As in winters past, this year will likely be unpredictable, with warmer-than-average (and wetter) weather predicted in some areas of the country and brutally cold storms likely to affect some regions of the U.S.
With so much uncertainty, what can facility managers do to protect themselves from the risk of a larger-than-normal energy bill? Ultimately, there’s one significant factor these businesses can control: their efficiency efforts. Finding ways to reduce energy consumption should be every organization’s top priority; making any reduction in energy costs can be an immensely helpful step toward better budget management.
Here are three steps facility managers and their teams can take this winter that will go a long way toward reducing out-of-control energy spend:
1) Consider an Energy Audit
Running your properties more efficiently is beneficial year-round, but winter is an ideal time to get serious about your organization’s energy usage. Before you can take steps to address consumption, your team needs to benchmark where you’re at today. Determining when and how your team is using energy helps determine what actions will most reduce your energy costs.
For gathering and analyzing this data, it’s helpful to consult with an expert. A great place to start is by looking at your energy supplier. As far as internal resources, you’ll be most successful in implementing efficiency efforts and controlling costs when operations, maintenance, finance and accounting teams all work together.
2) Reduce Your Peak Demand
One of the most effective ways to save on power costs is to reduce your organization’s peak demand, which is the time when your building’s energy usage is highest. Efficiency efforts help save organizations money by lowering the demand required to run a facility and being able to flex your energy load through efficiency solutions is one of the simplest ways to reduce your energy spend.
3) Make the Easy Changes
If your business hasn’t yet replaced old, energy-draining light bulbs with more efficient LED lighting, now is the time. LED technology is highly customizable and up to 90 percent more efficient. Next, make sure your thermostats are programmed to heat your spaces only when necessary. And lastly, prevent “phantom loads”—electricity being consumed when a device is plugged in but not in use—by using power strips that can turn off several devices at once.
This winter, your best bet for energy savings is to focus on efficiency. If you end up facing unpredictable winter weather that requires massive energy consumption to keep your facilities warm, being able to flex energy load through efficiency solutions is one of the simplest ways to reduce energy expenses.