With office parties to organize and gifts to send out to employees, clients and customers, things can get hectic for businesses during the holidays, as well as expensive. With a little bit of effort and know-how, one expense businesses can cut down and make savings on is electricity.
If you are interested in reducing this unavoidable business expense during the holiday season, take a look at the following ways to save on electricity during this busy time of year.
Create an Energy Checklist
One of the first things you should do to try and help your business consume less electricity during this festive period is to create an energy checklist. This checklist should cover every element of your business’s energy-usage.
Some of the principal items your energy checklist should include are heating, lighting, drafts and ventilation, equipment, gas and electricity. When creating an energy checklist ahead of the holiday season you should visit every room in your business premises, adding everything — including lighting and equipment — that will affect your energy consumption so you can effectively winterize your business .
Use Power Strips to Power Holiday Decorations
Holiday lights and neon decorations bring some festive cheer into a business space. However, these energy-sapping items can also add dollars to energy bills! Even when lights and electronics aren’t on, they draw energy, therefore costing businesses money. Help reduce this expense by plugging holiday decorations into a power strip and turning it off when they’re not being used.
Opt for LED lights
As the Department of Energy notes , LED lights consume 70 percent less energy than conventional incandescent lights . Consequently, lighting a tree in the office for 12 hours a day for 40 days would cost $0.27 compared to the $10 it would cost to light the same tree with incandescent bulbs. It’s a no brainer!
Use Rechargeable Batteries
Rather than plugging holiday decorations into the electrical mains, use battery-powered decorations instead. Rechargeable batteries prove more cost-effective than conventional batteries and will mean you’re not relying on electricity.
Retain the Heat in Your Building
With the erratic weather around the holiday season, heating often needs to be operating at full throttle to keep everyone warm at work. Simply draft-proofing your premises  so doors and windows don’t let cold air in and warm air out helps make sure your heating system has less work to do. And less work for your heating system means less dollars to pay on energy bills!
Let There Be Light
Granted, the sunlight hours are fewer during the holiday season, but that’s not to say there isn’t any sunlight during working hours in December. Instead of relying on keeping lights turned on during the whole working day, try getting the optimum amount of daylight flooding into the office, shop, factory, or whatever business premises you operate.
This could mean opening the blinds to their fullest capacity, ensuring curtains are fully drawn, or removing any items and clutter from window ledges that may be hindering the natural light from coming through the windows.
Weatherproof Your Windows
And speaking of windows, they may be responsible for as much as 10 percent of the heat loss in a typical building, according to Green Spec . Consider ‘winterizing’ to reduce heat loss and thus ensure money for heating bills doesn’t vanish — literally into thin air!
You may want to think about installing more energy-efficient windows. Or you can reduce energy costs by enhancing their efficiency. This can be done by adding storm windows, caulking and weather stripping, advises the Department of Energy .
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Warm air circulating in the office is wasted if no one is there at the time. Make sure your business isn’t wasting money heating buildings that are vacant or rooms that are not in use. You can do this by installing a programmable thermostat  in your building. According to the Department of Energy , as much as 10 percent can be saved annually on heating and cooling costs by simply turning a thermostat down 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day.
Programmable thermostats give businesses greater control over their heating. You can essentially adjust the times on the thermostat, so it comes on and turns off at specific times of the day using a pre-set schedule. This means a building isn’t unnecessarily heated when nobody is occupying it, thereby saving businesses considerably amounts of money on energy bills.
Treat Your Business to an Energy Audit
Now’s the time to do an energy audit  of your business to ensure you save money on electricity and gas in time for the holiday season. A comprehensive energy audit will bring energy awareness to a company, identify where energy is going to waste, and put an action plan in place where energy can be saved. Conducting an energy audit in your business premises is one of the most cost-effective ways to help consistently reduce monthly expenditures on gas and electricity.
Think Wisely About Holiday Gadgets
Tablets use 70 percent  less power than laptops. If you have a Bring Your Own Device policy at work, encourage staff to bring in tablets to work from instead of energy-draining laptops. Or you may even want to think about supplying your staff with energy-efficient tablets to considerably reduce electricity costs around the holidays.
Install a Timer for Holiday Lights
Holiday lights flickering away on a tree with nobody there to enjoy them is a complete waste of money! Installing a light timer  in the office or other business premises allows you to turn lights on and off at specific times, meaning lights won’t be left on unnecessarily to drive up the electric bill..
Think About Energy Consumption in the Company Kitchen
‘Tis the season for overindulgence and therefore kitchens both at home and at work tend to be working overtime during the holidays. With colleagues gathering in the kitchen, eager to warm up mince pies to be shared around the office or make warm cups of hot chocolate in the afternoon, the energy costs can begin to rise.
Encouraging members of your staff to use common sense considerations, however, can help reduce energy costs in your office kitchen. For example, encourage employees to use the right size pot when cooking or heating food on stove burners as a simple way to reduce electricity costs. Ask employees to avoiding opening the oven door when cooking and therefore letting heat escape.
When it comes to saving energy, it’s often the simplest but most overlooked things  that can have the biggest impact.
For more, check out these additional holiday energy-saving tips  for the holiday season.
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