Efficiency upgrades can save money

One of the best ways for a business to improve its bottom line is to spend less to maintain a comfortable workplace.

Two experts in energy efficiency say there are simple things business owners can do to pay less for utilities and increase savings. Finding and eliminating inefficiencies in offices is a growing trend.

“I think one of the easiest things you can do is simply modify behavior in the workplace,” said Denee Evans, executive director of Energy Fit Nevada, a program of Home Free Nevada that teaches about energy efficiency. “There are a lot of things you can do in an office that are similar to what you can do in a residence. In some respects, it’s easier in a business environment because changes you make in a home are for personal comfort. In a business, it can be more about the dollars-and-cents results.”

Annette Bubak, vice president of Better Building Performance in Las Vegas, said an energy assessment is one of the best ways to determine what improvements can be made and which will generate the most savings.

Every building has different characteristics, of course. But most share a similar potential for energy efficiencies and monetary savings.

Here’s what Evans and Bubak recommend:

• Turn lights off in empty rooms.

• Manage the thermostat.

• Shut down computer terminals at night.

• Review heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The issue may not be how big an HVAC system is but how efficiently it operates. “The HVAC system tends to be one energy use that can always be readdressed and re-engineered to be made more efficient,” Bubak said.

• Seal leaks around doorways and windows. Check insulation in walls, ceilings and crawl spaces.

• Upgrade lighting to fluorescent and LED options.

• Eliminate unused lighting in corridors, hallways and break rooms.

• Install timers that automatically turn lights off when a room is empty.

• Put office machines on a single power strip so all of them can be shut down with a single switch. Electrical gadgets are big energy hogs.