As the summer heats up, it's important to think about energy efficiency for your business. Not only can it alleviate some of the expenses your business incurs, it can also position your company as a community leader in environmental sustainability.
A white paper released by SaveOnEnergy.com—Connecting Your Business and the Environment: The Importance of Sustainability for Small Businesses—dives into the importance of leveraging environmentally friendly efforts to grow your business and your bottom line.
The report notes that in addition to saving money, energy savings improvements can help you gain and retain customers, build up your brand's reputation and provide long-term profit improvements.
The energy and money savings potential is often enough to push many businesses into the energy efficiency arena, but if you're a little skeptical, consider these facts:
- 71 percent of consumers would promote a company that supports a social cause, such as the environment.
- 73 percent of customers would actually switch brands for one that supports a social cause.
Despite what you might think, energy efficient initiatives don't have to be costly or a big time investment. Try one of these changes to see what kind of impact you can make for your company:
1. Change out your light bulbs.
It may seem like low-hanging fruit, but swapping out inefficient light bulbs could save you a bundle over time. New efficient bulbs last 25 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. It doesn’t matter whether you're a small two-person startup or have a couple dozen employees, choosing more efficient fixtures is an excellent place to start in your energy saving venture.
Aspen Ski Co. decided to upgrade its lighting in 1999. The large company opted to swap out its incandescent bulbs for more efficient LED or CFL models in a parking garage and backhouse at one of its resorts. Although the change cost the company $23,000 to implement, it has saved $10,000 in energy costs every year since.
Obviously the results won't be as significant at a smaller company—you likely won't spend as much or find that much savings. However, this example goes to show how a small environmentally friendly change can make a big impact.
2. Think about savings specific to your industry.
Although there are some energy saving tips that are fairly universal from industry to industry, there might be some unique opportunities for your business too. Take a step back and think about what changes you could make to save energy and money.
AJ's Auto Repair is a great example. Like any car repair and service business, AJ's found that it had a lot of used oil. Instead of disposing of it, the company decided to use it. AJ's started burning the used oil for heat. In the first year, the business saved $10,000. An independent evaluation performed a decade later determined that the simple initiative earned AJ's an extra $200,000 in energy savings and increased business because of its green efforts.
3. Replace outdated equipment.
Don't just buy the cheapest office equipment—it will actually end up costing you more over time. If you're in need of an upgrade, look for the most efficient option on the market. It will likely be a little more expensive upfront, but the energy savings will eventually pay for the machine.
The Bowman Design Group can attest to this. The small company decided to replace its copier when the lease was up, opting for the most efficient, multi-function model. The new device allowed the group to decommission two other printers, a fax machine and a scanner.
When the company's air conditioner went out during the summer, it replaced it with an energy efficient model and made a few changes to its ductwork. These simple changes allowed the company to cut electricity cost by 40 percent and save $9,000 in a year's time.