How To Cut Costs Through Energy Efficiency

Is it possible to cut cost without cutting meaning? Robert Verganti of the Harvard Business Review thinks it is possible. Verganti, the author of the book, Design-Driven Innovation: Changing the Rules of Competition by Radically Innovating what Things Mean, pointed out that people care about price, but they also “do not want to feel poor.” Verganti added, “So the challenge for companies is to cut costs without cutting meaning.”

Companies can cut costs by implementing energy saving measures. A report released last summer by McKinsey found that the U.S. could save $1.2 trillion through 2020 by investing $520 billion by making improvements such as replacing inefficient appliances with new, energy-saving ones. The industrial sector accounts for 40 percent of end-use efficiency and the commercial sector for 25 percent.

The website, Business.gov proclaims, “Good energy management is good business.” The website lists “simple, low-risk, high-return” energy efficiency improvements businesses can make in the following categories: lighting, water heating, refrigeration, equipment, heating and cooling systems (HVAC), and buildings. Some of the improvements businesses can make include:

Lighting

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Replace or retrofit non-energy efficient light fixtures.
  • Install occupant sensors to automatically turn lights off and on.

Water heating

  • Insulate hot water holding tanks and hot and cold water pipes.
  • Set your water heater at the lowest required temperature.
  • Use less. Install faucet aerators and efficient showerheads.

Refrigeration

  • Turn off the lights in walk-in refrigerators.
  • Add strip curtains to refrigerated spaces without doors.
  • Retrofit or replace old refrigerators and freezers.

Equipment

  • Turn off office equipment when not in use.
  • Use energy efficient computers and office equipment.

Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Systems

  • Inspect and clean or replace air filters on a regular basis.
  • Repair leaks in system components such as pipes, steam traps or couplings.
  • Adjust the thermostat during unoccupied times or install a programmable thermostat.

Buildings

  • Block direct sunlight shining through windows in the summer.
  • Let the sun in during the day in the winter, but cover the windows at night.
  • Use fans to help delay or reduce the need for air-conditioning in the summer.
  • Use fans to pull warm air down from the ceiling in the winter.
  • Plug leaks around windows, doors, outlets, etc., with weather-stripping or caulk.

One key way that businesses can cut costs and become more energy efficient is through using less energy. Businesses can save at least 10 percent on their energy bill through using less, according to Gearoid Lane, managing director, British Gas New Energy. The average energy consumption could be reduced 25 percent by effectively using power management tools, according to the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.