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Helping Business Communities Deal With Covid-19


As countless businesses across the country deal with mandatory shut-down to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, reducing unnecessary overhead costs has become a top priority. For many small businesses, electricity and gas are significant portions of monthly expenses. However, managers and owners may not know that effectively reducing energy usage requires more than just shutting off the lights. Below are five simple tips businesses can take to ensure their energy bills are as low as possible during the Covid-19 shutdown.


Reducing Your HVAC Costs

Why It matters
        • 33% of small businesses report that heating and cooling make up the largest portion of their energy costs.
        • Only 14% of small businesses have a smart thermostat
        • Even a unit that is only 10 years old can cost a small business more than 20% on their heating/cooling costs. New energy efficient models that replace air conditioners or furnaces built in the 1970s save business owners, on average, up to 50% on their HVAC costs.


What to do

        1. Set ambient temperature to lower levels in cool months to avoid heating unused spaces
        2. Unplug space heaters
        3. Search for energy efficiency rebates on energystar.gov 


Potential savings*

A typical small restaurant in our data set can expect to save $110 a year by checking, cleaning, and changing air filters. Larger improvements, like installing an EnergyStar central AC unit could save a small restaurant nearly a thousand dollars a year. 


Reducing Costs From Office Equipment


Why it matters
        • A bottom-up study by ACEEE of about 40 different types of commercial office and telecommunications equipment found that commercial office and telecommunications equipment accounted for about 2.7% of national electricity consumption
        • For a desktop computer that is currently always on, you could save an average of $15/year by turning it off for 8 hours each night. However, if you prefer to enable your computer’s sleep mode, the difference in savings is only about $.44/year compared to turning it off, with saving of about $14.56/year.
        • Desktop –$27.50 / 275 kWh. Laptop –$5.30 / 53 kWh. Monitor –$4.10/41 kWh. Printer –$1.10 / 11 kWh



What to do

        1. Unplug instead of putting on standby
        2. Charge during off-peak hours
Potential savings

A typical office building in our data set could save $30 a year per TV by unplugging unwatched monitors currently on standby. 




Reducing Your Refrigeration Costs

Why it matters
        • Your refrigerator's insulation determines how well it prevents heat from penetrating the cooler's walls. Each unit has an R-value that can tell you how well it is insulated
        • Dirty condenser and evaporator coils block airflow, which drags down refrigerator efficiency and can lead to 90% more energy being used.

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What to do
        1. Switching off door heaters can save a restaurant $75 annually.
        2. Add strip curtains to walk-in coolers and freezers.
        3. To properly set defrost cycles, use the pins on the outside ring of the defrost time clock to set the number of cycles. Then adjust the center dial to determine the length of each defrost cycle.
Potential savings

Installing strip curtains on walk-in freezers and coolers reduces energy demand by preventing cold air from escaping coolers and freezers while maintaining easy in-and-out access. A typical small restaurant in our data set can potentially save $210 annually from strip curtains.


Potential Lighting Savings

Why it matters



What to do

        1. Override your automation system to turn off all lighting.
        2. Many businesses don’t realize that their utility probably has an incentive program that can reduce the installation costs by up to 70% and with specially designed financing programs.

Potential savings

Changing out T12 lamps with T8 can cut costs through efficiency and by reducing the number of lighting fixtures needed in your facility. New fixture types have improved efficiencies allowing for less fixtures needed to produce the same lighting quality. A large retailer in our dataset could save $8,900 a year by upgrading their lighting.


Digital Energy Analytics

Why it matters
      • Over 2.5 Million business in the united states have free access to Agentis energy analytics tools
      • Regularly checking your energy usage can prevent unwanted surprises
      • Agentis also provides personalized low-cost and no-cost tips to help your business save


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What to do

      1. Check your utility website for information about digital energy analysis. This information can usually be found on the MyAccount page, under the section on business savings, or on the energy efficiency programs page.
      2. Register for the energy management portal at your utility website. For businesses with access to the Agentis platform, all you will need to register is the address of your facility and your utility account number.
      3. Once logged in, you will have access to detailed energy analysis, insights, and options to save your business money. The Agentis platform tailors this information for each unique user, so a small restaurant would receive personalized suggestions for cooking equipment and refrigeration, for example, while an office building would see tips about lighting and office equipment.


*Please note that all potential savings are an estimate only and based on a small sample size. To accurately calculate the amount a specific business could save we would need to consider a host of factors including square footage, equipment make and model, geographic region, outside temp, and more. However, by averaging the potential savings for 20 similar businesses in our data set we can provide a ball park figure. 

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