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Business Energy Saving Facts

These tools, tips, and suggestions can help you optimize energy usage in your business, save money and provide improved comfort and safety. 

Eversource sponsors incentives for many of these measures through NHSaves, so be sure to work with us to ensure you're saving the most.

Choose the area of your building you’d like to optimize below.

Even if your lighting system is new, you may still have opportunities to reduce the energy needed to light your facilities.

  • Re-lamp/re-ballast existing light fixtures: This is a quick, easy, and inexpensive process that will brighten your workplace and save energy.
  • Upgrade to new efficient lighting fixtures: You can reduce the number of lamps per fixture, change the appearance of your lighting, and take advantage of newer lighting technologies. 
  • Install lighting controls: Lighting controls can be set to shut off lights according to time, the daylight conditions, or area occupancy, allowing you to save more energy with no extra effort.

Save energy and cut costs, without sacrificing comfort, in your business's heating system:

  • Install set-back thermostats: Save energy by automatically setting back the temperature in a space for a scheduled unoccupied time. For many locations, this thermostat can have a very short payback period.
  • Properly control exhaust fans: Many exhaust fans operate continuously but they might not need to. If code permits, turn them off when they are unnecessarily running and consuming energy. Small bathroom fans could be wired to the lights to operate only when lights are on, or a clock can be installed to turn off exhaust fans when the space is not occupied. Consult your local building officials to ensure this measure complies with local codes.

  • Invest in energy efficient equipment: Replacing commercial heating equipment to reap energy savings could be uneconomical due to the large capital expense required. But, if it’s time to replace aging equipment anyway, it is usually cost effective to invest the money in the energy-efficient models. Make sure you choose and install a system that fits your business’s needs by hiring a heating contractor, and work with Eversource and Mass Save to identify incentives you may be eligible for.

  • Improve your building’s caulking and weather stripping: Building “envelope” improvements, including caulking and weather stripping, offer simple and low-cost ways to reduce loss of heat and cooling resources.

Understanding Equipment Ratings

Heating equipment is rated with one of two seasonal ratings:

  • HSPF represents heating performance over an entire season. The more efficient ratings range from 8 to 10. This rating is equal to the total BTUs of heating delivered, divided by the total watt-hours of power used during a representative heating season. 
  • AFUE is the expected average efficiency of equipment for the heating season. The higher the rating, the better, with the more efficient ratings ranging from 84 to 97 percent. This figure is equal to the BTUs of heating output, divided by the BTUs of fuel input during a representative heating season. 

Save energy and cut costs, without sacrificing comfort, in your business's cooling system:

  • Install a programmable thermostat: Programmable thermostats help ensure automatic temperature adjustments for energy savings and greater comfort. Consult your air conditioning service company to ensure proper thermostat type and installation.

  • Take advantage of “free cooling”: Controls can be installed in most RTAHU’s and other large air conditioning units that can automatically increase the intake of cooler outside air when conditions are favorable. Large air conditioning units that provide a mixture of outside and return air and must operate many hours a day are good candidates for free cooling.

  • Invest in energy efficient equipment: Replacing commercial cooling equipment to reap energy savings could be uneconomical due to the large capital expense required. But, if it’s time to replace aging equipment anyway, it is usually cost effective to invest the money in the energy-efficient models. Make sure to work with Eversource and Mass Save to identify incentives you may be eligible for.

  • Improve your building’s caulking and weather stripping: Building “envelope” improvements, including caulking and weather stripping, offer simple and low-cost ways to reduce loss of heat and cooling resources.

Understanding Equipment Ratings

Air conditioning/cooling equipment is rated with one of two seasonal ratings:

  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) rating is used for window air conditioners. The most efficient units are rated with an EER between 10 and 12. 
  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating is used for all other cooling units. Shop for a cooling system with a SEER between 11 and 16.

Reduce the energy used for making hot water and save money in your business:

  • Install faucet aerators and/or shutoff valves: Faucet aerators are easy to install and can reduce water flow by up to 50 percent, while typically delivering enough hot water for your needs. Nozzle shutoff valves leave the cold water/hot water mix intact without running the water continuously.

