Your Business Center
An Energy Management Partnership
It takes a lot of hard work to run a successful business, and we want to help make sure your success includes efficient, cost-effective energy management. In PEC's Business Center, you'll find information about incentives to help offset the cost of efficiency-related upgrades, and we've partnered with Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and Apogee Interactive to provide calculators to help you forecast how changes in operations or equipment might impact your bottom line, and information to help you better understand the role energy management plays in your business strategy.
If you haven't already discovered MyUse Energy Analyzer, we encourage you to try it. It's a good way for small-power commercial members to monitor their daily use and track the success of their efforts to conserve electricity. (MyUse is not currently available for large-power commercial members.)
Apogee Interactive has produced a calculator to help commercial building operators and energy managers identify energy savings opportunities.
Commercial Energy Calculator »
Touchstone Energy Cooperatives has worked with a number of partners to offer business-to-business discounts to PEC members.
Visit BizConnections.coop »
Business Energy Myths
(Click for the facts)
Myth: Surge protectors reduce energy use.
Facts. A small number of transient-voltage surge suppressor (a.k.a. surge protector) manufacturers and vendors persist in making energy-saving claims for their products despite the fact that such claims were thoroughly debunked decades ago.
Even if there were some mechanism by which surge protectors could save energy (and there isn't), the reality is that there is simply no opportunity for these devices to do so because they are dormant well over 99.999 percent of the time. They become active only when some event (which may be on the customer or the utility side of the meter) creates a very high voltage spike. Even in a "noisy" (in an electrical sense) industrial environment in which such spikes are relatively frequent, their duration is so short — measured in millionths of a second — that when added together, they occupy a minuscule percentage of plant operating time.
Surge protectors are an effective way of protecting your electrical equipment against voltage spikes, but don't buy one to cut energy costs, because it won't.
Myth: Computers, monitors, and other office equipment will use less energy and last longer if they're left running all the time.
Facts. Turning equipment off overnight does not shorten its life, and the small surge of power that occurs when some devices are turned on is much smaller than the energy used by running equipment when it's not needed. In fact, leaving computers and other office equipment on overnight and on weekends wastes significant amounts of energy and also adds to the wear and tear on the equipment.
In general, turn off equipment you are not using or make sure that energy-saving features on networks or individual machines are enabled. Some office equipment, including printers and scanners, features small transformers that use energy even when the equipment is turned off. Plug all such devices into a power strip so that they can be shut down completely with one flick of the switch.
Myth: 120-V lighting is cheaper to operate than 277-V lighting.
Facts. There is very little difference in operating costs between 120-V and 277-V fluorescent lighting, but if anything, 277-V lighting uses slightly less energy. That's because 277-V lighting draws less current, and electronic ballasts, like all electronic equipment, run more efficiently on low current. Ballast catalogs typically show the same power for 120-V and 277-V versions because the difference is less than 0.5 watts (W), but occasionally you'll see a small spread — for example, one company lists a three-lamp, high-efficiency ballast at 83 W in the 120-V version and 82 W in the 277-V version.