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How to Save on Office Utilities

We help you cut expenses on electric, gas, and water bills.

Best Practices May 13, 2016

You should be doing everything you can to save on your office utilities. Lowering your electric, gas, and water bills can save you quite a bit of money in the long run, and that extra money might help you bridge a future cash flow gap. Here are some tips to help you save.

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ELECTRICITY

It’s the digital age and that means your office likely spends a lot on electricity. Your first step toward reducing these costs is to figure out which devices in your office require the most energy.

The Biggest Energy Hogs Might Surprise You

What uses more power, your printer or your coffee maker? According to Edlen.com, an inkjet printer uses 100 watts, while a 12-cup coffee maker uses 1,200 watts. That’s quite a difference and it’s a reason why coffee makers make it on the list of the most energy inefficient appliances in the office. Other culprits include: hot plates and electric burners, portable heaters, and scanners.

We recommend telling your employees not to use some of these items in the office.

Devices Can Waste Power Even When They’re Off

According to a recent article from The New York Times, many electric devices use just as much juice when they’re off as when they’re on. If your company uses an Apple TV (first generation) to broadcast your laptop to your conference room TV, the Apple TV will use 21 watts when it’s on and 17 watts when it’s “off.” And if you leave your MacBook open while you’re charging it, it’ll burn 27 watts.

On average, if you leave your laptop plugged in when it’s done charging, it’ll burn through 4.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity each week. That’s 235 kilowatt-hours over the span of a year – all while you aren’t even using it.

Other Tips for Saving on Electricity

Here are a few more tips on how to spend less on power:

  • If you’re still using old-fashioned light bulbs, it’s time to switch them out for LEDs and CFLs.
  • Make sure all the electronics in your office get powered down (or at least put in hibernation mode) at the end of the day.
  • Find the right balance for blocking rays of sunlight from entering your office. You want to block enough that you save on air conditioning, but not so much you have to use artificial light when you could be using natural light.

Energy Star appliances use less energy, but it doesn’t always make sense to invest in them. If you already have appliances that work, it might be smarter to wait until they break before you swap them out for energy efficient models. When you do replace them, try to look for any tax breaks offered to businesses for going green.

Gas

The main reason you’ll use gas in your office is to fuel your heating system. Here are some tips on how to run your office heater as efficiently as possible:

  • Install weather-strips on your doors and windows. These help keep the warm air inside your office from escaping.
  • Upgrade your thermostat to one that you can program. Smart thermostats know when you are not in the office and turn off the heat. A smart thermostat can save you around 10-percent on heating bills and up to 15-percent on cooling bills.
  • Lock up your thermostat. There will always be a few people in the office who disagree about what the right temperature should be. They will move the thermostat up and down throughout the day, and you’ll end up paying more because of it. If you make it so only you, or a bright office administrator, can access the thermostat, then you’ll be able to prevent this.

Besides weather-strips and thermostat hacks, there’s another way you can reduce the cost of your gas bill: improve your building’s insulation. Better insulation means less energy wasted cooling and heating your building.

Finding out about the current state of your building’s insulation might require a call to your property manager. Ask them when the last time your office’s insulation was upgraded. You can request improvements, and while your property manager doesn’t have to oblige, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Water

Water is probably your least expensive utility, but you still might be spending too much on it – and not just the kind that comes out of the faucet. If you pay to have bottles of water delivered to your office, try switching to a water filter.

You can get an office water filter cooler for about $300. The replacement filters will set you back about $50 each (about what you’d pay for 10 five-gallon bottles delivered to your office), but each filter should be certified for over 1,000 gallons of water. So that’s $50 for 1,000 gallons versus $50 for around 50 gallons of bottled water. There’s a clear winner there.

Final Thoughts

These tips should help you reduce the cost of your utility bills. But if you want to pinpoint the areas you should improve, consider hiring an energy audit company to inspect your place of business. This service is sometimes free.

Chances are you know a few other areas where you’re wasting money on utilities. It might be time to crunch some numbers and see if it’s worth it to fix them. Remember, energy efficient appliances and devices aren’t always worth it in the long run. Always remember these three rules to success: Be smart, save money, and use Lendza to find small business loans.

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