Should Small Businesses Focus On Increasing Energy Efficiency?

Small businesses across the country face a large number of unavoidable expenses all year long, from labor costs to rent, but when it comes to utilities, there may be more than a little bit of wiggle room to trim the fat from a company’s budget. As such, it might be wise for owners to consider the ways in which they may be running up their water or electric bills and think about how they might be able to successfully reduce them.

In a recent forum on energy efficiency and management in Illinois, executives from 120 companies discussed the ways in which companies cutting their energy use specifically had a positive impact not only on bottom lines, but on the ability of power companies to provide coverage more reliably, according to a report from the DeKalb Daily Herald. Since the Illinois legislature put energy efficiency programs into place about six years ago, one of the state’s largest energy providers has seen use drop 4 percent; that’s the equivalent of an entire small town no longer using energy during that time.

And the thing for small business owners to keep in mind is that the changes they need to make to realize potentially massive savings aren’t even all that big, the report said. Relying on fluorescent or LED lights, for example, can significantly reduce energy bills over the course of a month or year, as can slightly more expensive changes such as installing devices that can regulate heat and air conditioning systems. Often, the cost of obtaining such things can be offset by incentives from local governments or even energy companies themselves, and the costs are generally offset in either case within two years, but as little as six months.

“Saving energy is saving money, it’s that simple,” Ed Kriz, program manager for energy efficiency at Nicor Gas, told attendees at the event, according to the newspaper.

Where to get started?
When it comes to finding out just how they can save in this way, individual businesses usually have a wealth of options available to them, the report said. Often, their energy companies might be able to provide a free assessment of their situations, and give them pointers for cutting their costs going forward.

Owners worried about their bottom lines can also try to reduce expenses in other ways, like finding lower-cost small business insurance coverage that still fits their needs. More affordable liability insurance, for instance, can reduce costs by as much as a few thousand dollars annually.