U.S. small businesses collectively spend a whopping $60 billion on energy every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program. The retail industry consumes approximately $20 billion in energy annually.
What’s more, a survey commissioned by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) discovered that energy costs are a top-three business expense for more than one-third of the nation’s small businesses.
There is good news, however, in that you do not have to spend a fortune on a retail energy management solution that will take years to recoup your money. Small businesses can take advantage of simple tips that will reap considerable energy savings. In fact, small businesses could decrease their energy expenses between 10 percent and 30 percent through competitive rates, straightforward efficiency upgrades, and simple behavioral adjustments. This can be accomplished without sacrificing service and comfort!
Here are some common-sense energy savings measures your business can take that could bring about significant results.
Top 11 No-Cost Retail Energy Management Tips
- Shut your lights off when your business is not operating.
- Use natural lighting when possible. Open blinds and curtains.
- Decrease lighting in non-customer areas like stockrooms and employee restrooms.
- Make sure exterior doors are closed.
- Avoid increasing the heat too much or having the air conditioner too low. By just reducing the cooling on your AC unit by one degree, you could save 4 percent to 5 percent on energy usage.
- Assess your retail operation hours to determine if it is helpful to open later or close earlier as you balance sales versus operational costs.
- Always make sure to turn off equipment, such as cash registers, when not in use.
- Shut off vending machines containing non-refrigerated products when the store is closed.
- Discard seldom-used phone/FAX lines.
- Keep HVAC vents and registers clear of debris.
- Recruit your employees for your energy savings initiatives.
LOW-COST Energy Management for Retail Stores
After realizing how you can save a significant amount of money on energy costs, you should consider retail energy management strategies that do not require a huge capital outlay.
Top 11 Low-Cost Retail Energy Management Tips
- Be sure your windows and doors are properly insulated, sealed, and close securely.
- Install energy-efficient lighting instead of incandescent lights. Switch to T8 Florescent bulbs that use 40 percent to 50 percent less energy than older florescent types of bulbs. This can translate into a 10-percent reduction in your electric expenses. You could also change to LED (Light Emitting Diode), which are energy efficient and last much longer than incandescent bulbs.
- Install LED exit signs.
- If your business has a parking lot, design the lot without excessive or energy-inefficient lighting.
- Avoid lavish lighting for your signage. Install energy-efficient lighting.
- Install occupancy sensors in areas that are not always occupied. These areas include dressing rooms, restrooms, and breakrooms.
- You can also install smart controls. It could also be helpful to switch to a wireless thermostat, which would allow you to operate your HVAC remotely.
- Vending machines consume more energy than you might think. So outfit them with occupancy sensors. This will reduce power to vending machines after the room is empty for a specified period of time. These sensors can cut energy use by as much as 25 percent or more depending on location and usage patterns.
- Make sure your lighting displays are energy-efficient and operate on timers.
- Think about replacing breakroom appliances like refrigerators and water coolers with energy-efficient models.
- Consider replacing traditional countertop sales registers. Alternatives include iPad-based point-of-sale solutions, and they are cheaper to operate.
Try a novel idea that combines aesthetics and energy savings. Plant trees. For example, you can plant shady trees outside of your business to keep your building cool and help clean the air at the same time! Vegetation can also help withstand the intense, summer heat and cold, blustery winter winds.
HVAC Upgrades Could Save You More Money
Did you know that an HVAC system at a typical retail establishment accounts for 45-percent of energy usage? So says the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR program. So optimizing your HVAC system is an important component of retail energy management.
With this in mind, you might consider installing demand-controlled ventilation (DCV). DCVs measure gauge occupancy levels in your store based on carbon dioxide in the HVAC return system, and adjust ventilation accordingly. This can result in the reduction of equipment run-time and energy consumption.
Another retail energy management idea is an economizer. An economizer saves your money by drawing cooler outdoor air into your storage space. Known as “free cooling”, the economizer does not rely on your HVAC refrigeration equipment to cool the air. Economizers are standard in newer systems. You can also add an economizer to an older system.
Look to Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning to Help You Save on Energy Costs
Look to the HVAC experts at Apollo to ensure your energy system is in excellent condition for the upcoming winter season. We are also happy to share energy-saving tips with you to help you save money on HVAC usage for your business year-round!
Apollo is your solution for HVAC installation and repair. We are committed to delivering premium quality HVAC service, maintenance, products, and documentation in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and beyond!
Learn more by contacting Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning! Call us at (509) 396-COLD (2653).