8 energy improvements your small business should make in the new decade

By Lexie Lu

Sustainability in the home is just one piece of the puzzle. To treat the planet with the respect it deserves, our businesses should run in an eco-friendly manner too. As a small business owner, it’s up to you to make improvements in your workplace.

Fortunately, others have paved the way, and following in their footsteps can boost your company’s energy efficiency. Here are eight ways to start your eco-conscious endeavor.

-Turn off devices at the end of the day

It’s not uncommon for office workers to leave their computers on overnight. Sure, it makes signing in the next morning faster, but it also wastes electricity and money. Have everyone power down at the end of the day. You can also put larger appliances, such as the office copier, onto a timer. That way, if you forget to shut them off, they’ll do so on their own when office hours are over.

-Opt for LED light bulbs

Energy Star has approved a multitude of LED light bulbs, and for good reason. For one thing, they run 90% more efficiently than their incandescent counterparts. Plus, they’ll never overheat and burst, nor will they burn out unexpectedly. Instead, these bulbs lose their luster over time, signaling that it’s time for a replacement. This quality makes the lifespan of LEDs longer too.

Most importantly, they’ll use less energy — and save you money over time. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs as the former start to burn out.

-Program your thermostat

Not all thermostats are created equal. An old-school one turns on and off. When it’s on, it keeps a space at a particular temperature, and that’s it. Nowadays, thermostats have more to offer, especially on the energy efficiency front.

Namely, you can install a programmable thermostat, which allows you to set the hours during which you want your office to be heated or cooled. Outside of that frame, your thermostat will shut things down, saving you a significant amount of money on air conditioning and heating bills.

On top of the financial perk, your thermostat will kick in so that your office is comfortable by the time you arrive. No longer will you have to crank the heat and continue to adjust it all day — the automatic device will do it all for you and save energy in the process.

-Install an alternative energy source

Your business doesn’t have to run on traditional electricity. Instead, you can install another generator that uses an all-natural source, such as wind or solar power, to keep you afloat. Don’t worry about cloudy or wind-free days either — you can also build a load bank if you have a cool and well-ventilated area where the device can operate. It will generate backup power for your natural, eco-friendly source of energy.

-Go paperless

All of that printing, copying and scanning uses electricity, not to mention the fact that you prep documents on your computer. Try your best to create a paperless workplace, and it will slash your energy usage. Only print or copy what’s truly necessary — otherwise, try to read emails, PDFs and other pages on the screen only.

-Amp up the insulation

Perhaps it’s not just the thermostat at fault for your pricey electricity bills. You might have to keep the temperature too high in winter and extremely low in summer because your office isn’t securely insulated. In other words, you’re paying for heated or cooled air that’s escaping through windows and walls.

Have an expert come in and examine the walls, drains, windows and other areas where air might escape. They can advise you on how to re-insulate the place so that it’s much less drafty. In a smaller office — or a home-based work environment — you might be able insulate the area it yourself. For instance, you can use weatherstripping to keep windows and doors sealed.


Your office should have a recycling program if you want to cut down on energy usage. You might not always see the effects of your recycling program in your monthly bill. However, recycling makes it easier to reuse materials and cut down on the amount of energy your company needs to run. For instance, you could reuse shipping boxes sent to you — replace the labels and then send them on their way. Otherwise, you’d be using all new resources, which require energy to transform from trees into paper parcels and boxes.

-Go remote

Finally, you can cut down on your business’s energy consumption with a remote working setup for you and your staff. For one thing, you’ll save on the office’s energy bills if no one’s there to log onto the computers, turn on the lights or tick up the thermostat. In addition, you can reduce the number of commuters on the road. Your staffers will save on fuel, which means they’ll need less energy to get to work too. It’s a win-win for you and your team.

Use less, do better

Your energy efficiency quest won’t always be perfect, but these eight tips can help you improve your business’s setup in 2020 and beyond. Get started today — you, your budget and the planet will all be better for it.


Lexie Lu is a freelance designer and writer based in Williamsport, PA. She co-founded the blog, Design Roast, a resource for web designers and marketers, in 2015. She specializes in graphic design, web design, branding, UX design, and mobile app wireframes. She earned her BA from Lycoming College. While not working in her home office, she enjoys walking her goldendoodle, cooking for friends and family, and watching way too much HGTV.

Lexie’s work and writing can be found on well-known sites such as Business.com, Website Magazine, Marketo, and Envato. Feel free to connect with her on Design Roast or via Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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