Reduce the Impact of Rising Energy Costs

by Tom McBride, Partners for Creative Solutions, Inc.

Rapidly rising energy costs are placing heavy pressure on many business budgets.  To help reduce the impact we have assembled a list of tips for businesses, many of which can be implemented quickly at little or no cost.  

Getting started - Begin by encouraging employees to be energy conscious.  Call your local utility to arrange an energy audit of your facility and learn about their energy rebate programs.

Lighting costs are substantial for most businesses.

Turn lights off in areas when not being used.  Contrary to popular belief, turning lights on and off uses less energy than leaving them on.

Install occupancy sensors in warehouses, conference rooms, store rooms, restrooms, etc.

Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs that use 75% less energy and last much longer.

Replace older light fixtures (example: replace T12 fluorescent fixtures and magnetic ballasts with T8 fixtures and electronic ballasts).


Heating & cooling often represents half of a businesses’ total energy cost.

Install programmable thermostats to reduce heating/cooling costs at night and on weekends.

Reduce air leaks by caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows and installing foam gaskets behind receptacle and switch plates.

Ceiling fans in air conditioned spaces allow you to raise the thermostat setting.

Allowing employees to wear cooler, more comfortable clothing during the cooling season will help reduce cooling costs.

Arrange for annual check-ups on HVAC equipment to ensure optimum performance.

Consider high-efficiency units when adding or replacing HVAC equipment.


Turn computers (at least monitors) and other office equipment off at night and on weekends. Utilize power management settings to save energy during work hours. Smart power strips can sense the presence of people and can turn off certain equipment when not in use. Photocopiers use as much energy as 5-7 desktop computers.
Laptops, inkjet printers and flat panel (LCD) displays use 90% less energy than their desktop, laser, and CRT counterparts.
Reevaluate any practice of leaving industrial equipment on at night or on weekends.
Shift use of heavy electrical equipment to "off peak" hours to avoid peak use charges. Learn about peak hours from your local utility.
Replace leaking seals and gaskets on freezers, ovens, and similar equipment.
Replace large, highly used, electrical motors with high efficiency units.