10 Ways For Small Businesses To Beat The Heat Wave

Ten Eco-friendly Alternatives to Cranking Up the AC

It’s been a hot couple of weeks. Not hotter than it’s ever been here in the West Coast, but in the other side of the country, enough for the New York Times to call this latest spell a heat wave.

Fortunately, few people have died due to the summer heat compared to similar disasters in previous years. However, people all over the country have been extremely uncomfortable ever since summer started.

Good thing that preparing for any heat wave is not only easy, it’s great for your bottom-line and the environment too.

Here are a few simple things you do:

10.) Fix weather seals

Make sure your air conditioner’s cooling down your workspace -not your entire neighborhood. A well-sealed work area will keep your air conditioner from overloading and allow you to keep cold air in, and hot air out. Or the opposite, when the weather gets colder.

Caulk - Unhindered by Talent

Air leakage can be a serious problem. You can save up to 30% of your summer energy bill just by fixing or improving your weather seals. Replacing weather-stripping and caulking gaps is fairly simple to do by yourself. For a more professional fix -when appearances matter – have experienced contractors do this for you. The reduction in utility bills should pay for this over time.

Here’s an article on weatherizing for the summer

9.) Install ceiling fans

HVLS Fan in a restaurant - Wikimedia Commons CC

Ceiling fans are way underrated. They consume a small fraction of the power a typical commercial a/c unit requires (meaning lower utility bills!) and allow you to make far better use of whatever climate control appliances you already have. Not only do they help cool you and your employees (and customers!) by themselves, ceiling fans can help better distribute cold air from your airconditioners – ensuring there are fewer  “hot spots” in your workspace. If you’re considering getting more a/c units, consider having a few ceiling fans installed first.

If your workspace is in a temperate zone, consider getting ceiling fans that can turn in opposite directions to help draw cold air up and warm up your space during winter. In tropical and subtropical climates,  much cheaper orbit fans can be considered.

Cooling in large commercial and industrial settings can also be augmented with new high-volume low-speed fans.

8.) Upgrade lights and fixtures

New LED lights not only use much less power than fluorescent (and incandescent, if you still have them) bulbs, they also run much cooler. You might not notice any temperature difference right off the bat, but in a medium size office, the switch is often significant enough to reduce heat perceptibly and give you savings over time.

Reddit Monitor

Another area to look into is computers and other equipment. In one of my previous jobs, we oversaw a transition from CRT monitors to the power saving flat screens that are so ubiquitous today. I can’t recall the numbers exactly, but around 500 monitors and a few servers were replaced. Over a year, those purchases paid for themselves. We were able to save thousands of dollars not only because the new equipment was using much less power, but also because we could run the a/cs less frequently.

Speaking of air conditioners, a good rule of thumb is anything over 10 years old needs to be replaced.  Appliances from a decade ago are huge power hogs compared to more recent models. This also holds true for almost everything, but items you should consider replacing include refrigerators, television sets, and monitors.

7.) Make drinking water freely available

Dehydration can play havoc with anyone’s ability to work. It’s not just that nagging feeling that you need a drink that does it either- dehydration has a direct effect on your ability to concentrate.

Water Bottle - drewgstephens

While you probably already have easy access to water, make sure that your entire workspace or office has ready access. No one should have to go to a whole different floor or area to get water. A glass of water also cools you down, making the heat less likely to affect your performance.

6.) Relax dress codes

Aloha Shirt - Sam Howzit

This doesn’t mean that you should allow your employees to dress like slobs. Outside impressions are formed based on how you and your employees dress.  However, you should be willing to make concessions for your employees’ comfort to and from offices and work sites. For instance, if employees are normally required to wear trousers outside, perhaps allow them to wear short-sleeved shirts or shorts for these few months of summer.

5.) Clean A/C filters

AC- Filters - tanakawho

You should be doing this regularly anyway. Cleaning or replacing a/c filters will reduce the strain on your air conditioner, allowing it to run better, and cut down on incidences of airborne illnesses. When a/c filters get dirty- they get really dirty. Cleaning or replacing filters will help you save money not just by allowing your airconditioners to run better, but by preventing employees from getting sick as well.

4.) Upgrade insulation

This might be a pretty pricey upgrade in a workspace that you’re already using, but it will always be worth it. Not only can you ease up on the a/c, but you can save up on heating bills during winter as well. Replacing insulation can be a much more involved process than replacing weather seals, so it’s normally much easier to just let a contractor handle this. If you need to do this yourself, be sure to have all the right safety gear. Some old insulating materials can be hazardous, if not downright lethal when handled improperly.

3.) Tint and shade windows

A decent window tint will not only cut down on direct solar radiation that makes its way inside your workspaces and offices – they can also offer you a measure of privacy – which many of you might find important. Shades and curtains can also do the same thing at the cost of visibility. Less direct solar radiation making way into your workspace means less heat.

But these days it makes more and more sense to:

2.) Go solar!

Solar Panels - Wayne National Forest

What better way to reduce or even totally eliminate your dependence on the power grid than with solar panels? Admittedly there are still a few problems with scaling solar energy in some cases, even as solar energy technology continues to improve. However, its problems with high initial costs and energy storage are mostly surmounted, and it’s an increasingly attractive option for small businesses to reduce their ecological impact – and keep their a/c running.

A few states also currently give subsidies and other incentives for businesses to run at least partly on solar energy, which makes this option even more appealing.

Here’s an idea of what businesses will go through if they decide to purchase a solar power system

1.) Plant trees!


If you’re faced with choosing two business locations that are otherwise equal, always choose the one with more trees. Strategically-placed trees will cut down on solar glare, provide shade, cut down on air pollution. This means less overloaded air conditioners and filters that don’t get gunked up as fast. Trees will also increase humidity through transpiration.

The water released from a single large tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room-sized air conditioners operating 24 hours a day, making trees even more appealing in dry climates. Plus, they just make everything look so much better.

Beating the summer heat is more than just short-term survival. It can be a way for your business a much more efficient machine.

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Sources and Additional Reading

energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver – Energy.gov

Energy saving tips for business – Powerdirect.au

Heat to Roil More Fire Weather in West Coast – Accuweather.com

Benefits of Solar Power For Business – Small Business Chronicle



Image Credits

Unhindered by Talent via photopin cc

drewgstephens via photopin cc

Sam Howzit via photopin cc

Wayne National Forest via photopin cc

Other images from Wikimedia Commons and Reddit.com

Disclaimer: PrintRunner is not affiliated or otherwise connected with companies mentioned in this post. Any opinions presented are solely their author’s and do not necessarily reflect PrintRunner’s.

Author Bio

profileArthur Piccio is one of PrintRunner Blog’s resident Admins. He is also the head writer for The Art of Small Business. His work has been featured on New York Times’ You’re The Boss Small Business Blog, Bizsugar, SmallBiz Trends, and other small business and printing-oriented online publications.


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About the Author

PrintRunner offers online printing service based in Van Nuys, California. They specialize in supplying discerning clients with superior print stickers, business cards, posters, postcards, and other products at affordable rates. Get a FREE copy of their sample kit now and see for yourself.

2 Comments on "10 Ways For Small Businesses To Beat The Heat Wave"

  1. Hi Art,
    Great tips. It might be added that failure to deal with this issue may cause decreases in worker productivity, not to mention the fact that planning ahead will help you save money by choosing the most cost effective solutions.

  2. roller banners | September 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm |

    Good post specially the dress code relaxed.

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