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A young business owner reads while cooling off in front of a large industrial fan.

As temperatures begin to rise in the summer months, so do your energy bills. Juggling customer and employee comfort with affordable energy bills is no easy task.  However, taking a proactive approach to energy efficiency is a savvy way to balance both your bottom line and a comfortable work environment. It’s possible for an average commercial building to save up to 30% in energy costs with low to no-cost actions and strategic upgrades. Explore our summer energy efficiency solutions and discover comfort and cost savings all season long.

Low to No-Cost Tips for a Cooler Business

Simple behavioral changes and low-cost upgrades can make a major difference when temperatures are off the charts. When summer heat becomes unbearable, these minimal-effort solutions help you manage energy expenses while keeping sweltering heat outside where it belongs.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats can save up to $180 each year on energy expenses. Business owners can program them with their operational hours for comfort during the work day and energy savings after closing time. Additional features enable zoning functionality so you can prioritize cooling high-traffic areas over less used spaces like backstock areas or storage. Programmable thermostats typically range from $150-500 depending on their complexity and smart features which is a low price tag for year-round comfort and savings. 

Businesses can save up to 3% on energy bills for each degree the thermostat is raised after business hours.

Ideal Thermostat Temperature Settings for Summer

In the summer, the ideal thermostat temperature is around 78°F during business hours and 85°F, or turned off, outside of operating hours. Businesses can save up to 3% for each degree the thermostat is raised during the summer. However, it’s important to note that the pursuit of cost savings needs to be balanced with customer and employee comfort. Use these temperatures as a starting point and adjust according to comfort and local weather conditions.

Seasonal HVAC Maintenance

Each year in the U.S., $14 billion is spent on HVAC services and repairs. Heating and cooling accounts for about half of a building’s energy consumption, so any effort to improve efficiency will likely result in notable savings. When temperatures sky rocket, a well-maintained HVAC system will keep you cool without having to overwork the equipment. Prepare for the summer heat with our seasonal summer maintenance tips below.

Summer HVAC Maintenance should including changing air filters and inspecting the AC unit and related systems.

HVAC Maintenance to Prepare for Summer Heat

Examine Outdoor A/C Units: Dirt and debris can affect the performance of your cooling system. Make sure to clean your A/C units seasonally for better airflow and to prepare for professional maintenance.

Inspect Refrigerant Line Insulation:  Proper insulation prevents energy waste and contributes to consistent, cool temperatures for a comfortable working environment.

Schedule Regular Professional Maintenance: Take a proactive approach to cooling by scheduling an HVAC inspection during the spring. They’ll inspect all components of your equipment, alerting you to any inefficiencies before they become costly repairs.

HVAC Maintenance Prior to Peak Summer Temperatures

Change Air Filters: At a minimum, you should plan to change your air filters every 3 months. In areas with high levels of construction or manufacturing, you may need to change filters more frequently. Fresh filters reduce HVAC energy consumption up to 15%.

Calibrate Thermostat for Summer: Turning the temperature as low as possible doesn’t expedite the cooling process. On average, A/C systems can cool your space between 15-20°F. The most efficient temperature for thermostats in the summer is around 78°F.

Clean Air Ducts and Vents: Ensure unobstructed air flow by cleaning ducts and vents. Regular cleaning contributes to better indoor air quality and increased air flow.

Inspect & Clean the Condensate Drain Line: Prevent clogs and potential water damage by maintaining your condensate drain line prior to summer. This proactive step safeguards your cooling system while improving indoor humidity levels.

Additional Low to no-Cost Cooling Methods

Practice Daylighting: Reduce energy consumption for overhead lighting by prioritizing natural light during daytime hours. Position workstations near windows with indirect sunlight when possible.

Change Ceiling Fan Direction: Switching your ceiling fan to rotate counterclockwise in the summer helps circulate cool air around the space more efficiently. 

Install window coverings: Shades, blinds, and awnings reduce heat gain through sun exposure and limit sun glare. Cover windows throughout the day during periods of direct sunlight.

Shade your A/C Units: Make sure your air conditioning unit has shade coverage. If left in direct sunlight, the unit’s compressor must work harder to deliver cold air, leading to greater energy usage.

Power-Down Procedures: Turn off heat-producing electronics and appliances when feasible. Examples of heat producing electronics include: printers, projectors, copiers, incandescent or fluorescent lighting, and kitchen appliances.

