Energy bills are increasingly taking a bigger chunk out of small business budgets. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average monthly commercial bill in 2015 was $670 nationwide. The lowest average energy bill was in Idaho at $382, and the District of Columbia came in as the highest at a whopping $3,233. No matter what state your business happens to be in, it can be a costly expenditure for a small business.
Constellation offers many options to help your small business save energy.
You can also lower how much you pay by being proactive, using energy-efficient devices and monitoring your energy usage. The following 20 energy apps, tools, platforms and websites (all available with a related app or in-app format) will help you monitor how your small business uses energy so you can make the necessary changes to lower your monthly bill.
Energy Consumption Analyzer
This app can calculate the average rate of consumption for your home or business on a monthly, weekly, daily or hourly basis. A graph displays the entire history of power consumption. You can highlight unusually high periods by color coding and add annotations in the app for future reference.
It calculates average normalized rates between two readings of consumption per hour, day, week or month to create a graph showing usage over time. The app can display the amount of energy used or monetary value. The app is available for Android platforms at Google Play.
The ENERGY STAR® initiative has saved billions of dollars with energy-efficient technology. CodeGreen Energy is an app designed to compare the energy efficiency of thousands of buildings to determine if they are compliant with new laws by showing the ENERGY STAR® score.
CodeGreen gives businesses and consumers information on the current state of compliance for a building, as well as when it will be ready by sending updates. The app is available in Android and iOS platforms. If you are relocating your business, the information the app may help you save on heating and cooling costs by finding compliant buildings.
Energy Tracker can manage and evaluate meter readings to record your electricity, water, gas and heat consumption. It detects date and meter readings automatically to provide a graphical analysis of daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly readings.
It then creates a report with saving potential by comparing daily and monthly trends throughout the year for up to three years. You can get the app for iOS.
Energy Cost Calculator
If you want to drill down into the amount of energy your business (or home) consumes, Energy Cost Calculator is an option. It can calculate the operating cost and energy usage of electric equipment and machinery.
The app can calculate the cost per day, week, month or year so you can budget your energy bill with greater accuracy. You can get the app on Android and iOS.
TED or The Energy Detective has been called the most comprehensive real-time electricity monitor on the planet by Popular Mechanics magazine. The TED device is installed inside the breaker panel, and it communicates over existing power lines delivering a +/- 1 percent accuracy in the readings.
The data it collects is processed in real-time and it can be accessed on PCs, Android, and iOS devices, as well as Alexa.
Smart thermostats allow you to control the heating and air conditioning in your home or business remotely. They can also be programmed to adjust to changing weather conditions while keeping track of how much energy you are using in real-time.
Nest Mobile, Ecobee Smart Thermostat and EnergyHub Thermostat are just three of the current slate of smart thermostats available on the market place. Their apps are available on iTunes and Google Play stores.
EnergySaver brings together electricity, water and natural gas usage with detailed reports. It also lets you create profiles for different times of the year so you can see your expenditure through the seasons.
If you want to add an appliance, it can predict how much it will cost you to run it. According to the app creators, it can also identify phantom loads with suggestions on how to lower them. You can get it on Android and iOS.
Energy Monitor Pro
The Energy Monitor Pro app comes from Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation. This app brings together consumers and utility companies to lower energy use during peak times for improving grid efficiency.
The comprehensive demand management solution for utilities makes energy use visible so you can see your energy usage with more accuracy for everything from your electric vehicle to solar panels. The app is available on Android and iOS.
Light Bulb Finder
Lighting a business for 10 plus hours every day consumes a lot of energy, especially if energy-efficient bulbs are not used. Light Bulb Finder is an app that lets you find the best lighting technology for your particular need.
The app provides bulb images, cost, savings and the environmental impact of each lighting technology. You can visit the website to get the app.
The ENERGY STAR® program is part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) effort to help consumers save on energy cost and protect the environment with policy driven innovation in appliances.
The website (and its mobile app version) is a resource for making your business more energy efficient, including ways to receive tax credits by purchasing and deploying the most efficient solutions. In 2015 alone it has delivered savings of $34 billion on utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 63 million vehicles.
OhmConnect is a free service created to save you energy at specific times, and reward you for it. The service offsets the effects of dirty power plants by notifying you when you should save energy.
