Businesses look very different during the coronavirus quarantine. Most storefronts are closed or only partially open and now is a great time to determine how to cut costs.
Energy use, in particular, can be reduced right now to lower the electricity bill and save you money. Below are six helpful tips that will help you keep your energy bill down during the coronavirus quarantine.
Adjust your thermostat
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, adjusting your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for an 8-hour period can save your business as much as 10 percent a year in energy costs.
Typically, businesses will program their thermostats to run less at night when the business is closed. Right now, however, you can make that adjustment for the full day since you don’t have people coming into your storefront. Adjust the air conditioning or heater level so the temperature is manageable and more cost-effective.
Lock in lower utility rates
If you are in a deregulated energy state, now is a great time to look into other energy suppliers and compare rates. If you can, finish out your current energy contract and lock in a lower rate elsewhere. A lot of rates are low right now because of the pandemic, so it’s even a good idea to lock in a three-year fixed-rate deal to maintain the low energy cost savings.
The fixed-rate will also keep you safe from any price spikes that happen during your contract.
Install weather stripping and caulk holes
Take some time right now to do a bit of maintenance in your business building. Drafty doors and windows can make a huge dent in your energy bill. The imperfect seal around the doorway and window frames means a lot of cool air can escape through those cracks. Your AC unit or heater then has to work harder to regulate the temperature in your space.
Create a more energy-efficient storefront by installing weather stripping along the windows and doorframes. You can also use caulk to seal any cracks or holes in the floors, window frames, or near vents.
Turn off appliances
Phantom power refers to the energy used by appliances when they’re not in use. A lot of people don’t realize that even though an appliance is off it’s still pulling power from the grid. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 75 percent of the electricity used to power most electronics is used while they’re off.
Look around your business and determine which appliances can be unplugged at night. This is a great time to implement a new energy-saving routine into your business. Make a list of appliances that can safely be unplugged at night and have employees start unplugging them during evening cleanup. You’ll stop using as much phantom power and see a small cost savings on your energy bill.
Switch lights off
During coronavirus quarantine, it’s almost guaranteed you don’t need to be turning on as many lights in your business. For instance, if your restaurant can’t have people dine-in then leave the lights off in the main dining area.
Turn a light on near the checkout counter for takeout orders, but other than that keep the lights off.
Now is a great time to also take advantage of natural light. Open the shades and curtains to let sunlight into your store. In most cases, natural light can brighten the space well enough for you to see and complete your tasks for the day.
There’s no need to turn on lights in a whole store if you’re the only person there, so keep your energy bill down by leaving the lights off.
Check your energy bill
Make sure your energy bill isn’t showing an estimated energy usage number. This will be signified by an “E” on your invoice. The “E” means your meter was not read, but instead, the energy company used an estimated reading off-site. Most energy companies will argue that the estimated readings will even out over time, but you need all of the cost savings you can get right now.
Requesting an accurate reading of your meter can save you money by ensuring the utility company is charging you for the energy you’re using today.
The coronavirus is putting a lot of financial pressure on business owners. Any small adjustments you can make to your business to save money is beneficial.
Most of the tips above don’t take much time to complete but they can save you a significant amount of money on your electricity bill. Use this extra time quarantine is providing to turn your storefront into an energy-efficient business.