Two Energy Focuses within One Small Business

Tyler Nellis |

A problem often faced by small business owners when looking to tap into their energy savings potential is being on the same page as their employees. Without teamwork between the owner and the employees, the business might not be able to identify ways to reduce utility expenses.

One such example of this difficulty of communication between owner and employees can be seen within a local, owner-operated hair salon. The owner meticulously works to reduce the energy usage within the salon. Setting back the thermostat when the salon is closed, making sure lights aren’t on when parts of the salon are unoccupied, and turning off all curling irons and hair dryer heaters at the end of the day; all measures taken by the owner in an effort to achieve the most energy savings possible.

However, although the owner is conscientious of reducing energy usage when possible, the employees of the salon may not be as aware of what small behavioral changes can be made in order to reduce the utility bills of the salon. Another difference between the owner and employees is the focus they have while at the salon. The owner’s focus is around the whole business operation, while the employees focus may be more process and client oriented. Although the energy savings is seen more by the business as a whole, these extra dollars can be shifted within the budget and can be seen by the employees as well.  

In order to achieve the maximum savings potential for the business, the difference in focus between the owner and employees must be addressed. One method in which the whole business can work together to address energy is a “treasure hunt.” A treasure hunt involves the cooperation of both the management and employees in order to chart out the energy usage of a business. If the business is process or manufacturing heavy, these high usage machines and equipment are collectively mapped out. After finding the energy usage in the business, the next step is to work together in order to find different areas that can reduce energy usage. By involving the entire team with this process, a treasure hunt creates a sense of unity in achieving your energy efficiency goals.

 Another effective way to address this issue of teamwork is by installing energy conservation measures that do the work for you. One such measure that can be installed is an internet thermostat. This type of thermostat allows you to control the levels of the thermostat even when away from your business. This measure makes it easy to be sure that your HVAC system is running at a minimal level for times when temperature control isn’t necessary.  

Another easy step to take to reduce energy usage is to incorporate it into the daily routine of the business to unplug items that are not in use, but are still using some electricity. By making this operational change, your business can achieve savings without spending a dime.

About 12% of total energy conservation measures suggested by the audits completed through the COSE Energy Program were purely operational. These operational changes provide savings for your business without any initial investment whatsoever. These operational changes, such as light and HVAC management, can provide significant savings on both electric and natural gas.    

Along with communication between the owner and employees as well as the installation of measures that allow for greater control over the energy usage for a business, the difference in focus between parties can be bridged. A small business participating in the COSE Energy Program can achieve an energy savings of about 25-30%. This level of savings on energy can allow a small business to shift these dollars to other key areas of their operating budget. By aligning focus between owner and employees, your business can reach these savings goals and increase efficiency!