If you save energy for 30 or more minutes, you can get $100 – $300 per year. The app also allows you to automate smart devices to improve energy usage. The goal is to run your home or business with clean energy.
In order to lower the amount of energy you waste, you have to see where it is happening. Panoramic Power provides real-time visibility into electrical energy usage at the individual circuit level.
The technology identifies and reduces energy and operational expenses across multiple sites by detecting and reporting excess energy usage. The company has solutions geared for specific industries, including restaurants, merchandise retail, grocery and supermarkets, and more. You can monitor your energy usage on Android, iOS and PCs.
The Eyedro business electricity monitor tracks usage across a range of applications in the workplace. The platform creates reports with insights for making informed decisions on power usage and cost profile.
According to the company, it will help businesses manage costs, uncover waste and improve productivity.
The Eco-eye business monitor has a non-contact current transformer to measure the current of the wires it is monitoring. It samples the current many times per second and sends a reading to the display.
You can get readings of the energy you are using in kilowatt hours, kilogram of CO2 and money. The company says it will improve energy management in the workplace, bring about behavioral changes in the workforce and deliver at least 15 percent in energy efficiency.
The Entronix Energy Management Platform provides fault-detection, billing, maintenance, budgeting and more with automatic reporting. The energy dashboard can be customized to display many different types of data in charts, graphs and gauges.
The app can be scheduled to send the reports it generates automatically via email or when events take place. You can also set alarms and notifications, which can be delivered via text message or email, if billing or other data being tracked goes beyond the established settings or if there is a malfunction. The app is available for Android, iOS and PCs.
Hancock Software has a suite of applications for maximizing energy savings by recommending energy upgrades, calculating savings, automating incentives and retrofitting reimbursements.
The technology the company has developed is used by contractors, energy-efficiency providers, utility companies, and others. The solution works on all mobile devices for collecting and customizing data on a specific program, project or building type.
The company says, so far it has processed more than 250,000 projects and saved around $800 million in energy usage.
The Carbon Accounting Company
If you want to keep an accurate track of the impact the operations of your business have on the environment, The Carbon Accounting Company has the solution. The company offers everything from carbon and water footprints, to supply chain analysis, life-cycle assessments, carbon offset projects and more.
It also provides energy and utility management with its Utility InSite software-as-a-service for monitoring utilities, energy consumption analysis, reporting and bill payments. This is a comprehensive platform for keeping track of how your business uses energy, the impact it has on the environment and the solutions needed to make improvements.
The vast majority of businesses, if not all, have PCs. PowerPlug improves the energy usage of PCs by making them available when they are in standby mode. The Israeli-based company has developed an innovative solution for making computers at the office accessible without running at full capacity.
A patented Wakeup Portal, allows employees to remotely wake up and access PCs, even from shutdown mode.
According to the company, a PC on standby mode consumes 5 watts per hour compared to a PC that’s left to stand idle at 90 watts per hour, which is almost 20 times more. This can translate to real-world savings of $40 to $60 annually for each PC.
Gridpoint Energy Management System
The Energy Management System by Gridpoint tracks energy usage by monitoring levels during billing periods to identify waste or inefficiencies to lower utility costs. The platform delivers asset-level sub-metering, monitoring and data collection for a complete picture of energy use in a building.
The cloud-based software can be deployed easily, and you can access it from anywhere on Android and iOS mobile devices. This includes being able to perform, optimize and track temporary control overrides.
Energy Watchdog tracks, analyzes, and reports on all of your utility bills, including electric, natural gas, fuel oil, steam, propane, water, sewer and even telephone.
The platform lets you track any utility bill from any utility company with automated bill audits. You can establish benchmarks to find saving opportunities, forecast usage and find where too much energy is being used.
The app doesn’t limit the number of users. They can access reports anytime and anywhere with their mobile devices or PCs.
The cost of electricity is not going to go down. The EIA has reported between 2005 and October of 2015, commercial and residential electricity prices have increased by 18.5 and 34 percent respectively. If any other segment of your business expenditure increased by close to 20 percent annually, you would do all you can to lower it. And when it comes to your energy bill, you can.
Disclosure: Brand names and product names are trademarks or service marks of their respective holders.