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Energy Use in Small Businesses

Small business energy use is as diverse as businesses themselves. A restaurant will use energy in a very different way than a shoe store. But in general in Colorado, a lot of commercial energy is devoted to space heating and lighting. Space cooling and water heating are also common to small businesses, and specialty uses such as refrigeration, cooking, and office equipment are more a function of business type.

Energy Audits

Because small business energy use can be so diverse, the best way to get started saving energy is with an energy audit. A commercial energy audit is a thorough inspection of a business that identifies areas of energy consumption, options for saving energy, and costs and benefits of energy upgrades. Options for savings energy are usually listed in order of priority and are considered recommendations for the business. Commercial energy audits can also make recommendations designed to reduce your cost of energy and power based on your specific electric rate. Certain types of energy audits are more thorough than others. Level 1 audits are simple walk-through assessments that are sometimes conducted by utility companies free of charge.

Level 2 audits involve a more thorough inspection and often employ equipment such as a blower door to test for air leaks and an infrared camera to test for areas of significant heat gain/loss. Tests for combustion safety can also be run by qualified professionals. Level 2 audits typically include potential costs and savings associated with making efficiency upgrades. Auditors certified by professional organizations such as BPI have been trained in the most effective techniques for conducting Level 2 audits.

Level 3, or “investment-grade” audits, include detailed financial analyses for capital-intensive investments in energy efficiency based on in-depth engineering analysis. Utility rebates may be available for Level 2 or 3 commercial energy audits.

Last updated: October 18, 2017 at 10:56 am