How Much Will Your Business Spend on Energy This Labor Day?

At this point, you're probably thinking more about your plans for Labor Day weekend than what your company's offices and facilities are going to look like while you're gone.

But if you knew how much money is on the line, you might think twice about the energy your buildings are using while they’re empty for the holiday. Here are just a few statistics and examples to give you an idea of the potential losses at risk:

  • After Memorial Day this year, Enel X’s energy analyst team found that more than 20% of the facilities operated by businesses that were closed for the holiday hadn’t fully shut down operations. Altogether, the analysts found an estimated $250K in potential savings through simple shutdown procedures at those sites for that one day.
  • When the New Year’s Day holiday landed on a weekday a few years ago, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts noticed that one of its large facilities hadn’t run on its holiday schedule. The following year, state officials implemented adjustments ahead of the holiday that reduced consumption by about 500 kW, saving an estimated $10K in costs.
  • Similarly, a defense contractor found that some of its sites were operating on Christmas Eve as if it were a normal workday, and just one week later set its monthly peak demand charge on New Year’s Eve. That realization motivated the company to review its overall holiday energy consumption, finding that it spent about $10K to run vacant buildings on holidays every year.

The problem is all too common. Enel X data shows that buildings that follow strict policies and enforcement strategies save 20% more on energy during holidays. Based on that figure, businesses spend an estimated $700M annually in unnecessary energy costs during holidays.

In addition to the direct energy costs, many companies are wasting their employees’ time with inefficient shutdown procedures. Prior to deploying energy intelligence software, the energy manager at a Texas school district with 39 facilities encompassing 4.5 million square feet of building space said he could only identify buildings that were wasting energy during non-operating hours when he walked through himself—on weekends, holidays, even in the middle of the night. And the energy team at another school district in Virginia illustrated the horrors of improper shutdown procedures with this hilarious video.

To prevent suffering the same fate, make sure all your energy-intensive operational processes and production equipment is off and set to unoccupied mode for the holiday. And a handful of features in energy intelligence software—such as real-time alerts for irregular energy usage and a “compare to past” tool to measure the impact of energy efficiency efforts—can enable you to be proactive about eliminating waste and show just how much you saved by doing so.

Labor Day weekend is a time to relax. But the days leading up to it should serve as another reminder of the importance of asking the right questions about energy use ahead of time, so you won’t have to answer questions about unnecessary costs after it’s too late.

Learn how businesses are taking control of their energy costs with energy intelligence software with our eBook.
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Authored By Colin Neagle

Colin is a marketing manager for Enel X North America and editor-in-chief of the EnergySMART blog.

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