Heating, cooling and other utility costs for larger commercial buildings are often quite substantial. Property owners seeking to reduce their overhead and businesses that are seeking ways to lower their operational costs would both do well to make energy efficiency a top priority. Going green can have a real impact on utility costs, especially within a commercial environment that boast a large staff or high volumes of visitors. Even a seemingly minor change to the workplace environment or established routine could make a real difference.
1. Energy-Efficient Climate Control
Heating and cooling even a modest commercial building can often be a very expensive proposition. There are numerous resources that may allow businesses to maintain a comfortable environment without breaking the bank. Typical options include:
- Smart Thermostats
From selecting the right temperature setting to operating HVAC equipment outside of peak hours when utility rates may be more affordable, proper operation of climate-control systems can make a real difference. Smart thermostats help by automating the process.
- Natural Lighting and Shade
Too much natural light can make cooling an environment more difficult while heavily shaded rooms and areas can be difficult to heat during the winter. Shades, blinds, and even skylights can all play an important role in maintaining a comfortable temperature.
- Energy Audits
Assessing energy use can provide plenty of valuable insight. A periodic audit can identify any issues that may need to be addressed as well as allowing business and property owners to determine if their prior efforts have made an impact.
2. Sustainable Alternatives
Replacing antiquated appliances, finding service providers who can offer more sustainable alternatives or even switching to a different electricity or utility provider can all help to promote energy efficiency within the workplace. From HVAC components to lighting and plumbing fixtures, outdated equipment can be a major liability. Switching to a utility provider that makes use of alternative energy sources is another option that businesses may do well to consider.
3. Other Ways for Commercial Buildings to Go Green
While the larger size of a commercial property may seem like an obstacle in terms of energy efficiency, it can actually be an asset. When developing a strategy for a more sustainable workplace, larger environments and buildings that have more occupants and visitors allow minor changes to add up that much faster. Small changes like installing LED lighting fixtures or instructing employees to make due with a slightly less comfortable interior temperature in order to reduce HVAC costs could have a substantial impact.
Other options that businesses might consider could include encouraging employees to carpool to work or making the switch to a paperless office. From education to incentives, employers can often play a key role in encouraging their staff and associates to lead more sustainable lifestyles. An energy-efficient workplace and a sustainable business model could allow employers to influence situations well outside of the office.
4. Solar Installations
While making an effort to curb energy use and consumption can be part of the solution, the ability to generate clean, renewable power on-site could make a far bigger difference. The larger scale of a commercial building provides an ideal environment for solar panel installation or the addition of a rooftop wind turbine. Recent years have seen solar installations fall in cost even as the power, output and performance of current-generation solar panels continues to grow. Well the purchase and setup costs needed to create a rooftop solar installation may give many business and property owners pause, the equipment can actually begin to pay for itself over time by helping to keep energy bills as low as possible.
Sustainability Is Good for Business
Going green can benefit more than just the bottom line. A sustainable and environmentally-aware brand, reputation or company image can be a true asset, one that could make it easier to attract new clientele in the days ahead. Spending the time, effort and financial resources needed to craft and implement an energy strategy for the workplace can often produce a sizable return on investment. A greener corporate image or a brand that is synonymous with sustainability are potential advantages that may be too important to take lightly.