Energy efficiency doesn't have to be complicated - in this article we will show you nine easy ways to make your business more energy efficient. Those include installing LED lighting, investing in smart thermostats, plugging in programmable power bars, unplugging unused equipment, and using natural lighting whenever possible. We also recommend looking at various energy efficiency programs on SaveEnergyNB, balancing natural light using blinds or shades, strategically using ceiling fans, ensuring doors or windows don’t have leaks, and turning off lights in rooms that aren't in use.

Adopting energy efficient practices for your business might seem expensive and complicated but it doesn't have to be. Business owners in New Brunswick can easily make small, inexpensive, and sustainable changes. Implementing these easy energy saving changes can lower energy costs for your businesses. Continue reading to find out the top ways you can make your business more energy efficient.

1: Encourage energy efficient behaviour among employees. Small changes like turning off lights and unplugging not in use electronics, can make a big difference.

Whether you are wrapping up for the day or a boardroom meeting has ended, turn off the lights. Many businesses have occupancy sensors that power off lights when no occupants are detected. Occupancy sensors are a great way to overcome forgetfulness.

2. Install LED lighting

LED lighting is well known for its energy saving capabilities. Did you know an ENERGY STAR® certified LED light fixture uses up to 50 percent less energy than an equivalent fluorescent  fixture. Even better, LED fixtures can last up to twice as long.

Switch out inefficient light fixtures in boardrooms, offices, bathrooms, maintenance shops and basically anywhere that a light source is present. An example would be in warehouses where you can save on your energy bill by switching to LED lighting.  LED lights use half the wattage, while being able to auto dim and turn off and on easily with vacancy sensors which traditional metal halide lighting doesn’t respond well to.

3: Invest in smart thermostats

Smart thermostats are essential for the energy conscious business owner. Smart thermostats are an excellent way to passively manage the climate in your office while ensuring energy efficiency.

Smart thermostats are automated and learn from your heating and cooling behaviour. That means they'll adjust accordingly when the business is empty to save energy. Many smart thermostat brands offer software so that business owners can manage and track energy consumption on the go.

4: Plugging in programmable power bars

Invest in a smart power bar. Many are programmable to turn off at specific times so you can enjoy hands-free and worry-free energy management at the office.

Some power bars are intelligent enough to terminate power to secondary sources. For example, after shutting down your computer, a smart bar will power down monitors shortly after.

5: Unplug unused equipment

Phantom power consumption issues can be a result of not unplugging unused devices. Be sure to unplug laptop cords, phone chargers, printers and scanners, toasters, microwaves, and other idle appliances.

6: Use natural lighting whenever possible

Natural lighting is a free and energy efficient way to light your workspace. It is effortless to implement if your business has south-facing windows. It's as easy as switching off overhead lights and enjoying some complimentary sunshine. There is an even simpler way of utilizing natural light and that is by using daylight sensors. These sensors can be fixture mounted or installed separately and either dim or turn off completely when enough natural light is present. This requires no input from the user once installed properly.

7: Research energy efficiency programs

If you want to make energy efficient upgrades on a larger scale but aren't sure where to start - check out the SaveEnergyNB’s Business Rebate Program or the Commercial Building Retrofit Program.

The Business Rebate Program provides incentives of 25 percent of total costs before tax up to $250,000 for a wide range of measures including HVAC systems, lighting, and more. The main thing to remember is that the new product must be more energy efficient than what is currently being used which in turn will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The projects also must be approved prior to purchase and install. The Business Rebate Program is for quick known projects that doesn’t require extensive audits or feasibility studies.

Under the Commercial Building Retrofit Program (CBRP), the first step is to contact an approved Energy Management Service Provider (EMSP) to schedule an energy audit or feasibility study. The audit provides valuable information on how your business can reduce energy consumption and insight into eligible upgrades. The audit will be your roadmap to energy savings providing a breakdown of costs, energy savings and return on investment across all energy sources. These audits provide the calculations and models needed to verify savings for more extensive projects such as the total building envelope (air sealing, insulation, window/door replacements) or even integrated renewable energy sources such as wind or solar. Think of the audit as taking all matters pertaining to energy use in a building and presenting in a report.

The feasibility study is a targeted approach that can be used for certain measures such as integrating a Building Automation System. The study would focus on the energy savings associated in doing the measure only and not take all the other aspects of the building into consideration such as insulation or air sealing. The feasibility study allows for measures to get incentives without needing a review of other factors that don’t pertain to it.

Additionally, under the CBRP program, your business is eligible for an audit incentive of up to $8,000 depending on the size of your building and number of upgrades completed. The feasibility studies at this time are not incented. CBRP also provides up to $100,000 in incentives for projects that have most of their savings in electricity while an additional $1,000,000 is available for projects that have most of their savings on fossil fuels for a limited time through the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund (LCELF). The incentives available through LCELF are on a first come first serve basis until December 31, 2023, or until funds run out.

8: Strategically use ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are often an unused resource for temperature regulation. A ceiling fan running counterclockwise creates a pleasant downdraft that cools those in the room, and a ceiling fan running clockwise creates an updraft that evenly distributes heat. Just remember to turn off the ceiling fans when they are no longer required.

9: Ensure no doors or windows have leaks

When pursuing an energy-efficient business, making the above changes are crucial. Small changes add up quickly and can have a positive impact on business energy consumption.

However, proper weather proofing and insulation are perhaps the most important upgrades you can invest in. A new HVAC system cannot run at peak performance if cold (and hot) air coming in through drafty doors and windows. Be sure look into available incentives for upgrades to your building through SaveEnergyNB’s Commercial Building Retrofit Program.  

An energy-efficient business is easier than ever

Most of these energy saving methods can be implemented quickly. They say it takes three weeks for a habit to develop, so encourage your employees to get started today. If everyone participates, you can reach your energy efficiency goals sooner.

FAQ

What are the ways to improve energy efficiency?

  • Smart thermostat investment
  • Power bars
  • Unplug
  • Natural lighting wherever possible
  • Use ceiling fans year-round
  • Turn the lights off
  • Weatherproof and insulate properly

Energy-saving ideas at the workplace?

  • Invest in power-saving appliances
  • Invest in smart thermostats and use the accompanying software
  • Unplug unused appliances
  • Research local energy efficiency programs and incentives
  • Make it a team effort

How to reduce energy consumption in business?

  • Upgrade failing HVAC systems, lighting, and other equipment
  • Use smart thermostats
  • Install motion detectors
  • Switch to LED lighting

How do I keep my energy bill down?

Keep your energy bill down by unplugging unused devices and appliances, turning off lights in empty rooms, only heat and cool occupied rooms, install smart thermostats for intelligent climate control, and use natural light whenever possible.