Any business takes a significant amount of energy to keep it running smoothly. The phone lines, computers, lights, and heating and cooling systems all expend a great deal of energy, which adds to the total consumption of the estimated 4 trillion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity used in the U.S. in 2011. Of this US Energy Information Administration estimated kWh total, only about 13% of the energy is provided by alternative sources like solar or wind power. This means that much of the electricity is still considered goal-generated, which can be costly.
When you compare electricity prices for businesses with one another, there is not much of a difference in consumption. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau attributed about 8.3 billion kWh of electricity to the commercial sector alone in 2010. This means that while there has been a significant rise in energy saving tactics and “go green” initiatives, these have yet to make a strong dent in the energy consumption of businesses. It also indicates that electric and gas providers continue to make a healthy sum, and could be the reason why oil and gas companies dominate Wikipedia’s listing of the largest companies in the world by revenue.
But there are ways to curb energy consumption. With a few simple energy-saving strategies, and a close look at alternative programs, companies can save money on electricity bills, and lower their total output.
- Heating and cooling often makes up the majority of a residential home’s monthly energy bill. When you compare electricity prices for businesses with residential electricity costs, it is no different. To heat or cool an entire building is hard work for a commercial HVAC system. By keeping the temperature at a constant level during any season, a business can save money on heating and cooling. For example, during the winter time, fluctuating the temperature gauge can force a heating system to constantly heat the building at varying settings, which expends more energy.
- The appliances in any company can be considered “energy vampires,” according to CPS Energy, the largest municipally owned utility company in the U.S. These devices are constantly running on electricity. Many people leave their desk computers on 24 hours a day, and an entire room full of these computers results in wasted energy. Instead, companies can encourage their employees to use sleep mode as much as possible, and also unplug their device, if possible, to help lower the electricity bill.
- It would be beneficial for business to switch electricity companies, and go with one that provides a more energy efficient model. For example, in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, a company called Unitil is working with businesses to provide energy efficient programs, and replace older equipment. Once these newer programs become more widespread, it will be important to compare electricity prices for businesses and see if there has been an decrease in overall energy expenditure in all companies. While these alternatives are more common for smaller companies that use less than 300 kW per month, they could provide a template for other electricity providers to follow.
While it is not feasible to expect all companies to change electric service providers to ones that use highly efficient models, companies can at least utilize energy saving tools to lower their bills in the mean time. Based on the total output of energy in the commercial sector, energy-saving tactics could be the best way to curb excess energy consumption for now. References.