Energy efficiency for business

A New Approach to Small Business Energy Efficiency

A pilot project in Minneapolis is testing the idea that business advocates might be the key to unlocking energy efficiency in the small business sector.

The Challenge
Energy efficiency advocates often look for where the highest efficiency gains can be achieved for the lowest amount of cost and effort. In looking at commercial energy efficiency, that mindset leads to a focus on large commercial and industrial buildings. While those customers certainly do have the potential for great gains, small buildings are also vitally important to our economy and to our efforts to become more efficient with energy usage.

In the United States, the commercial building sector — of which more than 90 percent are small buildings — consumes about 20 percent of all U.S. energy. According to studies by the Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, small buildings have tremendous potential to save energy and improve their bottom lines. For example, small fast food restaurants have the potential to cut energy use by up to 45 percent, and a 10 percent reduction in energy costs can improve grocery stores’ profit margin by 16 percent.

Another way to put this is that if we want more than 10 percent of commercial buildings in America to be energy efficient, then we need an effective approach towards small buildings, and many of those buildings house small businesses.


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Energy Efficiency Manual: for everyone who uses energy, pays for utilities, designs and builds, is interested in energy conservation and the environment
Book (Energy Institute Press)
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