A reader: Recently, I received a phone call from a company wanting to do an energy audit on my business. After the phone call, I’m wondering if I should have scheduled an appointment to meet with him. My utility bill is quite high. Is an audit a good idea?
Action Line: Energy efficiency is always a good idea. A business energy audit is the first step to find out how much energy your business uses so that you can then evaluate what you can do to make your business more efficient.
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While I absolutely do not recommend that you do business with companies you have not vetted, you could ask to have printed information sent to you such as his name, the name of the company he was representing along with its address and phone number. You could then have advised him that you check all solicitations with BBB before you do business. If he checked out, you could call to set an appointment with him. You could then check out the company at bbb.org or by calling your local BBB, 800-675-8118. BBB also recommends that you shop around, get comparative bids. Fees will vary from one company to the next. Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples.
In the meantime, here are some tips to help you conserve energy:
▪ Turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees. The California Energy Commission tells us that for every degree you turn your thermostat down between the 60-70 degree range, you will save up to 5% on heating or turning it up for cooling costs. And then, don’t forget to adjust your thermostat for hours your business is not in operation.
▪ Don’t forget to replace your furnace filters regularly. If they are dirty, the air flow will be restricted and energy use increases.
▪ Hot water heaters can be set to the normal setting. Be sure to check your owner’s manual to make sure they recommend the normal setting as well. Don’t forget the dishwasher. Use the economy or power saver setting if you can. Again, check your owner’s manual.
▪ Air leaks in your business through your outer doors and windows waste energy. Seals those leaks and make sure your business is well insulated. Doing this can also make your business feel more comfortable.
▪ If possible, consider replacing your old appliances with new Energy Star appliances. Look for the Energy Star label. You can find helpful information at www.energystar.gov.
You should also check with your utility company. They may have rebate or incentive programs that would help you out.
Always check on a company before you do business with them. Go to bbb.org.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.