In a slow economy, your small business needs as many competitive advantages to remain profitable as it can get. A business energy audit is one of the most effective ways to get a leg up on your competitors. The process includes a detailed analysis of your current energy consumption, the efficiency of your building and energy-consuming equipment, and recommendations for where to save money. It’s a somewhat complex process, especially for businesses, but one that’s well worth the time.
An energy retrofit for your office will require an initial investment, the savings should easily pay for the upgrades and then save you money over the long run. Plus, by creating a green business that’s energy efficient, you’ll have a marketing edge your competitors may lack. Consumers and stockholders, after all, want to see their money do good things.
At Hearts, lowering our operational energy consumption is important both at home and through our international artisans. We work extremely hard to ensure our eco fashion is low impact, in part by lowering our energy consumption through handmade fashion techniques and energy-saving processes. Then we offset those greenhouse gas emissions we can’t eliminate through CarbonFund.org. It’s a principle that is delivering many dividends for our green business.
Quick Guide: Office Energy Savings
- Total office energy consumption: Of all building types, offices are the most energy hungry, consuming 19% of all commercial energy most of which is electricity. Powering the 4.8 million commercial buildings in the US costs businesses $107.9 billion every single year, emitting 17% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the country.[i] [ii]
- Wasted office energy: Commercial buildings in the US generally waste 30% of the energy they consume due to inefficiencies.[iii] This represents a huge opportunity for savvy green businesses.
- Potential savings: If commercial and industrial buildings improved their energy efficiency by just 10% (a completely attainable goal with today’s technology), it would save businesses $20 billion annually. Doing so would also be like removing 30 million vehicles from the roads because of the 10% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. [iv]
Take Action! Find an Energy Auditor and Accessing Business Tax Credits
- Estimate your current CO2 emissions: In order to measure your business’ energy improvements, you need to have a baseline. Find out what your greenhouse gas emissions are using the World Resources Institute’s Working 9 to 5 on Climate Change: An Office Guide calculators.
- Hire a professional energy auditor: Your local utility company is your best bet for finding a qualified professional energy auditor. Give them a call to see what they have to offer.
- Access business energy tax credits: Your business may qualify for energy efficiency tax credits and incentives. Get a preview of the Tax Deductions for Commercial Buildings from the ENERGY STAR site. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has a list for Qualified Software for Calculating Commercial Building Tax Deductions. These packages comply with the federal tax incentive requirements.
- Choose a contractor: Use the ENERGY STAR Recommendations for Finding a Contractor guide to finding a trustworthy company to make any energy efficiency improvements to your office.
Dig Deeper: Office Energy Savings
- For a quick preview of some of the most effective office energy improvements you can make, check out the DOE’s Office Energy Checklist.
[i] How do they use energy and how much does it cost? (n.d.). Retrieved from Energy Information Administration: http://www.eia.gov/emeu/consumptionbriefs/cbecs/pbawebsite/office/office_howuseenergy.htm
[ii] Fast Facts on Energy Use. (n.d.). Retrieved from ENERGY STAR: http://www.energystar.gov/ia/business/challenge/learn_more/FastFacts.pdf
[iii] (Fast Facts on Energy Use)
[iv] (Fast Facts on Energy Use)