If you own a brick and mortar business, whether large or small, there are certain business expenses you cannot escape—payroll and employee benefits, overhead and operating expenses, inventory and supplies, taxes and insurance. Under the heading of overhead and operating expenses comes the cost of heating your commercial building (and air conditioning it during the warm months). Luckily, there are specific, concrete things you can do to keep those heating costs manageable. 10 of them, to be precise.
The best defense is a good offense
The best defense against spiraling energy costs is to ensure your HVAC system is operating in optimal condition with an annual maintenance program, like the Crown Comfort Club. A routine maintenance plan, with twice-yearly maintenance appointments, keeps your heating and cooling system running efficiently. This does two different things—it saves you money on energy costs, and reduces surprise maintenance costs. You also receive priority service, which is especially important when you can’t afford for your business to be shut down, even for a day.
About that offense . . .
Even the best maintenance plan in the world can only do so much with an old, outdated energy inefficient HVAC system. If this describes your building, it may be time to consider a new HVAC system. Today’s commercial systems not only heat and cool your building, they save you in energy costs and even improve indoor air quality. A new HVAC system could pay for itself in a relatively short time.
Wear a sweater
Something as simple as turning the thermostat down during the work day to 68°, and to 62° or 63° at night, can save you hundreds of dollars a year. A programmable thermostat makes this easy and convenient to control—just set it and forget it. If there are parts of your commercial space that are unused, or rarely used, lower the heat in that area if possible. Warm air blowing through an empty room is a waste.
Keep the cold air out, where it belongs
Chances are there are places in your commercial building that are colder than others, where you feel a chill on your feet, or the back of your neck. Check all the entry and exit points—doors, windows, garage doors, delivery bays—for gaps that may be letting in the outdoor cold. Heating the great, chilly outdoors not only costs you money, but puts unnecessary strain on your system. You may even consider investing in an energy audit, which examines your building energy use room by room, searching for places where you’re losing energy, including where cold air is coming in and warm air is escaping.
Don’t duck your ductwork
Commercial ductwork can deteriorate over time, leaving holes and connection gaps. Have them checked by a professional, and repaired, to maintain energy efficiency. Along with that, have your ductwork cleaned every three to five years. Your employees, particularly those adversely affected by less than pure air quality, will thank you.
Insulate! Insulate! Insulate!
Make sure every part of your building and HVAC system is properly insulated. From ductwork to ventilation, from air filtration system to building walls and ceiling, be certain your insulation meets or exceeds necessary requirements for peak energy efficiency.
These next four won’t save on heating costs, but will save on energy costs—savings that go together hand in hand
Enlist your employees in the energy saving cause
Lowering your heating costs is good for your bottom line, which makes it good for the company as a whole. Let your employees know what you’re doing to save energy—posters, company newsletter, even a general news release. Ask for their help in doing their part, from closing doors and turning off lights to putting on that sweater mentioned earlier. Install a “Save Energy” suggestion box. You may get some great ideas! If you show commitment, your employees will as well.
This one is simple, but easy to forget. Ask your employees to power down when they leave at the end of the work day. This includes computers, copiers, coffee pots and other miscellaneous kitchen equipment, individual work lights, etc. Make sure that windows and doors are closed tight against drafts from outside. Every little bit helps.
Light the way . . .
. . . to energy savings by replacing your old incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or high intensity discharge (HID) lights. These energy efficient lights use less power, produce less heat, even last longer before burning out. These lights may be more expensive, but they pay off in the end.
Summer will return, eventually
This has been predominantly a discussion about heating cost savings, but many of these points also pertain to air conditioning, and summer will return. Eventually. Probably. Anyway, here’s one energy saving idea once summer heat returns—window treatments! Direct, hot, unfiltered sunlight really heats up a room and makes your air conditioner work extra hard. Consider curtains, blinds or window tints to block some of the sunlight. This will give your cooling system, and your employees, a much-needed break.
Give Crown Heating and Cooling a call for more great ideas on keeping your commercial heating costs manageable.