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Lower Your Utility Bills with these Energy-Savers

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 1:36pm | by jennaleesmith1

Some business costs are easily lowered by increasing productivity, moving into a smaller space, using less paper/toner and cutting down on unnecessary meetings. Other expenses aren’t so simple to cut back on. 

Utility providers are few in numbers - based on the area you live in - leaving many people with but one option for electricity and/or gas. A quick search on the internet for providers in your area will detail if you have choices of utility carriers. Some areas have several companies that provide utility services and by researching each provider you will be better equipped to decide if what you're paying is acceptable. For instance, Fort Hood Ambit Energy offers competitive rates and even cash back. 

If you live in monopolized area, this leads to limited options, but there is always the option to decrease consumption in the office. Leave the thermostat a bit lower in the winter and a bit higher in the summer. Get a programmable thermostat that allows you to raise or drop the office temperature 10 degrees while nobody is there. These thermostats are programmable to begin heating or cooling the office an hour before anyone gets there so that it's comfortable by the time you arrive.

If you feel you’re spending an exorbitant amount on utility costs each month, check with your neighbors of comparably-sized offices or even homes nearby. People in your community are typically willing to lend a helping hand, especially if they’re environmentally conscious. The conversation can then develop into how their space differs from yours structurally and help you determine if similar modifications need to be made to your space to modify your usage or costs per month.

Energy culprits

The two leading causes for higher utility costs are insulation and windows. Fiberglass insulation, whether in rolls or blown-in, will deteriorate over time and should be replaced when it thins out. Depending on what area of the country you live in, there are suggested thicknesses for installation, based on average outside temperatures. If you’re unsure of the amount of attic insulation in your office is adequate, many contractors offer free estimates to help you out. Once you determine the need for insulation, you may decide to hire a contractor or have it done by someone else (it’s relatively easy to install). Of course, if you're renting or leasing an office, this is a conversation best had with the landlord or leasing agency.

Windows serve a couple functions: to let the sunshine in, while we see out, and to keep us safe from the elements. Keeping rain out is important, but maintaining the airflow in your workspace is equally important. Old, rotted windows, or those where the pane sealant are flaking off, are not only visually unappealing, but they’ve also lost their ability to control the flow hot and cold air in and out of the office. Ultimately, an inadequately sealed window causes your furnace and air conditioner to work overtime and your work space is never quite comfortable. Consider getting a quote by a licensed contractor and determining if you can budget for an upgrade. Once again, if you lease or rent, this is a conversation best had with the landlord.

According to construction and energy estimates, the average utility bill will drop a maximum of 31% with new windows. Statistics are similar with updated insulation. The amount in monthly savings on your power costs will eventually pay off the upfront expenses of the upgrades. But not everyone has the finances available to afford new windows or insulation. Still, there are small purchases you can make to make your home more energy efficient. Replacing the light bulbs in your office is about the best plan of attack for a modification that saves you money, while not needing permits or landlord approval. Swap out the outdated, rounded incandescent bulbs for cost-saving compact fluorescent lights(CFLs) and reap the rewards in cost of replacement, as well as decreased power consumption.

Bills are an ever-present fact of life. We cannot escape them. However, with proper research, sound decisions, and slight modifications, we can control them. Controling expenses is what separates a successful business, from one that is always strapped for cash. Do your part in saving the environment while keeping your business in the green.


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