How much energy does your commercial property use? If yours is like most in Toronto, it’s a lot! It’s for this reason that CivicAction has created an entire award for those commercial businesses that can reduce the amount of energy they use by 10 per cent in four years.

Many business owners had never heard about the possibilities of being rewarded for going green until the first awards were handed out recently at the 2012 Race to Reduce awards ceremony. Even though there are only three different categories, this year’s ceremony included 60 different winners. Building performance, action and innovation, along with categories divided up into differently sized buildings, are all just some of the awards that your business can receive if you significantly reduce the amount of energy you’re reducing.

Want to sign up to reduce your energy, and possibly be awarded for it? Just visit and then start following these tips to bring your energy consumption way down:

  • Make sure that your energy management system is working and functioning in proper order. This may sound like an irrelevant tip, but one company was known to save $3,700 annually just by changing their software to “Or” instead of “And.”
  • Don’t turn the lights on in the entire building just so custodial staff can clean it. Have them go floor by floor as a team and turn the lights off when they’re done; or install occupancy sensors that will turn the lights on when someone’s there, and turn them off when they’re not.
  • Offer incentives to clients for being energy-conscious. Whether it’s a discounted rental rate for a month or that parking spot they’ve always been eyeing, give a little something to the tenant that reduces their energy the most.
  • Switch your Exit sign lights to LED. They’ll still run for 24 hours, but they will cost you less, and help you reduce your energy.
  • Review your operating hours. Ask around to tenants and ask when their business is open, and at what times of the day they’re inside their building. This may allow you an opportunity to see where and when you can cut your own operating hours – and expenses.
  • Tell everyone! In addition to your tenants, let your staff know through a company newsletter or email, so they can help you reduce your energy costs.

Reducing your energy won’t just get you an award from a well-respected organization. It will be better for the environment and in the end, could save you a great deal of money!

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