1. Have an energy audit done to identify the most critical energy improvements to make.  (Only $100 for small businesses and 50/50 cost share for larger businesses through NYSERDA programs.)
  2. Develop an energy management program, and create a recordkeeping system for tracking all of your energy use (utility bills, fuel consumption) or use the Green Energy Compass or Portfolio Manager.  You can’t manage what you don’t measure!


  1. Change at least 75% of all lighting fixtures to high efficiency fluorescents, CFL or LED bulbs.
  2. Reduce overlighting1 by installing multiple switches to allow partial overhead lighting or by using task lighting to allow turning off overhead lighting (this can save even more than switching to CFLs).
  3. Install vacancy sensors to turn off lights and office equipment after people leave a space.
  4. Implement the Energy$mart Office Program to reduce electric consumption.
  5. Adopt company policy of power management by programming all office equipment to go into sleep or standby mode.
  6. Eliminate phantom load by installing power strips in easily accessed locations to completely turn off all office equipment.
  7. Turn off lights and electrical equipment when not in use.
  8. Replace old air conditioners, refrigerators, or kitchen equipment with most efficient of Energy Star models.
  9. Adopt company policy to replace office equipment with most efficient Energy Star models.
  10. Buy electricity from renewable sources (hydropower, wind, biomass) through the NYS Green Power Program.
  11. Replace motors with premium efficiency models if over 1 HP in size and operating for more than 4 hours/day.
  12. Install variable speed drives for large heating system pumps or other large motors which do not need to run at full speed at all times (be sure to access Flex Tech incentives offered by NYS).
  13. Install a solar or wind power system to power your business.  Find a local contractor here.


  1. Turn down thermostat on water heater to 120 degrees or lower, and insulate heater and pipes.
  2. Install high efficiency faucet aerators and showerheads, and dual flush toilets.
  3. Replace water heater with high efficiency or tankless models.
  4. Install a solar hot water system. Find a local contractor here.


  1. Install programmable thermostat and set for 68 degrees or less while business is open, and 58 degrees or less when closed.  When using air conditioning, set thermostat at 76 degrees or higher during office hours.
  2. Keep doors and windows closed while heating or cooling building.
  3. Seal all air leaks around windows, doors, and ductwork.  Find local contractors here.
  4. Insulate ducts and pipes.  Find local contractors here.
  5. Insulate ceilings and exterior walls.  Find local contractors here.
  6. Upgrade to a more efficient furnace or boiler or air conditioning system, and specify variable speed motors where available.
  7. Plant trees or install awnings to create exterior shade and reduce solar heat loading on building.
  8. Install room-darkening shades or curtains to reduce solar heat loading on warm days.
  9. Convert to to geothermal, biomass, or solar thermal heating systems.


  1. Adopt a green fleet policy and convert to hybrids, high efficiency vehicles, and biofuels.
  2. Adopt an incentive program to reward employees who walk, bike, carpool, or take public transit to work.
  3. Provide preferred parking for carpool vehicles and hybrid or other low-emission vehicles.
  4. Install bike racks for employees and customers.
  5. Install shower for employees commuting by bike.
  6. Allow telecommuting by employees at least 1 day a week.
  7. Maintain company vehicles for highest fuel efficiency performance.
  8. Reduce air travel for conferences or business purposes by at least 25%.
  9. Offset carbon emission for unavoidable travel through Finger Lakes Climate Fund.
    (36 steps)

Overlighting: The easiest way to evaluate this is to calculate the watts per square foot for each space.  Remove lamps or light fixtures so that spaces meet the Illuminating Engineering Society recommendations, which typically can be done with:

    1. 0.4 watts/SF for corridors and stairwells (10 footcandles)
    2. 0.8 watts/SF for offices (30 footcandles)

This is typically the biggest energy saver in lighting energy audits, delivering even higher savings than going to energy-efficient lighting (which we obviously also recommend).