We have warm weather in Arizona, and it comes with substantial surges in our utility bills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the nation’s small businesses spend more than $60 billion a year on energy. However, keeping your business cool during the summer months does not have to result in increasing your energy expenses.
Small businesses that invest in energy efficiency can cut utility costs 10 to 30 percent without sacrificing service, quality, style or comfort, all while making significant contributions to a cleaner environment. By becoming more energy efficient, small businesses help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve their own financial bottom line. Small businesses can typically save as much money and prevent as much pollution, per square foot, as large corporations.
To get started, here are six tips to help prepare your small business for the intense summer heat in Arizona.
- Use your windows to keep out the heat. By installing thick window coverings, a small business can prevent heat gain through windows during the summer days. There are a variety of window treatments and coverings to explore that can improve energy efficiency during business hours. Control the direct sun through windows in both summer and winter to prevent or encourage heat gain.
- Use fans and ventilation strategies to cool your space. Depending on the small business, it can create heat in different rooms and in many ways. Kitchens, laundry rooms and others will require proper ventilation to avoid heat spreading to other rooms. Use a ceiling fan to distribute cool air by creating a wind chill effect. But remember to turn fans off when you leave a room or close the business for the day. Find Energy Star ventilating fans for maximum energy efficiency.
- Keep your cooling system and thermostat working efficiently. Tuning up your heating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system with annual maintenance or upgrades can help your small business save thousands of dollars in the long run. Regularly change or clean HVAC filters and install a programmable thermostat. Today, there are many emerging technologies and smart devices to help you monitor the performance of your HVAC system from your phone. Set your thermostat at a temperature you find comfortable and that provides humidity control, if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
- Consider a range of appliance and light options that operate at cooler temperatures. Efficient lighting for spaces has come a long way. Use motion sensors to control the on-off switch, install dimmers to use less energy to light your space, or use mobile-friendly technology to control your lights or appliances from anywhere. As for equipment, consider buying Energy Star-certified appliances and avoid using heat-producing equipment during the hottest parts of the day.
- Keep hot air from leaking into your business. In Arizona, hot air will inevitably enter your workspace when you open the door or window. Seal any cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your small business. Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows.
- Lower your water heating costs during the summer. Water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your business. Harnessing the power of the sun can also help you keep your water warm without using combustion or electricity. Consider investing in solar heating devices or using room temperature water for everyday uses. This can have a big impact in your heating bills. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting your water heater at no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding. The lower setting will also conserve energy and save money.
Small businesses have an opportunity to become more climate resilient, and Arizona is the perfect place to start transforming into a more environmentally friendly operation. Take a moment to explore the Going Green and Going Smart Program to learn how you can transform your small business by joining the #GreenBizAZ community. This initiative aims to educate small-business owners in sustainable business practices for a cleaner, greener future in Arizona.
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