How Small Businesses Can Save Money on Energy Bill

The average California small business spends $700 annually on electricity bills - almost double the national average! Much of this energy is wasted through the use of inefficient equipment and lighting. Lighting alone consumes approximately 35% to 50% of a small business energy budget!

By making smart lighting choices, you can see immediate savings on your utility bill. Simply replacing the 10 most-used light bulbs in your business can save up to $263 a year. After installation of a new lighting system, most businesses will recover the cost in less than one or two years.

Whether you own or rent your building, start saving big by making small changes. Here are a few no-cost and low-cost lighting tips to help you reduce your energy use and save money:

- Switch to CFLs for frequently used lights. ENERGY STARâ qualified compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) last up to 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs -- about 4 to 5 years! They use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, provide the same amount of light and are available in various wattages and shapes to fit almost any lamp. Look for the ENERGY STAR label, which means they are energy efficient.

- Adjust lighting to your actual needs; use dimmers, motion sensors and free “daylighting.” You can save a lot of energy if you turn off or dim your lights when daylight is adequate, or use automatic “daylight dimming” ballasts and controls to do this for you. To prevent computer eyestrain and headaches, use task lighting and do not “over-light” the area. Too much light can be as bad for working as too little light - and it costs a lot more.

- Install LED (light-emitting diode) exit signs. Exit signs must be lit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By installing LED lighting, you can save up to 96% of your exit sign energy cost. One set of LEDs is about $15 to $20 and will last for decades and give off brighter light. LED lights may fit into your existing exit sign feature. If not, a new LED exit sign fixture costs about $100 and you will still save about 90%.

- Replace T-12 fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts with T-8 fluorescent lamps and electronic ballasts. This can save you up to 40% on your energy costs.

To learn more about how you can save money and energy for your small business, visit the Flex Your Power website at With more than 1,000 incentive and technical assistance programs, all Californians can take advantage of opportunities to save money and energy.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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