Measure your energy performance
Measuring your energy use will allow you to identify how your buildings and equipment are performing and identify potential investments.
You may want to consider hiring an environmental or building expert to help you perform an energy audit and see where energy efficiency improvements can be made.
If you own or rent a commercial building, the free online Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool can help you benchmark your building’s energy use against other similar buildings across North America.
Designate an energy manager
An energy manager or an energy champion is someone who is charged with finding and implementing energy saving projects and behavioral changes that make business sense.
Designating and empowering an energy manager will show your staff that you are serious about energy efficiency and will provide your company with a catalyst for change.
Purchase efficient equipment
Upgrading your appliance and equipment can lead to significant reductions in energy use. Energy Star certifies products that save energy without compromising performance.
Energy star products will tend to be in the top 15 to 30% of their class for energy performance. An energy star certified computer, for example, will use 30% to 65% less energy than a typical non-certified model, depending on its use. These products are often no more expensive than their competitors—making them even more attractive.
Cut lighting costs
Being smart about lighting is one of the easiest ways to lower your energy costs.
Upgrading to LED lighting, for example, can help you reduce your maintenance costs, while using 75% less energy than incandescent lighting.
You can also reduce your lighting costs by up to 70% by using occupancy sensors in infrequently used spaces such as boardrooms and restrooms. Another place where sensors make sense is outside, where daylight sensors can reduce waste and save a lot of money.
Make your building more efficient
Building enhancements are another very effective way to reduce your energy costs. Improvements you can make include:
- Upgrading your windows and doors so they provide better insulation.
- Installing programmable thermostats.
- Investing in a heat ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system to cut down on your heating and cooling costs.
Implementing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System (LEED) can provide you with a roadmap to make your building more efficient. This rating system measures the energy and environmental performance of your building, helping you identify green design strategies as well as measure and monitor progress.
If you rent space for your business, you may want to consider entering a "green" lease. Green leases enable landlords and tenants to set targets for energy, water, indoor air quality and recycling, and enables landlords to carry out green renovations to existing building stock.
Use energy management software
Depending on the type and scale of your operations, using energy management software could be a good way to get a handle on your energy costs.
Some software solutions are optimized for energy intensive manufacturing and industrial sites, while others focus on large commercial buildings, enterprise-wide energy tracking or even retail chains. As such, it’s very important that you shop around to find the right energy management software for your industry and needs.
You may want to look at the resources available for energy efficiency projects through your provincial government or utility company.
A list of all grants and financial incentives for energy efficiency by province is available on the Natural Resources Canada website.