“Consider a business with annual energy costs of $25,000. If a comprehensive upgrade program could reduce energy use by 30%, this business could save $7,500 per year. Assume the the cost of implementing these measures results in a 3-year simple payback. In delaying the upgrade, this business is forfeiting a low risk investment opportunity at 27 percent interest” (EPA publication Putting Energy Into Profit), In just six years, this business would have paid for the improvements and saved $22,500. To many businesses this would be like having a new source of revenue but with less work!
Let’s face it though, most of us put off this important task because of our lack of knowledge of energy costs and not knowing where to start. Technology is developing rapidly and it is difficult for the average businessman to keep up with, but the good news is there are very knowledgeable people ready to assist and often at no expense to your business. Companies that are ready to evaluate your office or building’s “envelope” will utilize their staff’s expertise to try to get your energy upgrade business. There are also Energy Service Companies (ESCO) that offer turnkey services ideal for larger projects and their initial audit is usually free.
A great place to start in evaluating utility costs is your utility bill. Usually the highest utility usage is for heating, cooling and lighting. Here are the national averages on businesses according to the EPA-
|Type of Business||Heating||Cooling||Lighting|
How do you think your business measures up to the average business in your category?
Is your business more energy efficient or less energy efficient?
If you are going to set a goal like the business in the example above of saving 30% of your energy costs, you will need to address the factors that are the major source of energy usage. The building envelope component that has a major impact on heating, cooling, and lighting is the windows. Windows have a huge impact on lighting when we have to use more lighting to compensate for blinds and drapes that are closed due to solar gain, glare, or cold glass. "Windows have the lowest insulation value of any element of the building envelope” (Energy Savings Now). Your windows could be losing ten to twenty times more energy per square foot than the adjoining walls!
Radiant barriers are a fast growing industry with solid benefits. Now see through window insulators that have radiant barrier and infiltration benefits are a reality. This is a product to consider as it allows for cool daylighting wherein you get natural light while the insulator is addressing cold and hot weather issues. We envision a time in the not to distant future when good business management will align with being a good corporate citizen and energy efficiency will be the norm. The sooner we make such a commitment the sooner we realize the savings which may the best investment possible in terms of return.