Go Green and Save Money

Do good for the environment and your bottom line with these energy-saving tips.

Going green? Kathy Kiernan, senior vice president of energy consulting firm APPI Energy, shares some energy-saving tips to help associations and their members reduce business operating costs.

Associations Now: What are some of the biggest energy costs that organizations face?

Kiernan: The big driver depends on the type of organization it is. It could be something as simple as the lights and computers of a business or a nonprofit organization—up to 50 percent of an office or facility's energy costs could come from its lights alone.

When you get into manufacturers or organizations that have any type of equipment, such as healthcare facilities that produce things, you get into actual equipment costs. Another area that consumes a lot of energy, of course, is our heating and air conditioning systems.

What are some easy ways that organizations can start to cut their energy costs?

There are two main ways to cut energy costs. One is to reduce the cost per unit, or reduce what you're actually paying. The second component is to actually use less. We focus on both but have a primary focus on reducing the cost—that's the best place to start.

Why is it best to start at reducing costs rather than consumption?

If you have choice, it's the easiest place to start because it doesn't require any special installation or anything special other than determining what the options are, conducting due diligence on the suppliers, and doing some analysis and some research.

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Energy Smarts."]