Step 3 Invest

Energy efficiency improvements don’t have to be expensive

Ensure seals around doors, windows, outlets and entrances are intact and well-insulated. Plug all electronic equipment that draws a phantom charge into a power strip, and turn off at night & over weekend. Ensure that heating ducts are leak-free. Test to see if insulation has deteriorated through the years (especially along tops of walls). Tune your furnace up yearly and replace filters monthly during heating season.

 

Moderate investments can yield significant returns

Replacing your existing servers with an energy-efficient server reduces energy consumption by 75%, and saves money on cooling the server room. Ensure that your air conditioning unit is in the shade; if it isn’t, plant a tree. Switch from incandescent light bulbs to combination of CFL and LCD bulbs. CFLs last up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs, and are a fraction of the cost to operate. Even if most of your bulbs are fluorescent, you can still save up to $50 per year in energy costs by just switching 15 incandescents to CFLs. Learn the truth about CFLs. Upgrade to laptop computers from desktop computers. Switching from a desktop to a laptop can save you 50% in energy costs. Upgrade to LCD computer monitors. A 14″ LCD monitor uses up to 75% less energy than a 14″ CRT monitor. Read more about computer energy efficiency here.

 

Big investment, bigger return

Cool roofs help significantly reduce your carbon footprint, cost the same as (or less than) traditional roofs, and save on cooling costs: replace your aging roof. Old boilers are costly to repair and inefficient. Consider a biomass steam boiler to replace your aging boilerand reduce your carbon footprint by 21%. Switching your inefficient windows to ENERGY STAR windows and doors can save you 15% on your energy bill. Retrofit offices with Smart Sensors: motion sensors can be set up to turn off lights in unused spaces. Photo sensors monitor natural light and reduce use of artificial light. Occupancy sensor reads CO2 levels and automatically adjusts heating and cooling for occupied versus unoccupied spaces. Consult with the Participating Energy Efficiency Contractor Network (PEEC) for a list of Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) approved contractors, made available to homeowners and builders. To help you decide which project to start with, begin by reviewing some of these Case Studies and Best Practices, compiled by the MEEA, to see how much benefit other businesses have gained from making energy-efficient changes.

 

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