The holidays are quickly approaching, meaning less time to focus on the finer details of running your business and more time focusing on holiday shoppers.
As a small business owner, you know the holidays are a crucial time to your bottom line. However, as many found out during the Polar Vortex last year, it is easy to lose a significant portion of those profits to high energy costs. The average small business spends almost $8,000 a year on electricity alone. Here are 5 easy ways you can cut costs and be a more energy efficient business.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
During the hectic holiday season your thermostat’s temperature setting is the farthest thing from your mind –particularly with customers coming in and out. Programmable thermostats aren’t just for homes anymore and case studies have shown savings between 10-20% on average after installation. Today, most come with a mobile phone app that allows you to control them remotely. There are more thermostats on the market now than ever before and most of them can be found at any hardware store or online.
Check Your Current Contract With Your Electricity and Natural Gas Supplier(s)
Last year during the Polar Vortex several small business owners were hit with skyrocketing electricity costs because their business was on a variable rate plan. Now is the time to ensure you are on a fixed rate plan before the first winter storm of the season. If you wait until after the storm you could see electricity bills with rates up to 50% higher than you are currently paying.
For example, several utilities in Massachusetts have planned an increase in excess of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour for the default rate starting in November, currently default rates range from 8 to 10 cents. By signing a fixed rate agreement with a supplier you can ensure your supply rate stays the same all year.
Replace Conventional Lighting and Light Switches
LED lighting is one of the quickest ways small business owners can reduce their energy bill. The affect of the LED light is twofold. First, LED lights use up to 80% less electricity than the conventional halogen bulb. Second, LED lights put off significantly less heat than the conventional bulb meaning your A/C won’t have to work as hard when the summer comes around. While the upfront costs can be expensive, the savings are more than worth it. A recent study showed that LED lights cost an estimated $6 a year to power compared to almost $34 for the standard 75W incandescent bulb.
Additionally, adding timer’s to your light switches is one of the easiest ways you can positively impact your electricity bill. With the chaotic nature of the holiday season it is easy to forget to turn off the lights after leaving the office. Feel free to worry about one less minor detail with this trick.
Have Your HVAC Unit Inspected
The holidays are already stressful enough for all of us. Don’t add to that stress by having to schedule and pay for HVAC repairs in the middle of your busy holiday schedule. If your small business is in the retail industry it is also important to remember the comfort of your customers. Nothing is worse than going into a shop to beat the elements for a few minutes only to find out that the store is just as chilly as the weather outside.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Several studies have shown that consumers are anywhere from 40-60% more likely to purchase from a company that is concerned about its environmental impact. Whether its gift wrapping, extra printing paper, or cardboard boxes look for ways to reduce unnecessary consumption and recycle whenever possible. When companies consider their environmental impact in everything they do it becomes part of the culture. Not only will you cut costs by reusing certain materials, but you can add to your bottom line as well by appealing to a new demographic.
Eco Concept Photo via Shutterstock
On the note about an HVAC inspection, many companies offer promotions where they’ll do this for a very low fee so it’s not even a big commitment.
Energy is really important to your business as this is something that you pay for to fuel the continuous operations in your business.