How Renewable Energy Solutions Can Help Businesses Reduce Costs
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If the gas price hikes of recent months have taught business owners anything, it’s that circumstances beyond their control can profoundly impact their bottom line.
The good news, however, is that a revived focus on alternative energy sources has given rise to new ways to run a profitable business without losing ground on energy costs.
We look at some case studies and scenarios here, providing insights into ways you can choose alternative energy sources without breaking the bank.
Solar Shines a Light on Savings
Jackson Enterprise LLC, a California-based manufacturing firm, had an existing solar energy solution augmented and improved for its 10,000-square-foot facility several years ago.
The new system resulted in an average annual savings of over $11K and met 100% of the company’s energy needs. While the initial price tag of $84K sounds significant, rebates and tax credits resulted in a net cost of $49K, providing close to a 25% return on investment.
One key to a successful solution was that existing and new systems could be integrated—a nod not only to cost savings but sustainability. So, if your business adopted solar years ago, it pays to see what can be salvaged instead of replacing everything.
To read the complete case study on energysage.com, click here.
A Window on Wind Power
When you consider how long windmills and schooners have dotted the world’s horizons, you realize wind power has been around for centuries.
And while large-scale wind farms have sprung up over the past decades, practical wind power for small business use may still be a ways off—unless you happen to be into farming, ranching, or any operation that does business in wide-open spaces.
If so, investing in a wind turbine could pay off in the long run. But first, you need to understand wind performance, a measure of how breezy it is where your business is located. Fortunately, the government publishes wind performance data regularly to help assess feasibility.
Still, a single turbine could set you back $50K or more, depending on the circumstances, which is a deal killer if you’re navigating razor-thin profit margins.
In an ironic twist, some farmers have figured out how to capitalize on wind as an energy source without the hefty price tag. Located mainly throughout the country’s wind belt, they’ve agreed to trade the use of their land for turbines for a cut of the profits. Read more about these unlikely agricultural pioneers here.
If solar and wind aren’t suitable for you, there are still plenty of ways to cut energy costs. Some of them involve looking at traditional energy users in a different light.
According to Small Business Trends, switching out a freezer for an ice maker can cut energy usage from 2,200 kWh per month to 350 kWh per month. Moreover, the ones that process large quantities of ice are the most efficient.
This simple switch can make a big difference if you’re a caterer or make a living in the hospitality, bar, or restaurant space.
Water use, especially in warmer climates prone to shortages and droughts, can be reduced along with energy costs simply by outfitting your business with high-efficiency toilets. In homes, toilets account for nearly 30% of water consumption.
If your business has multiple toilets and heavy foot traffic, installing these water-saving devices can have an immediate impact.
The same sun that can inexpensively power your business through solar panels can also work against you if you don’t take steps to keep it from shining where it isn’t helping your cause.
Heat gain from direct sunlight through bare windows can create greater demand for fans and air conditioning. However, by covering your businesses’ windows with blinds, you can reduce heat gain by up to 76%. It also reduces the need to keep fans and air conditioners constantly running.
In the ongoing effort to keep energy costs low while running a sustainable business, don’t forget the power generated when employees and management collaborate.
Enlist and encourage your team to be as energy conscious as possible and solicit ideas from them on reducing energy use and costs. They may better understand what equipment or habits are draining your circuits and budget than you do.
You might even go so far as to create a role in your company for an ‘energy czar’ who makes sure good energy habits are being embraced and practiced regularly. And when everyone gets on board, the feeling can be electric!