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The average American business spends 30% more on energy than it needs to. But you have the power to change that: making energy efficiency upgrades puts you in charge of your utility bills.

Cutting your energy waste is an investment that will pay for itself and then some—even in a matter of months.

It’s also a key part of establishing your brand as one that is socially and environmentally responsible.

D-I-Y (or skip to Calling in the Pros)

Doing the work of energy optimization begins with understanding your energy use: how much are you spending on energy and what areas of your operation are the most energy-intensive? Spending a little time gathering intel will help you make informed choices.

First, know thyself...

  • Gather or look up your past utility bills (12-24 months is best) and notice how your consumption varies from month to month and year to year. Identifying your usage patterns will help guide your decision-making.
  • Use this checklist to assess your building’s energy systems. Note what efficiency measures have already been taken, and what needs attention.

Identify your energy profile

Every business uses energy differently. Identify your business’s unique energy profile with Efficiency United’s Online Commercial Energy Profile tool. A list of questions will help you determine what your largest energy usage categories are and where you can start saving. Start with Efficiency United: > “Commercial & Industrial” > select your utility > use the “Online Commercial Energy Profile” tool.

Track your building performance and savings over time

The EPA’s free energy and water tracking tool, Portfolio Manager, enables you to assess your building or buildings’ performance, set goals, and measure improvements. This online tool:

  • Tracks gas, electric, and water consumption.
  • Provides weather-normalized performance data.
  • Enables you to track of multiple meters and buildings all in one place.
  • Compares your building’s performance with that of similar facilities.

For more information and to get started creating a free account, go to EnergyStar.gov.

How your utility can help

Start at Efficiency United, select your utility from the drop down menu, then click “Learn More” under Commercial & Industrial Programs.  Here you will find an application, worksheet and the Rebates Catalog.

Calling in the Pros

A commercial energy evaluation (more extensive than the basic one your utility may provide) takes the guesswork out of energy optimization projects. There’s no ballpark cost for a commercial energy assessment, since facilities vary widely.

Benefits

  • An energy assessment will include specific recommendations for your building, focusing on lowest-cost/highest-impact measures.
  • The contractor will estimate the project cost, less the available rebates, and will calculate the expected savings.
  • You’ll come away with a clear picture of the upfront cost and the return on investment.
  • Financing options are available specifically for energy efficiency improvements. Read more here.

Get started by finding a licensed contractor in your area with general or specialized expertise.