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To survive—and thrive—companies and organizations of all stripes are having to do business a little differently, from offering curbside pickup services to putting in place new health and safety measures and reconfiguring spaces to allow for social distancing.

At the same time, cash-strapped companies are reexamining their operations and balance sheets for ways to trim costs in light of these new demands. Turns out, putting your energy use under the microscope is a surprisingly effective way to spot opportunities for eliminating wasteful spending.

That’s because energy is among the largest expenses for many businesses. And, taking simple steps to improve energy efficiency has helped thousands of Maryland businesses not only reduce their operating and maintenance costs over the long term, but also enhance occupant comfort and safety at the same time.

Here are a few low- and no-cost steps to help you get started.

1. Take Advantage of Down Time

Whether at night, during slow periods or even between shifts, down times are ideal for carrying out simple performance checks and equipment tune-ups. That way, when things get back up and running, you’re more likely to avoid roadblocks, such as your A/C breaking down or vital systems going offline.

Down time is also a great time to complete necessary maintenance and equipment upgrades with minimal disruption to staff or operations. Use down time to ensure that filters are properly cleaned or replaced, and to swap out old, inefficient lighting for energy-saving LEDs.

2. Conduct a Building Tune-up

Just like a tune-up for your car, a building tune-up identifies problem areas in your building and adjusts your systems to run at maximum efficiency, saving you money down the road—as much as 20% on your annual energy use. Benefits of a building tune-up can include:

  • Returning equipment to its proper operational state
  • Extending the service life of equipment
  • Adjusting and correcting operating schedules for equipment
  • Reducing maintenance and repair costs
  • Improving indoor air quality

Through BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program you can cover up to 75% of the cost of a tune-up, and this service can easily reduce overall energy use with minimal financial investment from you.

3. Improve Your Lighting and Controls

Did you know that lighting accounts for 30% to 60% of annual electric costs for many businesses? Advances in lighting technology have made it easier and more cost-effective for businesses to achieve brighter, safer working environments while using less energy and saving money. In fact, replacing inefficient lighting with LEDs is one of the most cost-effective improvements a business can make.

When you upgrade your indoor and outdoor lighting to LEDs, you can save more on electricity costs because LEDs use less energy compared to standard bulbs. You’ll also spend maintenance less time replacing bulbs because LEDs have longer lifespans. And, they produce less heat, so they help reduce your cooling load as well. Installing automated lighting controls, such as motion and occupancy sensors, can help you save even more.

Businesses can receive instant discounts on qualifying LEDs and other energy-efficient lighting products at participating Maryland distributors.

4. Take Part in Energy Efficiency Training

The increasing complexities of building systems—from heating and cooling to lighting and energy management systems—require building operators and business owners to understand how everything works together to maximize their savings.

Taking part in Building Operator Training is an effective way to improve your understanding of how to optimize your building’s controls and make changes to create a more comfortable, energy-efficient and safer space that costs less to operate. You can also learn strategies to make your building more resilient to unforeseen circumstances that could affect your business. Some courses even count toward professional certifications.

5. Get Professional Advice

Whether you’re looking for ways to make your existing equipment work better, considering new technologies or wondering how to even get started lowering your energy costs, BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program® can help. The program offers energy efficiency solutions for both small and medium to large businesses.

Or you can get answers to questions you might have by emailing an energy efficiency professional through the Ask an Expert hotline. Simply contact a program representative, prior to starting your next project, or find additional energy efficiency information by visiting BGESmartEnergy.com/business.