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How Your Business Can Save Money This Winter
Cold weather can be costly for businesses. To help you get through the chilly season, we’ve come up with some smart business tips that can help you save money this winter. Use one or all of them to reap the greatest rewards!
Salt Wintery Sidewalks and Parking Lots
Reduce the risks of slips and falls by staying on top of the ice. Have a look at these tips to help keep your pedestrian liabilities to a minimum.
Store salt near entryways. With a supply of salt nearby, you’ll be able to quickly access and apply salt in high traffic areas where accidents can be common.
Apply salt before winter storms. When winter weather’s forecasted, stay ahead of the snow and salt in advance.
Remove snow during and after a weather event. Each time the snow’s falling, clear it out during business hours to help foot traffic navigate safely across your property.
Use a lawn fertilizer spreader for spraying salt. Broadcast salt over wide areas with a hopper-style lawn fertilizer spreader. You’ll spread the salt further and more evenly.
Check in on conditions regularly. Patrolling for ice patches and other slippery hazards across the day is a great way to reduce risks. Remember to bring along a cup of salt to apply as needed.
Seek out areas of your property that are prone to temperature changes due to direct sun light. Melting snow during the day can translate to ice patches overnight. Remove snow in a way that keeps it out of these problem areas.
Get safe salt for your property. The environmental impact of rock salt can be harsh on local wildlife. Try using calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) as an eco-friendly option.
Prevent Ice Dams and Water Damage
Avoid costly damage from ice dams by ventilating your attic, insulating your attic floor and installing an ice-and-water barrier under your roof covering.
Pick up a roof rake. This is an inexpensive and effective way of preventing ice dams. By removing snow from the bottom portion of the roof, water has a clear runoff path and ice dams are less likely to form.
Insulate your attic. Warm air flow into attic spaces can melt snow in your soffits, leading to ice dams. Adding insulation will keep the attic colder and more insulated.
Install ice-melting wires. One quick answer to the ice dam problem is to have a certified electrician install ice-melting wiring systems in areas where ice buildup on the roofline is frequent.
Winter Energy Saving Tips for Businesses
When you update your appliances with energy-saving alternatives, you'll save money, energy and be more efficient. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), energy efficient appliances use up to 30 percent less energy and water than standard models. When purchases are paired with an energy audit or Department of Energy incentives, you may be able to qualify for a bigger rebate.
Seek out ENERGY STAR® certified models. These products let you know you’re getting top-of-the-line equipment with an eco-friendly focus.
Some states offer incentives and rebates. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a rebate for selecting an energy efficient model. You’ll even find toilet rebates for low-flow models in certain areas.
Replace inefficient windows. Old windows that don’t seal properly can leak out heat and let in the cold. Picking up ENERGY STAR® certified Low-E windows can help you retain the warmth in the winter and the AC in the summer. And the UV-protective coating will help keep your inventory in better shape too.
Install ceiling fans. Get that warm air down where it’s needed in the winter months with bi-directional ceiling fans. Keep the air conditioner off by reversing the spin in the summer to better circulate the air and further reduce energy costs.
Consider solar panels. With big incentives being offered by local utilities, you can feed extra electricity back to the grid — right from the solar array on your roof.
Get a Smart Thermostat to Micro-manage Heating
How can businesses save energy? Try investing in a smart programmable thermostat like Nest’s learning thermostat or a similar Wi-Fi enabled product. With one, you may be able to boost productivity. Employees respond well when you keep your workplace warmer.
A study from Cornell University indicated that office workers are most productive at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and that employers could save $2 per worker per hour by "raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone.” During non-work hours, turn the heat down to save on energy usage.
Certain local groups offer incentives and rebates for businesses, like focusonenergy.com’s Retail Smart Thermostat incentive program. Professional installation may be required.
Have a "Closed Door” Policy
Don’t waste energy and money heating the outside. Encourage your employees to keep exterior and freight doors closed as much as possible to lower heating bills.
How Sunlight Can Help Your Bottom Line
Open curtains and window blinds to maximize the amount of warmth generated by direct sunlight in work areas. The benefits may surprise you.
Sunshine warms up your business. The heat from direct sunlight can add cost-free degrees of warmth to your interior.
The sun can help boost sales. People and customers respond to well-lit areas. Sunlight can lift the mood of both employee and customer, helping to push sales when the sun shines.
Reduce seasonal affective disorder among staff. With shorter winter days, the lack of sunlight can begin to wear on the human psyche — employees too. Daylighting during the winter can help to reduce these effects and help improve morale among workers.
Insulate Whatever You Can for Protection
Insulation is a great way to protect your business, your employees and your bottom line. Insulate water heaters and supply pipes to avoid wasting energy and money. Well-insulated pipes and fire sprinkler systems can also prevent costly water damage if they freeze and burst. Ceiling and wall insulation can lower monthly utility bills and keep everyone comfy.
Seal Your Windows and Doors and Save Energy
Don’t let drafts ruin your day. Ensure that windows and doors are closed, properly caulked and not cracked or broken. Something as small as a little weather-stripping can go a long way toward keeping your interior draft-free and cozy.
Celebrate the Holidays Economically
Do you plan on having holiday lights on display at your business? Will you be hosting a holiday party event for your customers? Save on your electric bill by using a lighting timer to turn off lights during the day. Use LED holiday lights, which consume 99 percent less energy than traditional lights. Stay timely and take your light displays down right after the holidays.
The Benefits of Proper Heating and Cooling Maintenance
Staying on top of routine maintenance around your business can help business owners save a lot of energy in the long run. Ensure that your heating and air conditioning systems are well-maintained and finely-tuned. Keep ducts clean and replace air filters regularly.
The best way to save money during the cold months is to prepare for it. Winterizing your business gives you a head start when Mother Nature comes calling. And being proactive is the best way to protect your business, your employees and your customers. While you’re making preparations for your business’ winter operations, take time and reach out to your American Family Insurance agent. Be sure to learn about the discounts available for commercial customers. You may be able to save even more cash.