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Energy Efficiency for Specific Facilities and Businesses

Business Start Up Guides

Energy Efficiency for Specific Facilities and Businesses

The types of energy efficiency upgrades that provide the largest cost savings depend on the kind of business you are running. The following links provide information on energy-efficiency opportunities, technologies and practices designed specifically for types of facilities.

  • Auto Dealers

Auto dealerships use on average more energy per square foot than a typical office building. But the good news is that cost effective opportunities exist for significant reductions in the energy used for lighting, HVAC, and other services, while still maintaining lighting quality, safety, and customer comfort.

The following ENERGY STAR® resources provide information on products and energy-saving practices that you can apply to your auto dealership. In addition, you'll find information on complying with environmental regulations that affect auto dealers, and further help reduce environmental impact of your operations.

What You Can Do

Learn more about the following technologies and practices that are applicable in automobile dealer store facilities.

Environmental Regulations for Auto Dealers and Repair Shops

  • Construction Contractors

Home improvement contractors, insulators and air sealing companies, and HVAC contractors who are ready to learn and apply advanced techniques recommended by ENERGY STAR have the opportunity to sell more services, improve customer satisfaction, and make homes significantly more energy-efficient and comfortable.

While there is no partnership program available for these types of organizations, ENERGY STAR provides educational and marketing materials to help contractors explain the benefits of recommended practices such as proper HVAC equipment installation and maintenance, duct sealing, air sealing, and proper insulation installation to homeowners.

Sell ENERGY STAR Qualified Products

Recommend ENERGY STAR qualified products like air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, windows, lighting, and appliances when jobs call for the replacement of these items. Products that earn the ENERGY STAR are a smart choice because the customer will save money on energy bills without sacrificing comfort or quality. Energy-efficient products are also a key part of a growing movement toward environmentally-friendly green remodeling.

Promote ENERGY STAR Recommended Solutions

Contractors can distribute ENERGY STAR brochures and use ENERGY STAR's videos to help educate and guide users about ENERGY STAR's programs and services you offer.

Home Sealing

Improving a home's 'envelope' or 'shell' by sealing up air leaks and adding insulation can lower utility bills, while improving comfort and energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR Home Sealing also makes homes quieter by reducing outside noise and can help prevent pollutants, such as pollen and car exhaust from the garage, from entering a home. ENERGY STAR Home Sealing improvements can save homeowners up to 20 percent on annual heating and cooling bills.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR Home Sealing:

Duct Sealing and HVAC

Ducts that move air to and from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of a home's heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR Duct Sealing and HVAC:

Quality HVAC Installation

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the nationwide association of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) contractors has developed nationally recognized requirements for the quality installation of residential and commercial HVAC systems. The HVAC Quality Installation Specification identifies requirements associated with quality installations, measurement procedures, and acceptable forms of documentation to show compliance. The ANSI recognized standard is available for download at

Promote Yourself as an Energy Efficiency Expert

Use these sample press releases, articles and letters to position yourself as a local expert on energy efficiency issues.

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR

Contractors participating in locally-sponsored Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs offer homeowners a comprehensive approach to home improvement that provides better energy efficiency, greater comfort, and lower utility bill. These specially-trained contractors evaluate homes using state-of-the-art equipment and recommend comprehensive improvements that will yield the best results. Contractor Success Stories highlight how real companies have changed the way they do business to include a whole-house approach to solving common home performance problems. Learn more about Home Performance with ENERGY STAR.

  • Grocery and Convenience Stores

While the food-sales industry shares many of the energy-related issues seen in other business sectors, such as lighting, heating and cooling, appliances, etc., what sets it apart is its high dependence on refrigeration. So, we've dedicated this page to ways to improve the energy efficiency of commercial refrigeration systems.

To save energy while using larger equipment, such as HVAC, heat pumps, motors, boilers, furnaces, and turbines, view our equipment tech sheet, and consider buying ENERGY STAR labeled products.

Whether you operate a supermarket, grocery store or convenience store, you know that refrigeration uses a lot of energy and that translates into high energy bills. That's why it's important to maintain your refrigeration systems and to learn about the multitude of energy efficiency options available to you in today's more energy efficient market.

Energy efficiency can be applied to all types of refrigeration equipment such as reach-in, walk-in, and under the counter refrigerators/freezers, as well as a multitude of food and drink storage and display cases. The following tips are designed to help your business improve the efficiency of its refrigeration, thereby reducing operating costs, saving energy, and preventing pollution.

Compare your Business with the National Average

To measure and compare your actual energy use with that of similar grocery stores nationwide, you can use the ENERGY STAR benchmarking tool which rates your store on a scale of 1-100. Whether you are responsible for one store or 100, periodic energy benchmarking is a critical step in energy management.

Refrigeration Tips

To help you save money and energy on your refrigeration needs, here are some no-cost refrigeration tips:

Keep doors shut-Repeated fluctuations in temperature will damage food quality and will cost money.

Check temperature settings-If settings are lower than necessary, chances are you are wasting energy. The most common recommended settings are between -14 degrees and -8 degrees Fahrenheit for freezers and between 35 degrees and 38 degrees Fahrenheit for refrigerators.

Clean cooling coils-Dirt accumulation impairs proper heat transfer and lowers the efficiency and capacity of refrigerators.

Check door seals-Tight seals and properly closing doors prevent warm air from entering the unit, which reduces cooling energy and prevents frost buildup. Use this rule of thumb: If you can easily slide a dollar bill into the seal, have the seal adjusted.

