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Why You Should Invest in a Business Energy Audit

A business owner reviews their business energy audit to discuss energy efficiency

When you started your business, no one told you it would require the mental physique of a tightrope walker. As you cross the wire of running your business every day, you must balance a slew of projects and tasks.

Energy efficiency may not hit the top of the list when reviewing monthly financials, but your building’s efficiency makes a difference in how much you spend on your energy bills.

Many companies, non-profits and organizations take control of their electricity usage through a business energy audit

Business energy audits come in many forms, but the bottom line is that they can help your company save. 

What Is a Business Energy Audit?

A business energy audit reviews your facility’s electricity usage and looks for ways to reduce energy waste and improve efficiency. This usually includes: 

  • Analysis of your electricity bill 
  • A walkthrough of your building 
  • Analysis of key equipment and processes
  • Recommendations to repair or replace inefficient equipment
  • Plans to help encourage energy-efficient habits throughout the workday

Why Should I Invest Time or Money in a Business Energy Audit?

An energy audit can help your business thrive in several ways:

  • Save on energy costs. According to ENERGY STAR®, commercial properties, on average, waste 30 percent of the energy they consume. Saving on wasted energy is a huge opportunity for your company to reduce costs and reallocate funds to other parts of your business.
  • Increase employee and customer comfort. While many may think energy-saving measures cause discomfort, they can have the opposite effect. If your HVAC system isn’t running efficiently or your windows aren’t sealed, your employees and customers may feel discomfort during extreme cold or hot weather. Space heating and cooling make up a large percentage of commercial building energy consumption.
  • Environmental stewardship. When your business uses less energy, you display your desire to help your community save. Also, environmental stewardship is more important to customers than ever before. The Business of Sustainability Index found that 64 percent of Americans are willing to pay for more sustainable products and services. Making your business more energy efficient is a step forward toward sustainability.

Think you could benefit from a business energy audit? Keep reading to see how you can perform one or if you should hire a professional to assess your efficiency needs. 

Can I Perform My Own Business Energy Audit?

If you want to perform a self-audit, you need to consider these two factors before tackling this task:

  • Can I cover the entire facility by myself? If your business’s space is small enough for you to complete a solo walkthrough, you may be able to review it for energy efficiency weaknesses without any assistance. 
  • Do I have enough time to perform an audit? As a business owner, your time is extremely valuable. You’ll be spreading yourself thin throughout the week to ensure your business delivers a quality service or product. An energy audit will most likely take a few hours of your time, if not more. 

If you can answer yes to both questions, then start with a walkthrough.  Some good resources include Touchstone Energy Cooperative’s Commercial Energy Savings Guide or a variety of efficient business idea articles in their website’s efficiency section. Another good resource is the ENERGY STAR® management guide called the “Action Workbook for Small Businesses.”

This workbook has a list of areas to assess for power consumption called “sure savers.” Some of the “sure savers” include:

These are a few places you can look to save. Creating a basic checklist like this one is a great place to start. 

If you don’t have time to conduct a business energy audit yourself, you may consider getting your staff involved.

Team Involvement and Energy Scavenger Hunts

An energy scavenger hunt is a low-cost way to engage employees in saving electricity. To complete an energy scavenger hunt, team members review your business facility and look for ways you can save.

You can assign staff members to assess the “sure savers” mentioned above to find places where you can save energy regularly. After completing the assessment, they will submit their observations and recommendations for areas your business can improve. 

ENERGY STAR® reported that organizations that used this tactic saw anywhere between a 7-15 percent reduction in energy costs. 

Performing an energy scavenger hunt is simple but can produce great results for your business’s spending on electricity. 

Get More In-Depth with Portfolio Manager

If you want to get more in-depth on how your energy spending is trending, ENERGY STAR® offers an online resource called the Portfolio Manager. This tool allows you to measure and track your energy use, compare it to similar buildings across the country and get an ENERGY STAR® rating for your business. 

To use the Portfolio Manager, enter the required information about your property and from your monthly energy statements into the program. Then, the online resource creates useful visuals to see how your business is performing. You can also benchmark your business’s energy use and compare it to other commercial properties nationwide. 

When You Should Hire a Professional Energy Auditor

While you can save cash with DIY audits, you may find you still aren’t reaching your energy efficiency goals. For a thorough, in-depth look at your electricity usage, contact a professional energy auditor.

Professional energy audits can vary in cost and scope. The more in-depth, the more expensive the audit will be. However, most energy audits can pay for themselves in savings. There are plenty of affordable options to help you lay out a plan to make your business more energy-efficient. 

A professional energy auditor can: 

  • Assess your current equipment and building’s energy efficiency
  • Review your energy bills
  • Create a list of energy-efficiency projects that can help your business save

Always start your search by contacting your local electric cooperative, as they may offer cost-share programs for commercial energy audits and rebates on some equipment. They also may have professional energy auditors on staff who can assess your business. If they don’t have auditors, they can refer you to one in the area.

Power your business for less, and contact your local cooperative today.

Looking for other energy efficiency tips for businesses? Visit our business page today to find a selection of great content.

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