By Trevor McDonald

Do you ever feel like money is flying out the window? It’s a common feeling among small business owners, but there’s a chance it may be a reality for you.

If your office is wasting energy, you are also wasting money. We all know the adage about time equaling money. Well, anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of a high energy bill knows that energy equals money too.

Take the time to make your office more energy efficient with these five tips, and you’ll save money in the long run.

Get smart about office lighting

Put someone in charge of turning off the office lights before they leave for the night. This may be a janitor or someone who works late. The cost to run individual lights are minimal, but these expenses can add up big time in an office. In fact, lighting tends to be one of the biggest energy expenditures for any business.

Your employees need adequate lighting to do their jobs, but there are energy efficient ways to provide them with the lighting they need. Keep the shades drawn during the day to allow for natural light and replace old incandescent or fluorescent bulbs with energy efficient models. To take it a step further, invest in motion sensors that will turn the lights on and off when someone enters the room. Motion-sensor lighting is especially beneficial for bathrooms where lights tend to stay on unnecessarily.

Switch energy providers

If you’re running your business from a deregulated energy state, you don’t have to pay whatever your energy company tells you. You can shop around for the best rates. This is one way to save money without sacrificing anything. With a little comparison shopping, you can save big. Start with a Google search for energy providers in your area. Many third-party websites allow you to view all options in your area and compare rates.

Do an energy audit

Some companies will do an energy audit for free, but even if you have to pay, you can save money in the long run. With an energy audit, you’ll find out exactly where your business is “leaking energy.” At the end of the audit, you’ll receive a detailed report with advice on where you can cut back to save money or invest in a more energy efficient solution.

Service your HVAC system

When your HVAC system needs service, it does not run efficiently. Clogged vents, leaks in the piping unit and dirty air filters can all increase your energy bill. Even if your HVAC system seems to be running in tip-top shape, remember that it needs regular maintenance. Schedule regular HVAC service calls and stay on top of any repairs that need to be done. You may think you’re saving money by putting off an HVAC repair, but it could end up costing you more in the long run.

Address the electronic energy vampires of the office

Electronics are the lifeline of most offices, but they’re also some of the biggest energy wasters around. Here are some tips for managing these energy vampires in a way that is energy efficient:

  • Use laptops when possible – Laptops can save up to 90% on energy versus desktop computers. So when it’s time to replace a desktop, consider a laptop computer instead. They also come with the benefit of being portable, so employees can easily work from home.
  • Power down office electronics when not in use – Leaving supplies like computers, printers, modems and phones powered on can really hike up your energy bill. Choose models that can be put on sleep mode when not in use, or request that employees power these devices down before leaving for the day.
  • Put the break room on a break – When everyone goes home for the day, take a quick stroll around the break room to turn off appliances like the coffee machine and toaster oven. For added energy savings, unplug them too.

Remember that energy savings is a team effort, and it’s not something you can reasonably do alone. Talk to your team about how they can help save energy in the office. You can hold an early-morning meeting to discuss or invite an expert to share easy tips that employees can follow daily.

If you’re the one who is teaching your staff about ways to save energy around the office, be sure to stress the importance of turning off lights, putting computers to sleep at night and lunchtime and turning off the coffee machine after each use. These may sound like small things, but they add up to big savings over time.

Saving energy is good for the environment and the company’s bottom line. Combined, these things should be enough motivate you and your staff to conserve energy.

Trevor McDonald is a freelance writer who focuses on business, health and wellness, energy, home improvement, and finance. He enjoys using his talent for words to help educate others. In his free time, you can find him writing for different publications or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.