The great debate of the 21st century is whether or not you believe that global warming is occurring or whether you believe that the planet is cooling. No matter what side of the fence you are on, there is no doubt that the actions of humans are generating a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases. The burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas is having a negative effect on our planet. The long term environmental, social and economic effects that these greenhouse gasses cause will be catastrophic to our planet if not controlled.
It's Everyone's Problem.
In the highly industrialized nations, most people don't want to give up their high standards of living in order to reduce greenhouse gasses. Developing countries feel it is their right to raise their standard of living, despite the cost. Underdeveloped countries are paying the price for high standards of living with polluted and contaminated ground water.
Until everyone realizes that the changes to this planet from pollution affect the entire planet, reversing the pollution problem will be difficult. Everyone needs to cooperate and learn ways to reduce energy consumption and to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they emit.
As a business owner, the benefits of these reductions are many. The biggest benefit is that they save money in the long run, adding to your profitability. More energy efficient practices can often increase productivity, and going "green" often generates more business from people wishing to help the environment.
Maintenance as a Way to Save Money
One of the most basic ways to save energy is by properly maintaining your equipment. Dirty equipment often uses more energy to run and results in higher operating costs. Simple acts such a vacuuming air vents on appliances and computers, and cleaning dust from light bulbs can save energy and money. Major cleaning, even if it needs to be contracted out, can save enough money to offset the cost.
Routine maintenance will also prolong the life of your equipment, help them operate more efficiently, be less likely to break down, and keep them out of landfills longer.
If your business has employees, the better they understand how the business runs the better they are able to see how properly maintaining equipment can save energy and money. Getting employees involved in being "green" to help the planet, will ultimately help your bottom line. Have employees suggest ways in which energy and resources can be saved. Reward employees who demonstrate a willingness to participate in energy savings practices.
Suggested Maintenance Tasks
There are thousands of tips and tricks that can be implemented to reduce your businesses energy consumption. Listed here is a starting point of simple maintenance tasks the can be implemented at little or no cost.
One of the easiest ways to save money on heating and cooling costs is to install a programmable thermostat. Once installed, regularly check the adjustments to be sure they are properly set for the time of day, the season and for daylight savings time (if applicable.
Hot water heaters
For peak efficiency, hot water heaters should be cleaned and drained on a regular basis. Buildup of hard water minerals inside the hot water heater reduces efficiently. Replacing an old hot water heater with a modern Energy Star rated unit will pay for its self in a short amount of time.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems
Often neglected, the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system should be checked on a regular basis. Preventative maintenance is a way to keep the system in top operating condition and lowers the cost of operation. An added benefit is that clean duct work prevents the build-up of mold and allergens that can cause respiratory problems and lost days of work.
Water Leaks can be costly. Toilets and faucets that leak can not only waste water, but add considerable costs to the water bill. Monitoring the water bill can often pick up increased water usage caused by a less obvious leak.
Regular cleaning of refrigerator coils will allow refrigeration units to operate more efficiently. In dusty environments, this preventative maintenance should be done more frequently. Another area to check is the door seals. Place a piece of paper between the door and the gasket. If the paper slips out easily, it's time to check the seal. Another energy saving tip is to leave space between the refrigerator and the wall to allow for adequate ventilation of the motor.
All mechanical equipment such as power tools, compressors, and any equipment that operates with a motor should be checked on a regular basis. Hoses, valves, drains, relief valves, drive belts, hoses and fittings should be under a routine maintenance schedule. Again this prolongs the life of the equipment, allows them to function at peak performance and may even prevent an injury that results in lost time from work.
It goes without saying that motor vehicles should be serviced on a regular basis. In service vehicles, remove all unnecessary supplies. Added weight in a vehicle results in more fuel consumption.
The Bottom Line
"To keep business equipment well maintained, a comprehensive maintenance schedule should be established. Having an energy audit will be of significant help in determining ways to save energy.
"Regular maintenance will reduce operating expenses.
"Properly maintained equipment will result in a safer work environment and less time loss from work due to injury or ill health.
"Running a business in an energy efficient way will reduce operating expenses.
"Employees will be happier and more productive in a safe well maintained environment.
By: Beverly Saltonstall
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