Ways to Save Green - Cost Saving Tips

By: Gillian Earle, Toronto Hydro

There are five easy and effective ways to make your business more eco-friendly and better manage electricity costs:

1. Upgrade your lighting with conservation in mind. You can find small business incentive programs available at many utility companies throughout Canada. For example, small businesses in the Toronto area are invited to participate in Toronto Hydro’s Power Savings Blitz program by having conservation retrofits up to $1,000 completed for free. Through the program, older T12 fluorescent technology lights are replaced with newer T8 fluorescent lights, which will help save up to 25 per cent in operating costs. Traditional EXIT signs (which, by law, must be illuminated whenever the building is occupied, often for 24 hours-a-day) are also replaced with newer, efficient light-emitting diode (LED) signs. It’s an energy waster of up to 30 watts replaced with as little as 2 watts, and LED bulbs can last 10 years without needing replacement. If you do change your lighting, please ensure your contractor is disposing of ballasts and fixtures in an environmentally friendly manner.

2. During the holiday season, consider decorating your business with LED light strings. You’ll reduce energy costs by up to 85%!

3. The truth is, all electronics consume more energy if you leave them running rather than turning them on and off. Be sure to switch equipment, computers, monitors, photocopiers and appliances off when they are not in use. Upgrading older electronics to ENERGY STAR® products will also result in cost savings.

4. The most simple way to see results is to teach staff energy saving tips such as temperature control or using natural lighting when available, and they can apply this knowledge at work and at home.

A variety of conservation programs are available for small businesses through local utilities. Most offer incentives for participation and all offer the benefits of conserving electricity and seeing the savings add up month after month on your electricity bill.

Here's an example of how one small business owner recognized the importance of conservation:

Being the owner or operator of a small business requires a lot of decision-making, especially when it comes to keeping profits up and operating costs down. Recognizing the importance of conservation is one of the easiest ways to begin reducing your operating costs. Simple actions such as turning lights and electronics off when not in use will make a difference on your electricity bills at year end. Besides these basic measures, there are many conservation programs offered by local utilities throughout Canada, designed and targeted specifically to address the unique issues faced by small businesses.

Call your local utility company to enquire about business incentive programs available for small businesses. For example, Toronto Hydro is currently promoting their Power Savings Blitz, to help make area small businesses more efficient. This program was created for Toronto Hydro’s retail business or small office customers—such as dry cleaners, grocery stores, restaurants, flower shops and other small retailers—with an annual electricity demand of less than 50 kW. The program offers up to $1,000 in free energy-efficient upgrades, with a goal of helping participants save money on their electricity bills.

Typical upgrades include: overhead lighting such as T-8 fluorescent tubes and compact florescent bulbs, which could save up to 25 per cent in operating costs; LED exit lights—these newer signs use as little as 2 watts, and the LED bulbs can last 10 years without needing replacement; water heater insulation blankets and hot water pipe insulation; and faucet aerators.

[caption id="attachment_2644" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Shabnam and Frank Weber"]Shabnam and Frank Weber[/caption]

The proof is really in the electricity conservation pudding, although it’s not recommended for eating!

Shabnam and Frank Weber participated in the Power Savings Blitz through their business, Tea Emporium Inc.
“Toronto Hydro changed two dozen regular bulbs to compact, fluorescent bulbs. From a lighting perspective, it looks the same—nice and warm. And we’ve also noticed some savings on our bills!”

Using less electricity is good for your businesses bottom-line, and it’s the right thing to do for the environment. Some forms of electricity generation create greenhouse gas and other pollution. Generating less impacts climate change and improves air quality. It’s easy to do your part—just say “YES” to conservation.

For more information on the programs your business can take advantage of, check with your local utility company.

Have you found ways to save “green”  for your business this year or set any goals to? If so, we’d love to hear about them!

By Adam

September 29, 2010