FES View: Making Smart Energy Easy

Gabriela Anez-Lobon
By Gabriela Anez-Lobon on November 03, 2020

What is ENERGY STAR (and Why Should Your Business Care)?

The ENERGY STAR  program was established in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency to “deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions through voluntary action.”  

Currently, about 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have now incorporated ENERGY STAR principles and appliances into their operations. Partnerships are just one aspect of how ENERGY STAR facilitates sustainability in the commercial sector. The Following are three of the other ways.

Benchmarking Helps Businesses Evaluate (and Change) Their Footprints

Knowing how your business currently uses energy is the critical first step in cost-saving and sustainability initiatives. ENERGY STAR offers cloud-based tools that help commercial enterprises evaluate their current usage and compare it to other similar companies. 

Using 150 different metrics, the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Tool gives each business a score of 1 to 100. 

You can then decide which area(s) to focus on first. Lighting, for example, is an often-overlooked area for energy saving. As many as 40 percent of businesses have yet to convert to LED lighting. By working with a subject matter expert, you can get a more specific assessment of potential cost savings and fast-track your initiative.

26 Bright Savings Ideas for SMBs

Choose Appliances and Systems That are Energy-Efficient

Many businesses created prior to 1990 still do not have environmentally-friendly components. Just as consumers look for appliances and systems in their home that save energy and money, businesses are now seeking out capital improvements that build sustainability and efficiency. 

For example, restaurant appliances like dishwashers, stoves, and refrigerators can be a huge drain on energy. Restaurants use five to seven times the energy per square foot than other commercial businesses.  ENERGY STAR has an entire section of its website focused specifically on restaurant solutions. This opportunity is especially timely, as businesses in this sector struggle for survival and profitability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brick-and-mortar retail is another sector that has been challenged in 2020. Computer equipment, interior and exterior lighting, and HVAC are all areas that these businesses should be looking at as they map out their cost-savings and sustainability plans.

Many other types of buildings contain equipment and systems that drain energy. Warehouses, schools, stadiums, car dealerships, and prisons are all viable candidates for energy-saving initiatives.

Even real estate developers are finding that energy efficiency has a financial benefit, with occupancy rates up to 4 percent higher in those buildings that are ENERGY STAR certified (see below).

Many of the products on ENERGY STAR’s most efficient” list apply to both commercial and residential settings.

Certification Builds Credibility

As you improve your ENERGY STAR score, you not only have the potential to save thousands (or even millions) of dollars, but you also demonstrate to your customers, employees, and companies that you work with that you’re serious about the environment. Here are 10 reasons why certification makes sense. 

To be certified, a business must achieve a minimum score of 75 on the 1 to 100 scale (see Benchmarking, above) and go through a simple application process. The 75 score means that your business is in the top 25 of similar companies.

Sustainable practices matter more than ever to the people you serve and certification is simply one more powerful way to show them that you are committed to the environment. 

Every year, ENERGY STAR heralds those companies that have delivered significant achievements in energy savings and environmental responsibility. Wouldn’t you want YOUR company on that list in 2021 and beyond?

FES can help you reduce your lighting expense and build sustainability. Get your free assessment today.

26 Bright Savings Ideas for SMBs

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Published by Gabriela Anez-Lobon November 3, 2020
Gabriela Anez-Lobon

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