Upgrades & Investments for a Cooler Business

Making strategic upgrades can significantly improve your building’s energy performance. Whether you’re interested in investing in smart technology for energy management or upgrading your facility’s building systems, larger energy efficiency investments provide significant long-term cost savings for your business.

Technology Investments to Reduce Energy Costs

Upgrade to LED Lighting: – LED light bulbs are up to 75% more efficient than incandescent lighting and have a significantly longer lifespan. Furthermore, LED technology releases almost no heat when in operation, whereas incandescent light bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat, forcing HVAC systems to work harder to keep the space cool.

Invest in building and technology upgrades to keep your building cool this summer.

Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances: Making a strategic investment for energy-efficient appliances provides cost savings with improved performance. Look for appliances bearing Energy Star certification, the government-backed symbol of energy efficiency. 

Install an Energy Management System (EMS):  Manage all of your energy consumption in real-time by installing a comprehensive energy management system (EMS). EMS solutions provide management tools for HVAC, lighting, and major appliances. Most EMS come with analytics tools, providing you with data-driven insights on how to improve efficiency.

Strategic Building Upgrades to Reduce Energy Costs

Seal Cracks and Improve Insulation 

One of the quickest ways to reduce your business’s energy consumption is by sealing any cracks, gaps, or blemishes in the facility’s building envelope and improving insulation. On average, 30% of a building’s energy usage is wasted through building inefficiencies. Sealing cracks and improving insulation helps keep unwanted heat outside while conserving cool air inside. 

Upgrade to Reflective Roofing Materials

Reflective roofing, also called cool roofing, reflects sunlight off the building, absorbing less solar energy.  Cool roofing techniques help keep your business cool, similar to how light-colored clothing helps people keep cool on sunny days. Conventional roofs can get as hot as 150°F or more at the peak of summer, however reflective roofing reduces this heat by up to 50%. This upgrade significantly reduces strain on your cooling system.

Landscaping to Improve Building Efficiency

Thoughtfully designed landscaping not only improves the appearance of your business, but also can help reduce energy costs. Shade-bearing foliage can help reduce your heating and cooling costs up to 25%. Consider well-placed trees and shrubs for a beautiful way to reduce energy bills.

Beat the Heat While Saving Some Green

By implementing some of the tips and investments highlighted in this article, businesses can effectively manage energy costs while ensuring a comfortable environment for employees and customers. From simple behavioral changes to strategic technological upgrades, there are plenty of options available to keep your business cool and cost-efficient all summer long. Embrace these solutions, stay cool, and enjoy the savings!

Take your summer energy savings one step further by contacting the energy experts at Integrity Energy. Our dedicated commercial energy brokers are able to negotiate some of the most competitive business energy rates on the market, providing savings for many seasons to come. Don’t let energy expenses get you hot under the collar – take the first step towards long-term savings by requesting a free quote today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the ideal thermostat temperature for businesses in the summer?

In the summer, the most efficient temperature for businesses is around 78°F during business hours. Outside of business operations, adjust your thermostat to 85°F or turn the A/C unit off. For every degree you adjust your thermostat, you could achieve up to 3% in energy savings.

How can I ensure that my cooling systems are operating efficiently and effectively?

The best method for ensuring your cooling systems are operating efficiently is by taking a proactive approach to maintenance. Scheduling seasonal maintenance improves the performance of your HVAC system while fostering an extended lifespan for the equipment. 

How can I determine the right cooling techniques or technology for my business?

Every business has unique energy demands and efficiency improvement opportunities. If you’re unsure how to get started, consider scheduling a commercial energy audit. Their professional expertise provides insights into your business’s energy performance, low-cost efficiency opportunities, and greater investments to improve your property.

What are some no-cost ways to improve energy efficiency and create a more comfortable environment during summer months?

Improve your business’s energy efficiency and create a comfortable environment by changing your ceiling fans to a counter-clockwise rotation, practicing daylighting (or prioritizing natural light instead of overhead lighting), and implementing power-down procedures for heat-producing electronics and appliances.  

Are there financial incentives or financing options available for more costly building upgrades?

There are a variety of financial incentives and financing options available for larger energy efficiency projects. If you’re upgrading major building systems, like HVAC or lighting, you may qualify for specific tax credits or rebates. You can review the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for what incentives are available in your area. 

For additional answers to your energy-saving questions, please visit our general FAQ page.