  • Lower the hot water temperature: Ensure that your hot water isn’t hotter than it needs to be. Lowering the temperature of your hot water can substantially reduce the amount of energy needed to heat it. A 10 degree reduction in water temperature can result in 3 to 5 percent reduction in energy usage. 

  • Insulate your hot water tank and piping: Insulating your tank and piping can reduce your energy consumption by 4 to 9 percent. When insulating, be careful to leave openings for areas on your water heater that need to be accessed. Also, check with the tank manufacturer to make sure insulating your tank is not prohibited.

  • Consider a solar hot water heater: A conventional hot water heater is responsible for about 12 percent of your monthly energy bill. You can reduce the energy needed to heat water by choosing a high efficiency, ENERGY STAR-rated solar unit.

  • Take advantage of “free heat”: Businesses that utilize refrigeration equipment and air conditioning may save costs by recovering the waste heat from their cooling equipment. Heat recovery water heaters use this type of waste heat as a means to heat water.

  • Change to a heat pump water heater: The most energy-efficient water heater is a heat pump water heater (HPWH) that extracts heat from warm, humid air and uses it to heat water. With this process, you not only dehumidify the air, but you also use the heated water for your operational needs. Heat pump water heaters are 2 to 8 times more efficient than electric resistance water heating and 14 times more efficient than gas-fired water heaters.

The table below shows the efficiency of the most common methods of water heating. Energy factor is the annual energy output divided by the energy input.

Water Heater Typical New
Energy Factor
Most Efficient
Energy Factor
.48 - .53
.60 - .63
Gas-fired .51 - .56
.71 - .83
Electric Resistance
.87 - .91 .96 - .98
HPWH* 2.50 - 3.50
3.10 - 3.50

* HPWH's energy factor can be greater than 1.0 (i.e., it produces more energy than it consumes), because it ‘draws in’ energy from its environment, energy which is typically lost if not "reclaimed."

Electric motors consume 64 percent of the electricity produced in this country. Much of this energy consumption is inefficient and wasteful due to motor size being mismatched to the horsepower requirements of the job.

 The operating cost of a motor over its lifetime is many times its purchase price. For example, a 100 horsepower AC induction motor costs approximately $5,000, yet will use as much as $35,000 worth of electricity in a year.

Small improvements in efficiency can therefore generate significant savings in energy costs.

  • Optimal loading: Since motors run most efficiently near their designed power rating, it is good practice to operate between 75 percent and 100 percent of full load rating. The National Association of Electrical Manufacturers (NEMA) publishes guides for selecting motor design types for particular tasks. Motor manufacturers are another good source of information on proper selection of motors.
  • Voltage balance: Proper power supply is essential for achieving rated performance of a motor. Unbalanced three-phase voltage affects a motor's current, speed, torque, and temperature rise. Equal loads on all three phases of electric service helps ensure voltage balance while minimizing voltage losses.

  • Motor maintenance: Regular maintenance helps minimize loss from friction and heat and extends motor life. Lubrication and cleaning should be performed periodically. Motors should also be checked for proper ventilation, mounting bolt security, and load change application.

  • Consider energy efficient motors: Energy efficient electric motors can improve efficiency from 3 to 8 percent. Initial cost outlay is higher, but the return on investment can be quick, especially for high-use motors.

  • Variable Speed Drives: Electronic Variable Speed Drives (VSDs) control the speed and torque of an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage of the electricity supplied to the motor. They replace inefficient, energy-robbing speed controllers such as belts and pulleys, throttle valves, fan dampers, and magnetic clutches. Their small size makes them ideal for retrofits.

Consult with an electrician experienced with commercial electric motors for help selecting the right motor for your job.

Sealing air-leaks and ensuring that your building is properly insulated will keep your warm or cool air in, and save you money and energy. 

