High summer energy costs affect your bottom line. And high temperatures in your business can reduce productivity. Small-business owners need solutions so they can stay profitable and keep their workforce happy.
Here, we’ve put together some tips on how to keep employees cool in the summer. These ideas are effective without making you rely too heavily on your air conditioner. With a little effort, you can tame your energy bill, help the planet by reducing energy usage and keep your business cool in the summer heat.
It takes a combination of tactics to keep employees cool in the summer. Consider the following tips and decide which of them are the best ways to cool your hot office.
When it comes to your thermostat in the summer, don’t set it and forget it. Keep your space cool only when people are working. You don’t need to crank the AC in the evening and on weekends. Set the thermostat to 78 degrees when people are working and then put it at 85 degrees after hours. You’ll add up to 3% savings for each degree you raise your thermostat in the summer.
Sunlight beating down into your workplace through windows can raise inside temperatures fast. Angling your shades will dramatically cool a room. Pulling curtains across windows when the sun is shining into them reflects the heat energy back out of the room and adds a layer of insulation.
Old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs can really cook a room. Up to 90% of the energy they consume goes to throwing off heat, not light. Turn off lights in rooms when not in use and switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, like LED or CFL bulbs.
Everything from copiers to toaster ovens contribute to heating the interior of your business. Try to keep their use to a minimum. Switching to solid-state computer processors eliminates a considerable amount of heat, too.
A clean AC unit will run more efficiently. Change the air filters and check to see if leaves and other debris have collected on or around the condensing unit. Check all vents to make sure they’re open and clean.
Even energy-efficient air conditioners can benefit from a professional inspection. A little preventative maintenance ensures you get the most from your unit all summer long.
When you’re using the correct ceiling fan direction for summer, it rotates counterclockwise. That pushes cooling air down in a column and creates a breeze that also enhances the cooling effect. Ceiling fans don’t actually cool the air, but the cool feeling they create allows you to set your thermostat a few degrees warmer, saving a bit of energy.
Another tip for how to keep employees cool in the summer is to find and repair air leaks. Places that are drafty can leak cool air and let in hot air. Check for gaps in areas that commonly have leaks: around doors, windows and entry points for utilities. You can sometimes feel the drafts with your bare hand, or you can use a candle to see if it flickers.
Weatherizing your building for summer can help keep the inside cooler. If your windows are old, the savings in both summer and winter can quickly pay for their cost of replacement. Installing a cool roof that reflects the sun’s rays also can pay for itself in no time.
But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your office cool in summer. Less-expensive tactics, like weatherstripping around doors and windows and planting shade trees around windows, can also be effective.
If you can change your operating hours during the summer, you may be able to cut energy costs. In some societies, closing in the early afternoon — often the hottest time of day — is common practice. Offering summer Fridays off work can also save you money. Optimizing your operating hours may help you trim your power bill without negatively affecting customer service.
Because electricity is such a big cost for many businesses, it makes sense to cut your small business’s summer expenses as much as possible. You can even make a checklist of ways to cut small-business energy costs that can give you plenty of options for how to keep employees cool in the summer without using too much energy.
Since there’s no single best way to cool a hot office, it helps to combine tactics. As one adds to another, you can rack up savings and lower interior temperatures. With some preparation and minor adjustments, you can cut energy consumption without sacrificing comfort or productivity.
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