While your kitchen may be by far the biggest energy user, it is by no means the only thing that racks up your monthly bills. Paying a little attention to some of the other energy drains in your business can help bring your overall energy use down considerably.
Some tips to help you manage those costs:
- Use fans instead of the central unit. For every degree you adjust your thermostat, you can save 4% – 5% on heating or cooling bills. Energy Star rated ceiling fans are a great way to circulate air and allow you to turn your thermostat up or down depending on the time of year. Use fans to bring in cooler outside air when you need to cool things down, or use them to circulate hot air from the kitchen when you need to heat things up.
- Conduct regular maintenance on central air units. Clean the heat transfer coils on air conditioning every month. Clean or replace air filters regularly. A dirty air filter not only makes the unit work harder, but it can affect the air quality in your building as well.
- Repair and seal ducting. Leaky ducts means the air you spent all that money heating or cooling is escaping before it gets to your customer. Regularly check ducts for leaks and seal them as needed.
- Set up a service contract with a local company to check and service ducts and the central air unit if you don’t have the time or energy for do-it-yourself.
- Install an Energy Star thermostat. Programmable thermostats automatically reduce heating or cooling for non-business hours, saving you money and time over a manual thermostat.
- Use windows to your advantage. Ideally, you should use Energy Star rated windows with the proper solar energy heat gain coefficient (SHGC). Low SHGC windows are used in places with long, hot summers to minimize solar heat and reduce cooling costs. High SHGC windows are used where there is a long, cold winter to maximize solar heat and reduce heating costs. If you are remodeling or starting a new business, use Energy Star to help you select energy efficient windows.
Since budgets and buildings usually aren’t in sync, use the following tips to help you make do with what you have:
- Use a UV-resistant window film, blinds, and curtains to insulate and reduce heat gain. These techniques vary in cost and effectiveness, with the best solution probably being a combination according to your specific needs. No matter what, use something that allows you to block sunlight when it’s hot and add an extra layer or insulation when it’s cold.
- Have new windows professionally installed. Framing and insulating new windows can make a huge difference in maintaining green heating or cooling.
- Also caulk and seal existing windows annually to maintain an airtight barrier between your customers and outside weather.
- Buy Energy Star skylights and doors. Just like with your windows, regularly check and seal doors and skylights to minimize air leaks and reduce your heating and cooling costs.