  • Air infiltration: Caulking and weather-stripping are the most cost-effective methods of saving energy by reducing the amount of air infiltration around doors, windows, and building corners. Make these your first line of attack against energy waste. Note that any effort to reduce air infiltration should include a review of the fresh air needs of the work space.

  • Insulation: Insulation is your primary defense against heat loss or gain through the exterior surfaces of your building and can be a relatively easy method for reducing energy losses. Review the insulation value of your windows, as well. Multi-pane windows, some with inert gases between the panes, can provide more than double the insulating capabilities of your existing windows.

  • Windows: Windows don’t just let light in, they also let heat in or out. Reflective window films can help to dramatically reduce heat losses. These are highly specialized materials, so consult an expert to determine the appropriate application of these films. Exterior or interior window treatments can also be used to block or filter the transfer of heat.

Refrigeration and freezing systems can account for a large portion of a facility's energy usage and therefore are excellent targets for energy efficiency improvements. There are three main energy saving strategies for refrigeration systems.

  • Settings and Maintenance: Set temperatures to the lowest possible setting, don't overload units beyond capacity, and clean coils to improve heat transfer. Also, position refrigeration units in open areas where heat can be vented properly and air flows freely.
  • Compressor Modifications: Install variable speed drives (VSDs) and high-efficiency motors on compressors while using auto-unloading to reduce compressor work when the system is not fully loaded.
  • Condenser Modifications: Install variable speed drives (VSDs) and high-efficiency motors on condenser fans. You can also use mechanical sub-cooling to increase the efficiency cycle by using an additional heat exchanger in the refrigerant cycle. And oversizing-condensers can increase the heat exchanger area and improve the efficiency of the refrigerant cycle.

You can also take some general improvement steps:

  • Install controls on anti-condensate heaters in order to minimize run-time: These controls sense the humidity in the air and operate the heaters only when needed.
  • Use Open-drive motor systems: Open-drive motor systems, as opposed to hermetically sealed motor systems, can make your refrigeration system more efficient by ejecting waste heat into the air, instead of back into the refrigerant, thereby reducing the cooling load.
  • Optimize lighting: Delamping (reducing the number of bulbs) and use of high-efficiency lighting not only reduces refrigeration lighting needs, but also reduces the amount of heat being introduced into the space being cooled.
  • Use covers at night: Night covers on open refrigeration units can reduce your cooling load.

  • Use doors or curtains: Glass doors or plastic curtains reduce heat gain from the environment.

  • Reduce humidity with heat pipes: Heat pipes are devices which may be installed on the HVAC equipment of buildings which operate refrigeration units. These pipes reduce the humidity of the air inside the building, thereby reducing icing on refrigeration display cases. This can save 12 to 15 percent of total refrigeration costs.

If you operate commercial kitchen or cooking equipment, use the following tips to cut energy consumption and costs.

Exhaust and Ventilation System

Your ventilation system is necessary for removing heat, odors, and smoke from the cooking area, but too much ventilation can mean excessive energy use. Make sure your ventilation system is working to best serve your needs with the following steps:

  • Install an energy-efficient exhaust hood.
  • Install a variable speed control so your exhaust and ventilation system only runs when necessary.

  • Install side curtains around cooking equipment to reduce the necessary exhaust fan velocity.

Energy efficient kitchen equipment and commercial appliances

Energy efficient cooking equipment can help you save money and energy and provide better performance and ease of operation. 

  • Highly insulated, programmable electric griddles concentrate heat only where and when it is needed.

  • Combination convection/microwave ovens have digitally programmable controls which allow you to select precise cooking times as well as cooking and holding temperatures, so you no longer have to constantly monitor the cooking process.
  • Electromagnetic induction fryers use lower heating element surface temperatures and less energy to maintain the ideal cooking oil temperatures.

  • Electric flash bake ovens use energy from light to quickly cook food, even faster than a microwave. The oven browns the outside of the food and cooks each ingredient according to its own "light absorption" pattern - the food retains its ideal taste, color, and texture. A single pizza, for example, cooks in 50 seconds.