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Given the narrow profit margins involved in running a Chicago-based small business, you know that keeping costs down is essential to profitability. While various market forces can affect a business’s bottom line in unforeseen ways, you can improve your cash flow by making your business as energy efficient as possible. Here are small upgrades that can help you save big on energy costs.


Take Advantange Of Smart Meter-Enabled Tools And Programs

If your business location has a smart meter, you have three different ways to manage your energy use and save money on your electric bills. With a smart meter, you have online access to your business’s hourly, daily and monthly energy-usage information to help you learn how to better manage energy use. You can sign up to receive High-Usage Alerts and Weekly Usage Reports that summarize daily usage to help you manage electric bills. You can also enroll in Peak Time Savings and Hourly Pricing and save money by voluntarily shifting energy use to times when there is less demand for electricity. To find out if you have a smart meter, or when smart meter installations are planned for your area, visit ComEd.com/SmartMeterMap.


Seal Up Air Leaks

Chicago’s notoriously long and intense winters mean you can spend a lot of money keeping your retail or office spaces properly heated. One surefire way to reduce heating costs is to seal up any gaps, openings and cracks on the premises. Doing things as simple as plugging up heat draining leaks with caulk and weather stripping can save you from 10 to 20 percent on heating costs.


Install A Programmable Thermostat

Another way to save on heating costs is to get a programmable thermostat installed. Keeping your retail space properly heated during business hours is crucial, but keeping it warm when it’s unoccupied is a waste of money. A programmable thermostat can put an end to that waste by automatically lowering the temperature during off hours. More advanced thermostats can optimize your energy use by heating or cooling your business in response to weather conditions. ComEd offers rebates on select smart thermostats at ComEd.com/Thermostats.


Modernize Your Lighting

Business lighting can be responsible for a significant portion of your business’s electricity costs. Replacing outdated incandescent lights bulbs with more energy-efficient LED bulbs, which last longer and consume 75 percent less energy, can have a very positive effect on your bottom line. ComEd offers instant, in-store discounts on a variety of ENERGY STAR® certified LED bulbs. Look for the ComEd “Lower Price” sticker at participating retail stores.


Replace Old Equipment

As a small-business owner, purchasing new equipment may not be in your immediate budget plans. However, replacing old and energy inefficient office appliances, like printers, copiers and refrigerators, with newer, ENERGY STAR certified equipment can greatly reduce your business’s energy consumption. The US Small Business Administration also recommends replacing electricity-hungry desktop computers with energy-efficient laptops.


Want to learn more about how smart meter-enabled tools and programs can help your small business save? Contact ComEd at 866-368-8326 or visit ComEd.com/BizSmartMeter.


For more tips and inspiration for small business owners,
visit CBS Small Business Pulse Chicago.

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