Simple DIY Updates for your Small Business That Equal Big Savings

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Going green in the workplace doesn't have to automatically mean you need to spend a lot of green to make it happen.

Indeed, when you have a startup or a small business to run, just making payroll can be a challenge; basically, there are no budgetary excesses for addressing energy efficiency initiatives at the end of the month.

Fortunately, many energy-efficient changes can be had with little more than initiative and a weekend devoted to making a change. And when you consider all of the office's wasted energy and how it equals extra-large energy bills, you realize that you can't afford not to do something about it!

Here are a few DIY updates that you can tackle to help tighten up your small business' energy consumption.

Stifle that Stiff Breeze

One of the most effective ways to increase your small business' energy efficiency is to lock out leaks around doors and windows.

Fortunately, there are several options that require little DIY experience and minimal financial investment.


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Although there are numerous types of weather stripping, the material that is the most DIY-friendly and easiest to use is rubber foam with self-stick adhesive tape. Apply this around all door jambs and casement windows to minimize the interaction of the outside air with the inside when the doors and windows are closed.

Most self-adhesive rubber foam tapes come in rolls that you can cut to fit whatever length you need.

1. Simply measure out portions of the tape in the appropriate length and cut accordingly.

2. Remove any existing strips and clean the area of dirt, debris or residual glue.

3. Peel back the protective backing covering the tacky side of the self-stick tape and firmly press the tape into place on the door or window.

Caulking Continue with your leak prevention by applying fresh caulking around all windows and doors where the casement meets the drywall.

1. Remove all existing caulking and clean the area of debris and remnants.

2. Apply a thin bead of caulking around all joints and in all gaps.

3. Use a wet finger or a towel tied tightly around an index finger to smooth the line of caulking into the cracks.

*Tip: For the easiest removal, clean up all errant caulk or smears while it is still wet.

Door and Window Treatments Once you have the casing leaks covered, finish the job by installing attractive fabric treatments over your windows and doors with glass panes.

Indeed, dressing up doors and windows doesn't only serve a decorative function; by incorporating a layer of fabric in the form of curtains or drapes, you add even more insulation to the entry and exit points of the building which can aid in keeping more of your hard-earned business income inside where it belongs.

Clear Window Film

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When you work inside all day, you can greatly improve your overall mood and ease that "got to get outside" ache ever so slightly by maximizing and featuring natural light whenever possible.

For many small businesses, especially those that rent their office space, creating more natural lighting through knocking out walls and installing windows is an impossibility so the last thing you want to do is cover up your windows with heavy drapes just to create more insulation.

The simple solution: clear window film. Not only does this multi-purpose little product's heat-controlling design help maintain consistent internal temperatures (and thereby reduce costs associated with cooling) by reflecting up to 60% of the sun's heat, but it also blocks up to 99% of the harmful UV rays that can damage flooring and fade furnishings.

In the office environment, clear window film is ideal because it reduces the bothersome glare that is so annoying when you're trying to work on your computer without obscuring your view to the outside world.

Finally, it is cost-effective, DIY-friendly and completely customizable for windows of different shapes and sizes. You can select a simple clear film, one with a tint or even decorative films that create the illusion of etched glass or other glass designs.

What are your simple DIY suggestions for straightening out various small business energy efficiency issues?

Chris Long is a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago suburbs. Chris has been assisting customers on DIY door projects since 2000. He also writes on doors and windows for the Home Depot website.

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