maximum power consumption of about 15 watts and extensive power management capabilities. A typical desktop PC with display, on the other hand, consumes about 10 times that or 150 watts, and has limited power management features. Substitute laptops for desktops and you could save up to 90% or more.
- Select a Smaller Monitor - A large monitor uses more energy. Buy only the size you need.
- Consider a shared, black and white ink-jet printer - Laser printers consume a great deal of energy. Black and white ink-jets both cost less to buy and use less energy - and their quality is getting better all the time. You also may be able to make do with a shared printer, rather than a printer at every workstation.