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The Fundamentals of Commercial Energy Savings

Small businesses spend more than $60 billion a year on energy. While energy spend can be high, it's of vital importance to keep buildings safe and comfortable for employees and potential customers. It just so happens that lighting, heating, and cooling are the top three energy expenses in commercial buildings, so finding ways to reel in associated costs can have a real, measurable impact on your bottom line.

A quick Google search of the term “energy saving for business” will yield a large number of results and it is easy to see why: energy conservation has become more than just a buzzword on the tips of the tongues of business owners and facility managers. These days, green initiatives and energy cost savings are essential components of every business plan. 

According to ENERGY STAR®
, small businesses spend more than $60 billion a year on energy. The math certainly checks out when you consider that most businesses are open during peak usage hours when both heating and cooling resources are highest in demand. While energy spend can be high, it's of vital importance to keep buildings safe and comfortable for employees and potential customers!

It just so happens that lighting, heating, and cooling are the top three energy expenses in commercial buildings, so finding ways to reel in associated costs can have a real, measurable impact on your bottom line.

The most noticeable savings will come as a result of switching from incandescent bulbs to LEDs (light emitting diodes). According to Viribright, while the initial cost of LED’s per bulb is higher than that of incandescent bulbs, the energy savings are such that the long-term combined costs are VERY different:

  • Cost of incandescents over 20 years: $211
  • Cost of LEDs over 20 years: $24

When it comes to heating and cooling, there is no “silver bullet” in the vein of LED bulbs that will give you that immediately noticeable and impactful ROI. Energy savings on the HVAC side of things really begins with a behavior shift. Whether that be reacclimatizing to an ambient temperature two degrees higher or being more conscious about manually adjusting the thermostat several degrees when your space is unoccupied, there are certainly a list of best practices we are all aware of and, probably, make some effort to adhere to. 

The ability to adjust HVAC for energy savings has been around since the 1980’s, when programmable thermostats were introduced aiming to replace complement behavior changes with scheduled automation. However, these thermostat interfaces were not user friendly and usually required in-depth manuals to make schedule changes or overrides.

Smart thermostats were introduced in 2009 and were a paradigm shift in modern approaches to energy management. Internet connected thermostats, managed through an app, give users complete control of the space temperature anytime, anywhere by way of a user friendly interface easily adapted to. Creating schedules and manual overrides has never been easier! The projected savings are certainly worth taking notice:

  • 10-12% savings on heating
  • 15% savings on cooling

With the implementation of LEDs, lighting controls, and smart thermostats, organizations can lay the framework for a more efficient energy program. More advanced strategies, such as implementing a network of motion sensors, occupancy sensors, and smart controls, can help business owners and operators determine the next steps of an energy management strategy. Lastly, tying all your energy data together with a smart platform with comprehensive energy dashboard gives organizations the insight needed to prove the success of energy programs. 

Contact FSG Smart Buildings today
to begin your journey toward energy savings so you can focus less on running around flipping switches and more time actually running your business. 

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