• June 14, 2013
1 minute Read
As summer approaches, you may have noticed your utility bill creeping up with the temperature. But high utility bills aren’t a given; there are several steps you can take to increase your energy efficiency while bringing seasonal costs down.
What to Do
High-Efficiency Appliances and Equipment
New appliances and equipment are significantly more efficient than older appliances—often by up to 30 percent. It’s a good idea to look around your business and see where you might be able to save some energy and money. Commercial kitchens, for example, can pull nearly 60 percent of a restaurant’s total energy, which makes those appliances the perfect target for replacement.
The first step is to look for the Energy Star logo. Depending on the device, Energy Star appliances can pay themselves off in as little as year and save you cash for years to come.
Weatherization and Upgrades
Just as you can weatherize your home, you can retrofit your business with new roofing, more insulation, and window treatments. There are also other, inexpensive things you can do to reduce energy costs:
A time-of-use rate plan saves you money if you shift your energy use to “off-peak” hours. Not all utilities offer this type of plan, and those that do often designate off-peak hours in different ways. But the basic idea is that you’ll pay less for electricity during times when overall demand is low. Off-peak hours are typically in the early morning and later in the evening, on holidays, and during the weekend, which means restaurants, bars, and late-night businesses, in particular, can benefit.
Time-of-Use RatesHow to Pay for It
If you want to put energy-efficient measures in place, you have plenty of options at the city, state, and federal levels for financial assistance. Contact your local utility company about low-interest loans or take a look at the programs available through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
The Database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency has a huge state-by-state list of rebates and other incentives. You can get money in return for installing everything from solar panels to new water heaters.
Tax Credits and Deductions
Finally, the federal government provides tax credits and deductions for home builders, manufacturers, commercial buildings, and other entities. The Small Business Administration has a comprehensive overview of what’s available, including small business grants and loans.
If you aren’t able to get a grant or special financing, upgrades may be worth paying out of pocket for. Changes you make and the resulting cost savings can quickly offset your initial investment.
Photo credit: Bacho/shutterstock.com
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