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Take the first step toward energy savings with an energy audit

September 12, 2016

By Chelsea Stein, courtesy of Michigan Energy Options

Where should you start when it comes to saving money through energy efficiency? What changes or upgrades are the most cost-effective to make? Do you know how much money your business is currently wasting because of energy inefficiency?

You can answer all of these questions and more by getting an energy audit.

What You Can Do
A professional energy audit will determine your current energy usage and identify opportunities to reduce this usage and save money. The audit also provides you with a plan to make the right improvements in the right order over a period of time, maximizing your business’s cash flow while reducing your long-term operating expenses. A solid energy plan also includes information on where you can get incentives/rebates and financing options to make energy efficiency upgrades. 

Professional energy audits range from basic to highly technical. 

  • A basic audit addresses the “low-hanging fruit” of energy efficiency, such as lighting, occupancy, and water usage, and provides a report prioritizing changes you should make.
  • A technical audit is a deeper dive into your building systems and envelope, providing a roadmap to achieve the highest degree of efficiency at the lowest capital investment.

Money You Will Save
With the insights gained during an energy audit, you can potentially reduce your utility costs anywhere between 15% and 40%. Audits range in price, depending on their level of sophistication. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to recoup the cost of an audit in your energy savings within the first one to two years. And make sure you use a certified auditor, such as Building Performance Institute (BPI), Home Energy Rating System (HERS) or one who is a Certified Energy Manager.  

The Bigger Picture
Energy audits are just one part of a comprehensive energy improvement plan that you can implement for your small business. Too often small businesses don’t take the time to look into reducing this operating expense and instead pay their utility bill every month, despite feelings of sticker shock. So think of it this way: if being more energy efficient saves you money, how might you reinvest that money in ways that make your company grow?

Since 1978 Michigan Energy Options (MEO) has been pursuing its mission of guiding communities toward being more sustainable and resilient through the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy. MEO provides unbiased expertise, research and results-driven programs, while working collaboratively with local governments, businesses and community leaders statewide. Contact MEO by email at info@michiganenergyoptions.org or by phone 517.337.0422.

For more information on taking steps toward energy efficiency, visit: 
Michigan Energy Options
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Small Business Association

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