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When it comes to managing energy expenses, there’s quite a difference between large and small businesses. While many corporations have the physical capacity and the financial capability to manage their energy costs appropriately, smaller companies are faced with a lack of access to solutions such as sophisticated energy-saving software or a dedicated energy manager. Small companies often struggle to reduce their costs while a company like IBM was able to save $43 million in electricity expenses and conserved 378,000 megawatt-hours of electricity in 2011 alone.
So what are some of the challenges confronting small companies in the quest to effectively control their energy expenses?
Many times restrictions are purely financial. When cash and credit are tight, more pressing operational expenses take precedence. Implementing a strong and consistent sustainability policy takes dedicated resources and investment – extra dollars smaller companies might not have. In the long run, though, a small investment up front can turn into big savings in the future.
Another challenge facing small businesses is that available energy-saving solutions are frequently developed with larger businesses in mind and can be complicated to install and utilize. Smaller companies do have access to good solutions – many of which are sponsored by utility companies – they just may take a bit more research to discover.
Though small businesses often make efforts to reduce their carbon footprint by saving water, recycling and generally minimizing waste, such programs require a concerted effort from all employees to ensure effectiveness. Proper explanation and training are essential; no one wants their efforts to be negated by apathy or inexperience.
While there are some hurdles to overcome, there are ways for small businesses to get a handle on their energy costs. Thanks to government incentives, utility company involvement and even Web-based tools and applications, smaller companies can now learn about and develop personalized solutions according to their energy usage. The 30 million small businesses in the United States spend more than $60 billion a year on energy. Energy Star reports that, if they invest strategically, these same enterprises can cut utility costs 10 to 30 percent without sacrificing service, quality, style or comfort. Hopefully, these great options can help them keep up with the big guys that are still, fairly enough, far ahead in terms of energy savings.
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