According to the Small Business Association, heating and cooling systems account for approximately 40 percent of all energy consumed in a commercial space. With almost half of a business utility bill eaten up in HVAC charges, efficient heating and cooling processes can drastically cut energy costs for many businesses.
Average Electricity Draw and Cost
An investigation of average monthly utility bills for businesses indicates that electricity costs range from $375 to $3,300 a month, depending on the location of the business. Applying the SBA's figure, that means businesses could be spending between $1,800 and $15,840 a year to heat and cool work spaces. HVAC processes could also account for between 1,400 kWh and 10,000 kWh of power each month.
Managing Heating and Cooling Costs in Business Locations
National Grid estimates that business offices spend around $1.34 in electrical costs for every square foot of space, so one way to reduce HVAC costs is to shed unnecessary space. While you'll want to consider future growth needs, you also don't want to heat and cool half a building if you're never going to use it.
The SBA suggests adding insulation and energy-efficient windows to commercial spaces to reduce cooling and heating load requirements. In environments where cooling is the dominate function of an HVAC system, tinting windows or adding cool roofing materials can reduce loads as well. Since many businesses lease commercial space, these may be considerations to take up with property managers or owners.
Easy Steps Any Business Can Take to Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs
Not every business has the ability to alter the building, but you can make changes to interior processes and equipment. Selecting efficient equipment for your commercial space reduces heat output from things such as computers or machinery. Though each reduction is small, in an office full of equipment, the total gain can be noticeable.
Controlling access to HVAC thermostats is another way to reduce overall costs. Staff members fighting over what is comfortable only keep your HVAC unit running constantly to keep up with demanding changes. Finding an overall comfort level and leaving the unit at that temperature lets the equipment find a rhythm that keeps spaces cool or warm without putting extra demands on the compressor.
Select the Right HVAC Unit
If you're struggling to keep commercial spaces comfortable, talk to an HVAC professional. Your unit may no longer be the right option for your space, and newer units offer efficiencies that older models don't have.