Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a method applied to compare the cost of a project or appliance with its benefits. Small businesses need to save where they can and one place where companies may be able to lower what they spend is on their energy bills, according to Constellation, which provides solutions for homes and businesses.
By carrying out a cost benefit analysis on commercial appliances and features, businesses can have a greater understanding of their energy consumption, the effectiveness of energy saving efforts, and where further valuable savings can be made.
ENERGY STAR® provides interactive calculators designed to help small businesses estimate energy and cost savings for energy-efficient products.
Take a look at the following three essential calculators that can help you do a cost benefit analysis for reducing energy on several common commercial appliances.
Energy Cost Savings Calculator for Air-Cooled Electric Chillers
In a typical commercial building, chillers can be one of the biggest consumers of electricity. The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has calculated that a 175-ton, air-cooled chiller meeting the mandated 10.05 energy efficiency ratio saves money if it costs no more than $5,690 above less efficient models.
ENERGY STAR® provides a cost calculator that small businesses can use as a screening tool, which estimates an air-cooled electric chiller’s lifetime energy cost savings at various efficiency levels.
This cost benefit analysis calculator for reducing energy of air-cooled electric chillers uses an energy efficiency ratio (EER). The EER is the ratio of net cooling capacity to the total input rate of electric power applied in watts.
The efficiencies expressed as an EER are converted into kilowatts per ton using the formula: kWton = 12/EER.
ENERGY STAR’s cost benefit analysis calculator for reducing energy of air-cooled electric chillers only provides data about the relative difference between two equivalent products, all other factors being equal.
When using this calculator, a small business must enter whether the project is a new installation or a replacement. The performance factors must also be entered, including whether the new design will be handling a full or partial load.
The calculator user must also enter the new chiller’s cooling capacity in tons, as well as what the full-load efficiency is of the new chiller in EER. The partial-load efficiency of the new chiller must also be entered in EER.
The cost factors must also be punched into the calculator, including the current cost of energy per kilowatt hour. The user also needs to enter the annual hours of operation in equivalent full-load hours.
When the data has been entered the calculator will determine the energy cost savings of the appliance.
Energy Cost Calculator for Compact Fluorescent Lamps
Lighting is an unavoidable energy cost for small businesses. By using an energy saving calculator, small businesses can see how much they could save in money and harmful emissions by switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs.
ENERGY STAR’s calculator for compact fluorescent lamps determines the payback period for your small business’s investment in more energy-efficient bulbs.
Small businesses must enter their existing incandescent lamp wattage, the costs of incandescent lamps in dollars and the incandescent lamp life in hours. You’ll also need to enter the projected wattage for your replacement lighting along with the expected cost of using them and their projected life (6,000 hours for moderate use and 10,000 hours for high use).
Further information required by the energy cost calculator for compact fluorescent lamps includes the number of lamps in the retrofit project, the hours operating per week, the average cost of electricity, the relamper labor costs, the time taken to retrofit all the lamps in the project and the time taken to relamp one lamp.
The calculator enables small businesses to figure the simple payback period for a lamp replacement project, as well as the simple payback period of spot relamping.
Savings Calculator for ENERGY STAR®-Qualified Office Equipment
The savings calculator for ENERGY STAR®-qualified office equipment was developed by the U.S. EPA and Department of Energy in order to estimate the energy consumption and operating costs of office equipment and the savings businesses can make with ENERGY STAR®.
The calculator compares new ENERGY STAR®-qualified products to the average available non-qualified new products. The average savings may vary depending on the use of office equipment and other factors.
Users of the calculator need to type in where their equipment will be used, including whether it is for commercial or residential use, the location, and the electric rate. The average commercial electric rate in the U.S. is $0.128/kWh, but if you know your own rate, you should enter it on the calculator.
Users of the calculator must enter what office equipment they are planning to purchase, as well as the quantities of the equipment. Performance levels of the devices should be stated, as well as the number of units turned off at night and the number of units with sleep settings and low power enabled. The additional cost per unit for ENERGY STAR®-qualified models must also be entered onto the calculator.
The energy efficiency of printers, VoIP Phone equipment, signage and multifunction devices can also be determined using the savings calculator for ENERGY STAR®-qualified office equipment.
The calculator then provides a results overview, informing small businesses of the approximate savings they will see each year and over the life of the equipment. The calculator also informs users of the carbon dioxide emissions reduction annually by choosing ENERGY STAR® equipment.
To learn more about cost saving energy options for your small business, contact Constellation today.
Calculating Photo via Shutterstock
Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a professional freelance writer and journalist based in the United Kingdom. Since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read Gabrielle’s blog here.