Maintain equipment-Perform any scheduled maintenance on the units and keep evaporator coils clean and free of ice build-up.

Do your homework -See how other grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants have saved energy on their refrigeration systems.

  • Home Based Businesses

Saving energy for your home-based business may seem like a challenge, but there are some simple, no-cost or low-cost steps you can take to reduce your energy bills by as much as 30%.

Try some of the options below and check out our Energy Saving Tips for more ways to save energy and money while preventing pollution.

No-Cost Options:

  • Turn up or turn back the thermostat during unoccupied times.
  • Consider buying a programmable thermostat.
  • Turn off lights or office equipment at night and over the weekend.
  • Take advantage of daylight.
  • Use e-mail instead for faxes and paper memos or letters.
  • Disconnect unnecessary equipment.

Low-Cost Options:

  • Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors.
  • Replace light bulbs with more efficient ones. Consider changing to high-efficiency light bulbs or CFLs.
  • Install timers on lights and electric equipment.
  • Install blinds or shades to keep out summer sun and lower air-conditioning costs.
  • Fix leaky faucets, showerheads, pipes, and toilets.
  • Consider buying ENERGY STAR labeled equipment, such as computers, monitors, fax machines, printers, and copiers.
  • Lodging

If you own or operate a hotel, motel, bed & breakfast, or guesthouse, you face special challenges regarding energy management. Your facilities may be active 24 hours a day and often comprise more than one building that provides a variety of services. To manage these facilities, you must take into account the comfort and well being of your customers. Often, guests are allowed to adjust thermostat settings, use large amounts of hot water, leave doors and windows open while the cooling or heating system is running and leave lights on in unoccupied rooms. This can greatly increase the amount of energy consumed by your business, and thereby increase operating costs, without any additional revenue.

The following tips and resources will help you save money and energy will protecting the environment:

Housekeeping Department

  • Have housekeepers turn off guest room lights, televisions and radios when rooms are unoccupied.
  • Have housekeepers turn off heating and cooling systems in unoccupied rooms or have them reset the thermostats upward or downward.
  • Reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter by closing window draperies and shades when exiting guest rooms.
  • Educate your housekeeping staff to use natural lighting when making up and cleaning guest rooms, limiting their use of artificial light.

Maintenance Department

  • Repair leaking water fixtures immediately.
  • Install timers on bathroom heat lamps and consider connecting bathroom exhaust fans to light switches to reduce excessive operation.
  • Replace light bulbs with more efficient ones. Consider changing to high-efficiency .
  • Have your maintenance staff regularly check and clean HVAC filters, condenser and evaporator coils to keep them running efficiently.
  • Seal cracks around windows, doors, and through-the-wall or window type HVAC units with caulk and weather-strip doors and operable windows.


  • Activate the stand-by mode in your ENERGY STAR labeled computer.
  • Consider installing high efficiency ENERGY STAR labeled products when purchasing new equipment.
  • Consider installing Energy Control Systems that allow management central control of individual rooms.
  • During periods of low occupancy, close down entire wings or floors and reduce lighting and HVAC systems in these areas.
  • Assign guests to adjoining rooms to allow the heating and cooling of occupied rooms to act as a buffer or insulator.
  • Restaurants and Food Service

Savor the profits from energy efficiency! Your restaurant's profit is typically only 39% of total revenue. Follow ENERGY STAR® cost-effective recommendations and your investment in energy efficiency can give you up to a 30% return. Furthermore, you may also receive other delightful surprises such as increased customer comfort, better lighting, more repeat business, and increased employee productivity.

What You Can Do

For additional information on energy-efficiency opportunities in food service/restaurant facilities visit:

Did You Know?

The money you save on operating costs adds to what you get to keep, so saving 20% on energy operating costs can increase your profit as much as one-third.

Restaurant Profits Graph

Learn more about the following technologies and practices that are applicable in food service/restaurant facilities.

What Others Are Doing

ENERGY STAR Success Stories

  • Retail

Make strong energy performance your competitive advantage.

  • Retail companies spend nearly $20 billion on energy each year
  • A 10 percent reduction in energy costs for the average full-line discount retailer can boost net profit margins by as much as 1.55 percent and sales per square foot by $25.
  • A 10 percent reduction in energy costs for the average limited service restaurant can boost net profit margins by as much as 4 percent and sales per square foot by $17.
  • A 10 percent reduction in energy costs for the average supermarket can boost net profit margins by as much as 16 percent and sales per square foot by $44.

What You Can Do

What Others Are Doing

ENERGY STAR Success Stories

  • Food Lion
    An ENERGY STAR award winner five years in a row, is committing to energy management company-wide and seeing real financial results - nearly $105 million in savings over the years.
  • Giant Eagle
    A three-time ENERGY STAR partner of the year, developed an Energy Management Plan to guide its energy strategies to improve energy performance year after year.
  • Small and Medium Sized Manufacturers

Small and medium sized manufacturers (SMM) face a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing energy use. Expertise in energy-efficient operations may not exist in the organization and employees may already have a very full plate helping the company run smoothly. Managing energy may seem like one more task on a long list of things that must be done.

But that need not be the case. With a little education and support from ENERGY STAR a small or medium sized manufacturing company can improve the energy efficiency of its operations thereby increasing profit margins, securing a more competitive position in the market place and reducing its environmental impact.

Getting Started

The first step is to learn some energy management basics. Check out our Energy Management Basics for Small and Medium sized Manufacturers.

Learning More

DeBourgh manufacturing shop floor


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