It can’t be avoided—commercial buildings need to use energy to get work done. There’s no “going off the grid” for the vast majority of businesses, unless their business is renting out clotheslines for drying laundry. Nevertheless, most commercial buildings are using too much energy for their actual needs.
Nearly 30 percent of the energy they consume is wasted — and that wasted energy is costly. Not only does wasted energy cost additional resources needed to generate it, but it also costs businesses money they don’t need to be spending. It’s estimated that if all commercial and industrial properties in the United States could improve their energy efficiency by just 10 percent, businesses could save as much as $40 billion a year.
Most of the energy being used by commercial properties in the United States is necessary, but a lot of it is not. Fortunately for businesses and commercial property owners looking to reduce their energy costs, many of the most-effective ways they can reduce energy usage in their properties also are relatively simple to accomplish. In a number of cases, businesses and property owners can achieve significant savings simply by turning off equipment when it’s not in use. The majority of wasted energy is via heating systems that are running when no one is in the room, by computers that are left on when they are not in use, and by lighting that doesn’t need to be on because daylight is sufficient.
Simply being mindful of what is actually needed during the business day and what isn’t can have a big impact on a commercial building’s energy usage. Businesses and property owners can help themselves and the environment by following some common-sense practices. The following guide details the three key areas where commercial buildings waste the most energy, along with some simple strategies for reducing that wasted energy. Commercial buildings use a lot of energy by necessity, but they can reduce their energy use by a good amount without turning the lights off completely.