In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are shutting their doors temporarily or altering the way they do business. Restaurants and coffees shops are moving to a take-out only model in this new world of coronavirus social distancing. This is a tough decision for everyone, and is an uncharted territory for utilities and businesses alike. When closing for a month or more, what do businesses need to consider from an energy perspective?
If facilities are vacated, but energy use is not scaled back, businesses can waste unneeded energy and money. And in this uncertain time, any savings is much needed. Whether temporary decommissioning or reducing service hours and scope, businesses can take important steps to conserve energy.
If your business is temporarily shut down:
- Set the acceptable temperature to anywhere between 55 degrees F and 85 degrees F, depending on your climate (as opposed to the normal occupied 70-75.) This keeps pipes from freezing in cold climates and limits heat and humidity from accumulating excessively in warm climates.
- Make sure the lights are switched off if you don’t have occupancy sensors.
- Clean out and unplug any break room refrigerators. Unplug all printers and chargers to avoid “vampire load” (the low level consumption that occurs when you just have something plugged in even if it isn’t in use).
- Turn off or adjust the temperature on vending machines and refrigerators with non-perishable items, like canned drinks.
If your business is scaled back, but still operating:
- Adjust your temperature range to meet your new business hours.
- Your entire space won’t need to be heated or cooled. For example, if you are a restaurant with only pick-up or delivery, you’ll only need to have the kitchen area heated and cooled as usual, whereas the dining spaces can be maintained in an “un-occupied” setting.
While we take this brief pause to ensure the health and protection of our communities, let’s all be grateful for all of the businesses rising to the occasion in these turbulent COVID-19 times. And when business as usual does continue, let’s go out and support all of the businesses in our community!