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Is Your Cash Register Leaking $100 Bills?

Chris Ing, First Note Finance, VP Business Development

By Chris Ing VP Business Development

First Note Finance

There’s a joke among energy efficiency professionals that holds: if your cash register was leaking $100-bills, how long would you wait to have it fixed? A rhetorical question, of course, which goes to the heart of what efficiency is and does. It also speaks to the challenges efficiency faces. Most business owners, upon finding that only eighteen $100 bills remained in the cash register after a day’s deposit of twenty, would be quickly focused on a finding a solution. The problem is obvious and there must be an available solution. However, the gains from energy efficiency aren’t readily apparent to a business owner precisely because the losses, from their point of view, are almost invisible. Unlike the leaky cash register, a building’s lighting or HVAC system won’t provide such obvious feedback to the owner. They will to an energy professional, of course!

And yet modest improvements to existing equipment can have immediate results. Abundant research suggests that double-digit percentage reductions in utility bills can be gained from simply adjusting thermostats or making minor tweaks to lighting schedules. Theses are simple, low-cost solutions yielding comparatively large returns.

For the majority of businesses, utilities represent a small percentage of their controllable costs and are therefore overlooked. That’s a mistake. And it’s a mistake too many businesses are making. The savings on the utility bill may not be astronomical, but what you can do with them just might be.

As a small business owner, ask yourself: what you would do with an extra $10 or $15K to devote to your operations this year? Chances are you’d put it toward some mission-critical aspect of your business – and it would yield results many times greater than the initial amount. Think of it another way: if you own a retail clothing store with a profit margin of 3%, how much merchandise do you need to sell to realize $10K in profits? Answer: over $430K!

That is the power of energy efficiency. And its how we all need to be thinking about it. Even modest gains in efficiency can reap results many times larger than the mere reduction in utility bills. Efficiency offers us all the opportunity to leverage these gains into much greater results. So, now that you know - how long will you wait to fix your cash register?

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