Six Winter Energy-Saving Tips for Businesses

Rubi BaricuatroBalboa Park Cultural Partnership, Sustainability Program

While many people don’t think we have a winter season in San Diego, it can definitely feel a bit frosty to those of us who live and work here, which means a lot of energy will be used for heating indoor spaces. Even though we may not use nearly as much heating energy as elsewhere in the country, it still adds up on our energy bills. We have some energy saving tips for your business to consider to help reduce your energy bill and make sure your building operations are running efficiently during this period.

1) Avoid On-Peak Energy Costs

SDG&E wintertime energy pricing is in effect from November 1st to April 30th. Save money during this time by avoiding energy use on weekdays between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. when energy costs are highest due to high demand. For more detailed information about peak periods, visit SDG&E’s website here.

2) View and Manage Your Energy Use

Help manage your energy costs with SDG&E’s online energy management tool. Log onto My Account at sdge.com/myaccount and click on the My Energy tab.

You can:

  • See an overview of your energy use
  • Get current bill and a forecasted bill for the month
  • Review your hourly, weekly or monthly energy use
  • Analyze your bill to see why it changes
  • Learn about energy-saving actions specific to your business

3) A Clean HVAC is a Happy HVAC

Change HVAC filters once per month – especially during the winter – to increase system efficiency and lower costs. Dirt in air filters, ducts, coils and other HVAC components are the leading causes of inefficient function, causing the system to work harder to heat your building or even system failure.

4) Don’t Let Heat Escape!

Now that your HVAC system is happy and clean, don’t let those savings escape through leaky doors and windows. Now is the time to do an overall assessment and mend or replace poor caulking, weather-stripping, and the insulation on heating ducts and indoor and outdoor pipes to help prevent pipe bursts.

5) Set Your Thermostat For Best Results

HVAC systems account for a large amount of the energy consumed by businesses – space heating in particular accounts for more than 90% of natural gas use in retail buildings. Implementing small temperature setbacks during working hours – a simple temperature change of 1° or 2° Fahrenheit – will frequently go unnoticed by occupants and can be a source of substantial savings. It’s also a great idea to turn temperature settings down during unoccupied hours and on weekends during the winter.

You can also automate these settings with programmable thermostats, which SDG&E offers free for qualified businesses! Find out if your business qualifies at sdge.com/thermostats.

BONUS FACT: Personal space heaters can consume a significant amount of energy and pose fire hazards when left unattended. Over the course of an eight-hour workday, even a modestly-sized space heater can use as much energy as a laptop does in a month! So when you set your thermostats just make sure temperatures aren’t too low that building occupants resort to space heaters.

6) Harness the FREE Power of the Sun!

The daylighting method – using sunlight to supplement or even replace electric lights – can help curb lighting costs. Take advantage of natural light and heat – open the blinds and let the sunlight in during the day, especially if you have southern and/or western exposure, and allow the sunlight to naturally light and heat your business. With your well caulked and weather-stripped doors and windows the heat will remain inside. Also keep exterior and freight doors closed as much as possible and consider installing strip doors to limit heat loss.

For more energy-savings tips, visit SDG&E’s “Energy-saving Guide for Businesses.”