Direct Energy

Direct Energy

July 07, 2010 10:54 ET

Direct Energy: Hot Weather Tips for Small Business Customers

Record Setting Temperatures Put Strain on Heating Grid

What Can Small Businesses Do to Help?

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA--(Marketwire - July 7, 2010) - The first heat wave of the summer has arrived and is blasting Pennsylvania with hot, humid air. This can leave many small business owners wondering what they can do. There are several adjustments that small business owners can employ to immediately reduce energy consumption, without sacrificing the comfort of their customers and employees. 

"During these blazing hot summer days, many small business owners opt to leave their doors open to tempt people inside," said Mike Beck, vice president of Small Business at Direct Energy Business. "Understanding the impact that can have on your energy bill and its impact on the energy grid is key to making sound, efficient business decisions."

During a heat wave, power grids come under increased strain as homes and businesses increase electrical consumption and demand. The potential for rolling blackouts and system failure remains high throughout a heat wave, especially during business hours. It's important that businesses of all sizes reduce energy consumption to mitigate the potential for power failure and to ensure the reliability of the power grid.

"Reducing your consumption, even by one per cent can have a positive impact on your bottom line, the environment and the electrical grid," said Beck. 

With hot temperatures expected to last well into the weekend, the potential for severe thunder showers and subsequent power outages remains high. Direct Energy Business encourages business owners to check local weather reports and monitor for potential disruptions to business.

Here are some ideas that may help you manage your energy during a heat wave:

Thermostats
  • If you have a programmable thermostat, set the times and temperatures to match your business' schedule.
  • Use your automatic setback thermostat to turn off the air conditioner at night
Temperature
  • Set the building's thermostat to 78F (26C) during business hours and 85F (29C) during unoccupied times
Lighting
  • Remove or unplug non-essential lighting
  • Turn off unnecessary lighting
  • Take advantage of "free" lighting during the day provided by the sun
  • Ensure that bulbs, fixtures, lenses, lamps and reflective surfaces are cleaned regularly. By removing grease, dust and other dirt, you can increase the output of your lights
HVAC Systems
  • Ensure the area around your air conditioning system is clean and free of debris
  • Close the doors and vents in rooms and offices that are unoccupied
  • Use ceiling fans that are equipped with a range of speeds. They cost a fraction to operate compared to a traditional HVAC system
Windows
  • Open window awnings to control the amount of sunlight and heat that enters the building
  • Close the blinds on the eastern wall in the morning and western wall in the afternoon
Doors
  • Keep external and freight doors closed keep as much as possible
  • Plug door leaks with weather-stripping caulking
  • Add strip-curtains to refrigerator doors
Office Equipment
  • Turn off machines when not in use
  • Use large equipment during off-peak hours whenever possible
  • Set energy-saving features on all office equipment to put them into sleep mode when not in use
For Employers
  • Consider implementing a dress code for warm weather. Suits and jackets could be optional
  • Adjust workplace schedules to compensate for higher energy demand during peak hours
For Employees
  • Wear a hat and light colored clothing when outdoors
  • Stay in the shade where possible to avoid direct contact with the sun
  • Stay hydrated - drinking water will help keep your body cool (avoid lemonade, iced tea, and other sugary drinks)

Direct Energy Business is one of North America's largest commercial retail energy suppliers and a Direct Energy company. With more than 20 years of industry experience, Direct Energy Business is dedicated to helping customers make cost-effective choices for their electricity and natural gas requirements. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Direct Energy Business serves nearly 50,000 customers in 14 states, the District of Columbia and five Canadian provinces. Direct Energy is wholly owned by Centrica plc. (LSE:CNA) one of the world's leading integrated energy companies. To learn more, visit www.directenergybusiness.com.

External Resources

Canada: Natural Resources Canada – www.nrcan.gc.ca

United States: Energy Star®www.energystar.gov

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