If you manage an office building and are in charge of issues like maintenance, facility upkeep, or utility budgeting, you know that keeping those electric bills down can be a real test. You can't control what electric rates do, but you can control how much energy you use to an extent. Preventing wasted energy and trying to smooth out the monthly bills can go a long way toward making those bills less of a problem. Here are three things you can do to try to control those bills.
Energy Audit and HVAC Evaluation
Getting rid of energy waste is crucial because you don't want to pay for energy you're not actually trying to use. Have an energy audit company come in and look for thermal transfer, or the loss or gain of heat. It's not unusual to have some in any building, but you want to find literal hotspots that are letting air leak out and causing your air conditioning or heating to work harder to maintain an even temperature. Also have your HVAC system inspected to ensure that it's actually working well; if it's starting to have problems, that could cause it to suck up energy faster than it should.
Also look for energy wasters like personal inkjet printers that are plugged in but not in use. Remember, some appliances and equipment suck up energy even when they're turned off.
If you also own the building or can get permission from the owner for modifications, look into adding solar panels on the roof. You'll be able to produce a lot of your building's electricity, letting you avoid drawing all of your electricity from the city's grid. You may have to pay the city's electrical rates sometimes, but you won't have to pay them all the time.
Utility Company Programs
Sometimes utility companies have special programs that include tiered pricing or averaged pricing, which can help make the bills easier to handle. If rates tend to swing wildly in your area, having an averaged bill, where you are billed the same amount each month as determined by what you spent in the last year, can make current rate swings easier on your budget. Do be aware, though, that your next year's monthly average can change because your current usage will still be tracked, so those energy audits and alternative energy sources remain important.
If you have more questions about trying to avoid huge increases in electricity rates and protecting your facility's budget, talk to your utility company and to alternative energy companies that offer service in your area. They may have other suggestions for dealing with increasing electric rates.