Finding ways to make your business more energy efficient is one of the fastest and easiest ways to improve your company’s financial performance, whether it is from reducing energy waste costs or boosting brand perception. In addition to these potential cost reductions, there are several other benefits to running a more energy efficient organization. Increasing numbers of consumers are deciding whether or not they use a company based on how sustainable or environmentally responsible they are. Some customers prefer brands that are associated with good environmental stewardship and they vote with their wallets.
Efficiency has its benefits for your internal customers as well – your employees. According to the Green Business Bureau, companies that promote a healthy workplace through efficiency as well as clean energy, green cleaning supplies, etc., report a 20 percent decrease in the number of employee sick days. This can contribute greatly to workplace productivity while saving you money paid out for medical bills. Efficiency measures have major positive economic, environmental and social implications for Nevada businesses: cost savings, positive brand perception and loyalty, healthier employees with better morale and increased productivity.
Energy Saving Tips
There are several simple no (or low) cost measures businesses can make to begin to reduce energy related operating costs. The following steps can result in a 10-50 percent decrease in your energy expenses:
• Set your thermostats to 78-80 degrees in the summer when your building is occupied and 85 degrees on nights and weekends. Allow your employees to wear
comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing.
• Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees.
• Use day-lighting whenever possible and ensure outside lights are turned off during the day.
• Set all office printers to doublesided printing as a default.
• Plant trees on the south and west sides of your facility.
• Inspect your facility for possible air leaks: check window caulking, door weather-stripping and pipe insulation. Investing a portion of that savings back
into further efficiency efforts can result in even greater reductions on your energy bills. The following tips can result in an additional reduction of up to 25 percent of your business’ energy expenses:
• Install double pane windows.
• Change out all incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent or LED lighting.
• Replace office appliances with ENERGY STAR-labeled products.
• Install occupancy sensors for lighting.
• Install ground source heat pumps.
• Install a solar PV system.
• Consider LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
Business Rebates & Incentives
Our local gas and electric energy providers encourage commercial energy efficiency through myriad rebate and incentive programs for their business customers:
• NV Energy’s Sure Bet program provides businesses with existing buildings incentives for lighting, cooling, refrigeration and vending machine controls. The utility also offers rebates for high performing commercial pumps and motors on pools, spas and other water fixtures.
• Southwest Gas offers its Nevada business customers rebates on energy-efficient equipment such as water heaters, high-efficiency restaurant appliances, fixtures and commercial energy audits. The following rebate and incentive programs are designed by the utilities specifically for small business customers:
• You can reduce hot water energy consumption by up to 50 percent by using solar energy. Southwest Gas’ Smarter, Greener, Better Solar Water Heating Program provides rebates to small businesses that install a solar thermal water heater.
• On the electrical side, NV Energy’s Cool Share program is another way for small businesses to earn incentives and save money through the installation of a web-programmable thermostat at your business that can be signaled to go into conservation mode during peak energy use times in the community. This helps the utility manage its demand while you earn incentives for participation. Local non-profit organizations can participate in utility efficiency programs as well. NV Energy is currently accepting grant applications from Nevada non-profits to fund energy efficiency retrofit projects that will help reduce energy costs. Eligible projects range from lighting retrofits to HVAC upgrades and more. For more information on implementing these programs and ideas in your business, vist cleanenergyprojectnv.org.
Written by Lauren Boitel, Clean Energy Project
Clean Energy Project is a non-profit, non-partisan, clean energy advocacy organization that works through research, education and outreach to the business community and the media on the economic benefits of developing solar, geothermal, wind and energy efficiency in Nevada. For more information, please see cleanenergyprojectnv.org