The Heat Is On



A review of your HVAC system may show you how to improve your bottom line by saving on the cost of energy.

Because lighting, heating and cooling represent 19%-25% of the cost of operating a commercial business, control of energy costs is essential to improving profit margins. A reduction of even 10% in these costs can produce a significant improvement. But, because Canada is located in a part of the world where temperatures can range from 40C below zero to 35C above, it is inevitably expensive to keep internal temperatures at levels needed to maintain comfortable working conditions through the changing seasons.

Heating and Air Conditioning

The best means of controlling the temperature in the working environment is to install commercial programmable thermostats set to the workplace schedule. Thermostats can maintain comfortable temperatures during working hours, then be turned down or even off during nights, weekends, or holidays, when the workplace is not being used. Managing temperatures in this way can contribute significantly to the bottom line.

Smart thermostats have auto sensors that recognize when people enter or leave the work area. Once everyone has left for the day, the system automatically reverts to a lower setting to conserve energy; when the first worker arrives in the morning, the system will start up and return to the regular programmed schedule. When employees are absent for longer periods such as holiday weekends, the automatic system can be shut off completely. To prevent employees from tinkering with the temperature settings, smart thermostats incorporate a security code that must be entered before the temperature or other settings can be changed.

Most work locations have one central heating/cooling system that is fairly easy to manage. If, however, your building(s) have different areas that require self-contained heating/cooling systems, or if your business operates at more than one location, wireless smart systems enable remote control of individual thermostats through an app you can load onto your computer or smart phone.

Some systems record the history of heating/cooling adjustments. This data can be used to identify times and places of peak energy use, which, in turn, may identify the need to upgrade windows, doors or insulation.

If you install a smart system, have an HVAC technician make sure the new thermostats will communicate with the existing HVAC system.

Upgrade to multi-glazed windows with low-emissivity coatings.


Workplace windows should have at least two layers of glass with an inert gas (e.g., argon) sandwiched between the layers. Normal double-glazed windows have an R-value (i.e., the ability of material to resist the transfer of heat) of 2.0; triple-glazed windows provide an R-value of 6.0. These windows should have insulated edge spacers to reduce condensation, insulated frames, and low emissivity coatings that reduce heat loss from within and allow solar energy to enter. Multi-glazed windows not only prevent heat from escaping, they also prevent the entry of unwanted heat from the summer sun. Because of their thickness, multi-glazed windows reduce the effect of road noise and are harder to break than single-pane windows.

Maximize the return on your window investment by understanding the benchmark ratings established by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). For instance, air tightness is measured from A1 to A3, water tightness rated from B1-B7, and wind load resistance from C1 to C5. The higher the number within each measurement category, the better the window.

Light-Blocking Curtains

To supplement new high-R and CSA-rated windows, you may be well advised to invest in curtains and blinds especially if your building has extreme window exposure to sun and cold winds. Curtains minimize the intrusion of heat from the sun and take pressure off the cooling system. During cold winter days, the curtains can be opened to allow the sun’s energy to augment the heating system or closed to retain the heat on cloudy days.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Controlling the heating and cooling of your premises with smart thermostats and retrofitting of windows and window coverings are excellent ways of reducing the high cost of energy use while reducing your carbon footprint.

Most provinces have programs that help small businesses conserve energy and therefore reduce operating costs. Check with your provincial energy agency to save energy through appliance and equipment upgrades, building enhancements and by educating your employees about the need for proper maintenance and more efficient use of existing equipment or lighting.



The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not take into account your personal situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from accounting and financial professionals. Allan Madan and Madan Chartered Accountant will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.


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