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Energy Efficiency is at the Core of Every Successful SMB

Solar array at Cooper Vineyards in Louisa, VA the first winery on the East Coast and the second in the country to be awarded the fourth and highest, Platinum certification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), May 4, 2011. From a Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office press release, “The process of building a LEED platinum certified building was initially more expensive and arduous than co-owners, Jacque Hogge, MD and Geoffrey Cooper, MD expected, but they were able to get financial assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture. “Know that there are grants available to help with the costs of sustainable building projects,” Hogge advises to other potential green wineries. Cooper Vineyards received 2 of the 3 USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD) Rural Energy Financing program) grants awarded in Virginia in 2010 to help with the expenses of their construction.” Rural Energy Financing program focuses on loan guarantees, loans and grants to agricultural producers, businesses, cooperatives and rural residents for renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements. The tasting room and building collects rainwater from the roof; uses low flow water fixtures to reduce usage by 40%; utilizes structurally insulated panels for the roof and walls; heats and cools the entire building using a geothermal system that includes pipes that are embedded in the parking lot; low-voltage LED lighting with daylight and occupancy sensors provide ample light when it is needed; a solar panel array provides more than 15% of the energy needs for the building, and much of the construction materials are from local and recycled material sources. For more information about USDA please go to, Rural Development and Rural Energy Financing. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a 501 c3 non-profit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation throug

Small business entrepreneurs are usually not sure where to start when it comes to lowering their company’s carbon footprint. Many of them don’t realize all the benefits energy efficiency brings and are concerned about the overall costs of this process. In most cases, investments in green technologies produce good ROI on the long run. In this article, we will present several ways how small business entrepreneurs can make their business process more energy efficient.


Both offices and assembly halls should have adequate lighting. For its installment, SMB owners should contact specialized light designers who will need to construct a high-bay lighting fixtures’ scheme that uses the least amount of energy and provides adequate light for the work processes, that’s going on inside.

In order to make company’s light system more sustainable, entrepreneurs should replace old incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. Overall energy consumption can also be achieved by turning off lights when they are not in use. This can be effectively done by introducing new policies that address the problem of irresponsible usage of lights, or by installing ‘occupant sensors’ that automatically turn lights off and on.


In order to make their company’s water consumption more energy efficient, entrepreneurs should focus on cold water consumption, as well as on water heating. In a recent chat with an experienced Monmouth Country plumber, I learned that small business entrepreneurs should conduct regular pipe maintenance checks in order to find potential leaks. When it comes to water heating, they should insulate hot water tanks and pipes and set water heaters to the lowest required temperature. Same as with lights, managers should instruct employees to use both hot and cold water wisely.


Many food businesses require extensive use of refrigerators in order to follow sanitary rules and requirements and keep their food healthy. Refrigerators are big energy consumers, but there are several ways how to make them more energy efficient. Conducting regular maintenance prolongs refrigerator’s life and decreases its energy consumption. Employees also need to conduct regular refrigerator cleaning. They should toss out all food leftovers, defrost freezer compartments and remove dust from motor compartment on a regular basis. Lights on walk-in refrigerators should be turned off, while bigger refrigerated spaces should have strip curtains at the entrance.

HVAC systems

Extensive air conditioning and big differences between indoor and outdoor temperatures create health risks for employees. Therefore energy efficiency is not the only reason why companies should reduce their air conditioning hours. HVAC systems should operate efficiently and their air filters need to be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. Same goes for the whole HVAC network, professionals should regularly check system components for leaks, and make sure that radiators and air intake vents are not obstructed. Adjusting thermostat during collective vacation or installing a programmable thermostat drastically improves HVAC system’s efficiency.

These are just some of the ways entrepreneurs can use to make their small businesses more energy efficient. They can also impose energy saving measures, on the use of office and production equipment. This way they will cut their electricity bills and stop potential mishaps from happening. Business owners who have more money to invest in their company’s sustainability can use eco-friendly construction techniques for building their offices, workrooms, and production halls. Although most of these investments won’t produce immediate ROI, on the long run it will save a lot of company’s money and enable marketers to use green marketing strategies for acquiring new customers.

Written By

Lillian believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. As a seasoned business consultant, she tends to advise her clients to always focus on long-term goals and sustainability, rather than on some questionable get-rich-fast schemes.rn

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