With another scorching Arizona summer here, higher electricity usage goes hand in hand with triple digit temperatures and summer storms.

Several smart energy-saving strategies can keep workplaces safe and comfortable for staff and customers while holding energy bills in check.

Businesses also can take steps to address the effects of the monsoons.

Defeat the Peak

Saving energy during peak usage periods can reduce the stress on our local energy grid and your budget.

Look into TEP’s time-of-use programs to see if one would work for your business, school, organization or government agency. If you can shift energy usage to off-peak times, you could benefit from lower energy costs.

Even if you’re not on a time-of-use plan, adjusting your thermostat up a few degrees from 2 – 8 p.m. in the summer can lead to savings. In addition, rather than turning off your HVAC system overnight, adjust the thermostat 3 to 8 degrees higher at night. Maintaining a more consistent temperature means you won’t have crank up the AC in the morning to cool the building down, leading to lower overall usage. Consider installing an energy management system or a smart thermostat with ‘auto away’ settings.

If your pricing plan includes demand charges for your highest on-peak usage, avoid using large appliances and equipment at the same time during peak hours. If you have ceiling fans, they’ll help cool off your customers and employees, but remember to turn them off when no one is present.

Switching to LED bulbs wherever possible helps in two ways. In addition to using much less energy than traditional bulbs, LEDs generate much less heat.

Monsoon Ready

The annual summer monsoons bring much needed rain to Southern Arizona, but they can be dangerous if you’re not prepared.

Heavy rains can cause trees to grow seemingly overnight, so it’s a good idea to trim back trees and shrubs to ensure they remain a minimum of 10 feet from utility lines. In addition, keep alleyways free of clutter so TEP’s crews have unobstructed access to electrical equipment.

If you see a storm rolling in, consider turning off large electronics and other equipment. Monsoons generate spectacular lightning displays that can cause power surges that damage equipment. Installing whole-building surge protection systems is another way to protect your equipment during storms.

Create a severe weather plan and review it with your employees. This plan should include designated safe zones as well as processes to protect the facility and equipment. Make sure you have essentials on hand, including water, snacks, flashlights and a first aid kit.

Efficient Cooling

A well-maintained HVAC system not only runs more efficiently but requires less energy. Dirty, clogged air filters block air flow, so the AC works harder and produces less cool air. Getting an HVAC tune-up before summer also helps avoid breakdowns and costly emergency repairs. Best of all, regular maintenance can extend the life of the unit.

It’s also a good idea to make sure doors and windows are properly sealed so that cool air doesn’t escape.

Click here for more summer energy-savings tips.

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