12 March 2024

20 Tips for Lowering Your Business’s Utility Bills

By Ronald Smith

Running a small business comes with a lot of costs, from marketing and payroll to inventory and taxes. But there’s one cost that often gets overlooked: utilities.

Surprisingly, your utility bill is an area where you can make a big impact and save money. How? By following these 20 tips to lower your utility bills.

Let’s Get Started

Before we dive into the rest of the tips, it’s important to establish a starting point. And the key word here is audit. You should conduct two types of audits.

1. Conduct an Energy Audit

An energy audit is when a professional assesses how you currently use energy and provides recommendations on how to use it more efficiently. This could help you save money in the long run.

By the end of the audit, you’ll have a clear understanding of how efficient you are and what steps you can take to start reducing your utility costs.

2. Conduct a Nighttime Audit

This self-guided audit is designed to help you find ways to lower your utility bills by reducing energy usage at night.

Choose a night to secretly run the audit. Once all your employees have left, give it about an hour or two for any devices that automatically turn off to do so (a good time for dinner, perhaps?).

Next, take a walk around the office to see if any machines or lights are running that aren’t needed overnight. If you find any, follow the energy-saving tips below to make sure they’re turned off every evening.

Quick Tips

Once I’ve run the audits above, I’ll have an idea of where to take action. But there are some quick and easy tips that can really make a difference.

Tip 3: Use Power Save

Whenever you can, use the power save mode on your computers, monitors, and other electronic devices. It shuts off the power and puts the equipment to sleep when you’re not using them.

Also, remember to turn off all electronics before you leave on vacation or holiday.

Tip 4: Use Natural Daylight

Whenever you can, try to use natural daylight instead of powered lighting.

Tip 5: Take Stairs

Taking the stairs instead of using the elevator saves energy and improves your health and the health of your employees.

Tip 6: Clear Vents

When you have paper or furniture covering the vents that bring air into your office, it takes a lot more energy to move the hot or cold air throughout the space.

Make sure to keep the areas in front of your vents clear and regularly check to make sure they stay that way.

7. Fix Air Leaks

One great way to lower your utility bill is by sealing up any air leaks around the doors and windows in your office. There are many tricks for finding these leaks, and once you locate one, make sure to fix it.

8. Close Outside Doors

Believe it or not, a lot of money is wasted when the doors at the front or back of small businesses are left open. When one of your outside doors, or windows, is open, you end up trying to heat or cool the entire outdoors.

When you heat or cool your office, make sure to tightly close those areas.

9. Use Power Strips

Wow, have you seen how much power strip technology has improved? The newer versions now have outlets that are ‘always on’, which means that important devices stay powered up and ready for action.

And get this: the other outlets work just like power save mode on your electronics. When a device isn’t being used, it automatically shuts down or goes to sleep until you need it again. Pretty nifty, huh?

Tips for the Medium-Term

Now, these next tips are a little more involved, but they’re definitely worth the extra effort and maybe a bit of extra money.

10. Get a Programmable Thermostat

If you’re still stuck with a thermostat that only lets you set one temperature and forget about it, it’s time to kick it to the curb. Seriously, it’s outdated.

A programmable thermostat is the way to go. It lets you set different temperatures for different times of the day, like evenings and weekends. This can help you save a ton on your energy bill. Talk about a win-win!

11. Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

If you’re still using the same lightbulbs as you did 10 years ago, it’s time to switch to energy-efficient ones. There are plenty of options to choose from, and although they might cost a bit more upfront, they can make a significant difference.

12. Let Lights Follow You

Motion detectors are a clever solution to automatically turn lights on and off as you enter or leave a room. By doing this, you can reduce energy consumption by only using lights when they’re actually needed.

13. Keep Things Cool

When your office has shades on the windows, you can pull them down to keep out the cold during winter and block the hot sun during summer. This simple step can help maintain a comfortable temperature without relying too much on energy-consuming devices.

14. Ask for Equipment Deals

If you have modern office equipment, chances are they’re already energy efficient. Check with your energy provider or utility company to see if they offer any discounts for using efficient equipment. This way, you can lower your utility bill and contribute to conserving energy.

Tips for the Long Run

These tricks can help you manage your expenses, but they might require some investment. It’s better to take a long-term approach and spread out the costs over time.

15. Embrace Laptops

Laptops are more energy-efficient than desktop computers, which makes them cheaper to use. If you can’t afford to replace all your computers at once, do it one by one as you retire each old machine.

16. Embrace Cloud Computing

Having a dedicated computer room is expensive. You not only need to power the servers, but also keep the room cool.

By moving your operations to the cloud, you can eliminate these ongoing costs and avoid hiring on-site IT staff or consultants.

17. Upgrade Your Devices

Whenever you replace an electronic device, make sure to choose a more energy-efficient option. This not only saves energy but can also qualify you for discounts.

Ongoing Advice

The following three tips provide you with ongoing actions to reduce your energy consumption.

18. Take Care of Your Equipment

Remember to schedule regular maintenance for your heating and cooling equipment to ensure they work at their best efficiency.

19. Replace Filters

If your heating or cooling equipment uses air filters, make sure to change them regularly to prevent clogs that can result in higher energy usage.

20. Adjust Your Thermostat

When the seasons change, adjust the programming on your thermostat to manage temperature settings for hotter or colder days.