How to save money on your electric bill this summer, pt. 3
I was recently speaking with an officer for a chain of restaurants here in The Bahamas. He told me that this summer, electricity usage went up 10 to 15 percent across all their locations just because it’s so hot. Many homes feel this even more acutely, with electric bills that skyrocket because cooling is expensive. Bearing that in mind, I would like to tell you a few more secrets for saving on your electric bill this summer:
• Maintenance check: If your home or facility uses air conditioners or walk-in chillers, schedule a qualified technician to check your compressors and condensers regularly to be sure the components are in good repair. Is coolant is leaking? Are the ducts clogged? Is the fan working properly? An air conditioner in good working order can save you a lot of money.
• Energ2: If you are a restaurant with a walk-in cooler or freezer, you know how much your costs go up in the summer. Fortunately, you can fight this by adding intelligence to your walk-in coolers and freezers. With retrofits like the Energ2, typical savings are 15 to 30 percent, which easily puts $3,000 from running that freezer back in your pocket every year. Since these types of retrofits often go for less than $2,000 and have a 10-year warranty, it’s a no-brainer investment for any business! Who wouldn’t want to have an extra $30,000 in 10 years?
• Force field: Just behind the door of the walk-in cooler or freezer, install overlapping plastic panes so only the smallest amount of air possible is allowed to pass through the doorway along with your staff and goods. These panes should extend from the top of the door to the floor and preferably be several millimeters thick. Ok, it’s not quite force field, but it’s almost as good.
• Tick-tock: If your facility has multiple air conditioners and compressors, use timers and delays, if possible, to stagger when your units startup. Imagine the power required to start up all your units the moment after BPL stops load shedding in your area. Your power usage peaks in that instant. Timers and delays will reduce your peak demand (the greatest amount of electricity demanded at any one moment during the month), which is a major factor in many businesses’ power bills.
• Hidden benefit of solar: Have you ever thought about adding solar panels to your house? One of the secret benefits of solar panels is how they help to keep the building cool. Properly installed systems are racked to the roof with a small air space in between. When the sun shines on your panels, they take the heat, instead of the roof. And because of that air space, a lot of that heat never transfers down into your home or business. This keeps your building cooler, extends its life, and saves you money on cooling.
• Shine when the lights go out: What happens when BPL schedules you for load shedding and cuts off your light? If you have a solar generator, you can power lights, fans and fridges for hours to stay cool. In fact, even when BPL is on, you can power some items with the solar generator and save a few dollars on the power bill. There is still no fuel surcharge on the sun!
• Don’t skimp: If you are thinking about installing an air conditioner to cool a new room, be sure to get one that is large enough to cool the room properly. Don’t think that you are saving money by getting a cheaper AC that is too small. If the unit is too small to cool the room properly, it will have to run a lot more and make your electric bill significantly higher than the bigger unit would. On top of that, you still won’t be cool with the tiny unit. Spend the extra dollars to get the correct size unit, and you will save many more dollars on your electric bill.
• SEER matters – the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of an air conditioner tells you how efficient your AC is. The higher the SEER, the less it costs to run. If you need a new air conditioner, our expensive electricity makes it a no-brainer for you to spend a few extra dollars to get a more efficient unit. The savings will pay you back in no time.
• Upgrade: Similarly, if you have older AC units in the 10 SEER range, consider changing them out, especially if you use your AC regularly, upgrading to a more efficient unit or a solar unit can dramatically reduce your electric bill.
Have you found the energy saving secrets in these last few articles helpful? Act on them! And share the secrets so your loved ones can save on the electric bill, too. If we all made our lives more efficient, we would have more money to spend, we would burn less oil, and we would play our part in keeping The Bahamas clean, green and pristine.
• Joshua Key is the general manager for SuperGreen Solutions Bahamas, located on Wulff Road next to FYP. SuperGreen Solutions leads the market as one of the premier advisors, suppliers and installers of domestic and commercial energy efficient solutions, making it truly a ‘one-stop, energy-efficient solution shop’. Having been in the energy efficiency industry for over 19 years, the founders have established a solid reputation spanning five continents. SuperGreen Solutions is different because it looks at energy creation and energy saving from a holistic point of view, to provide clients with total solutions.