If you run a small to medium-sized store, chances are good that you're paying more than you need to for heating and cooling. Follow these five tips to reduce your heating and cooling costs, so you can have more money left to put back into your business.
Switch to closed freezers and coolers, rather than open-chest varieties.
Chest coolers and freezers are convenient for customers because they let them see their options and grab products without having to open a door. However, they're a huge waste of energy. In the winter, an open chest freezer just keeps dumping cold air into the room, making your heater work harder to keep up.
If you own your freezers and coolers, it might be costly to replace them while they're still in good shape, but make sure that when they do wear out, you replace them with varieties that have closing doors. If your freezers and cooler belong to a vendor, nicely ask if they can switch them out for a closed-door variety. Most vendors have multiple types of freezers and coolers so they can outfit various store layouts, and they'll likely make the switch for you if you just ask.
Make sure your customers shut the door behind them.
When you're in a small store with a few employees, it's easy for a door that's been left open to be overlooked for quite some time while your workers are tending to other tasks. Leaving the door open raises your energy costs both in the summer and in the winter. Some easy ways to encourage customers to ensure the door is shut behind them include:
- Posting a sign on the door that states "Help us keep our prices down by keeping heating bills low. Please shut the door behind you."
- Ensuring the automatic door closer apparatus (if you have one) is well oiled and maintained, so it shuts properly each time.
Change your furnace filters.
You might remember to change your furnace filters at home, but have you done it in your store recently? Your furnace and air conditioner have to work a lot harder to push air through a dirty filter than a clean one. If you have a big, industrial-sized furnace or air conditioner and you don't know where the filter is, call up your HVAC specialist and ask. The money you'll save on heating and cooling costs will be worth the embarrassment associated with having to ask where the filter is.
Turn the temperature up a few degrees in the summer.
There's really no reason to keep your store freezing cold in the summer. Air conditioning buildings to a nearly uncomfortably cold temperature is a solely American habit. Most businesses in Europe use minimal air conditioning, and as a result, they use far less energy. You don't have to let your building's temperature climb to a sweltered 85 degrees in the summer (you might lose customers and employees if you do), but consider setting the thermostat closer to 76 degrees, rather than at 68 or 70 degrees. Your customers will likely enjoy not shivering as they shop.
If your delivery/storage room is not heated or cooled, make sure you have good insulation between that room and the rest of the store.
Many store owners choose not to heat their storage rooms, or to heat them to a cooler temperature than the rest of the store. This does save energy -- as long as the walls between the storage room and the rest of the store are well insulated. Without good insulation, you'll just be losing heat from the store into your storage room, forcing your furnace to work harder to keep up.
If you think your insulation may be a bit sparse, have a contractor add more insulation to the walls. Chances are, your heating and air conditioning bills will plummet.