Save Money with a Smaller Footprint

Save Money with Smaller FootprintReducing your energy costs not only saves you money, but also reduces your carbon footprint. Many major cities are starting to require benchmark energy consumption measurements. But why stop there? Conducting an energy audit of your company could save you anywhere from 5 to 50 percent of your energy costs and make you eligible for a green company designation.

An energy audit can show you where your money is going. 3E Energy identifies systems such as chilled water, steam, hot water, compressed air, lighting, heating and cooling, boilers, and controls to determine what can be upgraded to save you money and make your business more environmentally-friendly.

“We go into a facility and look for ways to reduce their energy consumption and save money,” says Bob Jones, owner of 3E Energy. “We do an analysis of all of their equipment, their operating hours, and show our customers how they can make adjustments to save them money. Sometimes customers save through capital expenditures by upgrading equipment such as HVAC and lighting, but many times, savings are realized through operational improvements which has an immediate payback.”

3E Energy evaluates the system’s design. They may recommend replacing or modifying equipment, installing better controls, reevaluating operating procedures, or training personnel.

One of the biggest savings customers can realize is through their lighting. “Lighting is always a low hanging fruit,” says Jones. “We tell people to put the most efficient lighting in there and then figure out how to turn it off with motion sensors or other methods. Sometimes, if you have a warehouse, then it may be the only thing you can do if it isn’t air conditioned.”

After 3E Energy concludes their audit, customers receive a report with 3E Energy’s recommendations that also includes what equipment is using the most energy through load profile charts. The report also shows a breakdown of what things will cost, how much it will reduce your energy consumption, how much you will save, and how much it reduces your carbon footprint.

Audits range in price depending on the depth of analysis. 3E Energy says that their audits range from $1,500 to $10,000. Jones says that the average savings is around 35 percent. Some electric companies and electric distributors will pay for an audit. You can check with your company to see if they have a program and if you qualify.

Other companies like Energy Saving Strategies (ESS) will evaluate your current lighting. ESS provides you with a free estimate of how much you will save to have them replace it with new, more energy efficient technology. ESS has updated lighting for small businesses, warehouses, parking lots, garages, hospitals, office buildings, and others all across the nation.

“In addition to updating the lighting, we also install motion and dim-able sensors on lighting,” says Charlie Taylor, senior project manager with ESS. “The dimmers adjust for the areas that receive outside light and those more interior spaces that may not receive as much light. Motion sensors work great for bathrooms and warehouses or any rooms that you only need light some of the time.”

ESS replaces a lot of fluorescent and incandescent lighting. Although the largest contributor to energy loads is your HVAC unit, ESS can typically reduce a company’s energy bill by 20 percent.

“There are also utility companies such as Austin Energy, Centerpoint, and AEP that are paying rebates to businesses that become more energy efficient,” adds Taylor. “It costs so much to generate additional power, that paying rebates to people to lower their bills is cheaper than generating more power.”

Whether your goal is to lower your expenses or your carbon footprint, energy savings is a great way to go. Many cities throughout the country have a green business designation program. Check with your city to see how to qualify. Even if your city doesn’t have a program in place, then you can include your carbon footprint reduction on your marketing materials.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), January to June of this year has been “the warmest first half of any year on record for the contiguous United States.” In June, more than 170 record high temperature records were broken or tied.

In a Time article, Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona said, “the extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level.” With that in mind, reducing our carbon footprint seems like a good idea.

3E Energy conducts audits nationwide. Their three consultants have more than 60 years of combined experience in the electric business. Their clients have included TXU Energy, Oncor, mortgage companies, cities, school districts, churches, data centers, and numerous manufacturing facilities. If you are interested in learning more about 3E Energy, visit www.3eenergy.com.

Energy Saving Strategies (ESS) offices in Texas. For more information on ESS, visit www.energyss.com. If you are interested in scheduling ESS to come out to your business, call Charlie Taylor at 512-912-6432.

Story by Jennifer Taylor

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