No Cost, Low Cost Tips

No Cost, Low Cost Tips

High Returns, Small Investment

With just a few minutes of work, you can realize a big difference.

DTE Energy makes it easy to power up your efficiency with a toolbox of no cost and low-cost energy ideas. With ideas for every level of your operation, we make it simple to start, monitor and manage your enterprise for energy savings and better overall profitability.


Check Door Seals on Refrigeration Units

Tight seals and properly closing doors prevents warm air from entering the unit, reducing energy required for cooling as well as preventing frost build up. If you can easily slide a dollar bill into the seal, have the seal adjusted.

Cook Wisely

Ovens tend to be more efficient than rotisseries, griddles more than broilers. Examine your cooking methods and menu to find ways to utilize your energy-efficient appliances more frequently.

Clean Refrigeration Cooling Coils

Dirt impairs proper heat transfer and lowers a refrigerator’s efficiency and capacity. As you clean, watch for and remove any accumulation of ice.

Maintain Air-Gap on Refrigeration Units

Maintain an air-gap of at least three inches between the wall and the back of refrigerators, water coolers and freezers.

Cut Equipment Idle Time

Implement a startup/shutdown plan to make sure you are using only the equipment that you need, when you need it.

Shut Refrigeration and Freezer Doors

Keep the cooling unit doors closed as much as you possibly can. Repeated temperature fluctuations not only increase energy costs, it can damage food quality too.

Run Full Dishwashers Only

Use dishwashers only when full to conserve energy, water and detergent.

Improve Walk-In Refrigerators

Add strip curtains and automatic door closers to your walk-in refrigerator. Inexpensive and easy-to-install strip curtains can cut outside air infiltration by about 75 percent.

Install ECMs on Fans

Install electronically commutated motors (ECM) on evaporator and condenser fans to reduce fan energy consumption by approximately two-thirds.

Buy Large Ice Machines

Bigger ice machines are typically more efficient than smaller ones, yet the price difference is usually not very large. Choose well and you could get twice capacity at half the energy cost per pound of ice. Avoid water-cooled ice machines because of their high water-usage costs, which makes them significantly more expensive.


Compressed Air

Install Compressed-Air Shutoffs

Install a simple solenoid valve so equipment can be turned off when it is no longer using compressed air.

Use Lowest Possible Pressure Levels

Adjusting your equipment to operate at the recommended lowest pressure level saves energy and money.



Use Equipment Power Management Features

Place computers (CPU, hard drive, etc.) into a low-power “sleep mode” after a designated period of inactivity. You can also purchase a commercial software power management package to do this automatically.

Install Timers on Coffee Equipment

Add timers to automatically turn off the heating elements on coffee makers and warmers during non-business hours.

Buy Multi-Function Equipment

Selecting equipment that combines several capabilities—such as printing, scanning and copying—can save energy as well as working space in your office.

Select Double-Sided Printing

More energy is used manufacturing and distributing paper than the actual printing at your office. Print on both sides whenever possible to save energy and our natural resources.



Change Filters Regularly

Check heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filters monthly, especially during heavy-use seasons—winter and summer. If the filter looks dirty, change it. At minimum, the filter should be changed every three months. A dirty filter slows down air flow, requiring the system to use more energy to keep the building warm or cool.

Close Unoccupied Areas

During periods of low occupancy, close floors or entire wings to reduce lighting and HVAC system requirements.

Use Shading Devices

Install interior and exterior shading devices—window film, solar screens, awnings, blinds, curtains—on west- and south-facing windows to block heat caused by sunlight in the summer.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are ideal for areas that are unoccupied during set periods of time throughout the week. Stock rooms, warehouses and other spaces have minimal traffic and should be kept cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer.

Control Heating and Cooling

Turn off or reduce the cooling or heating in areas not being used, such as storage and non-public spaces. Make sure heating and cooling units serving a common area are not “fighting” each other by heating and cooling the area at the same time.

Check Thermostats for Accuracy

Use an external thermometer to ensure the accuracy of your thermostat. Thermostats should be installed on an interior wall away from vents or other draft sources for the most reliable readings.

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Use ENERGY STAR®-Certified Products

Compared to standard fixtures, ENERGY STAR®-certified fixtures typically use one-quarter of the energy and distribute light more efficiently. Lighting controls and sensors can reduce your energy use even more.

Utilize Natural Daylight

Natural daylight has been shown to improve indoor environments while reducing energy use and peak demand. Any lighting renovation should start by using daylight as much as possible.

Switch to LED Bulbs

Swapping out incandescent bulbs for ENERGY STAR®-certified light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs not only require less energy, they generate considerably less heat, reducing your cooling needs.

Use LED Signs

Replace old Open/Closed and Exit signs with LED lighting and you’ll save about $10 per sign in electricity every year. LED signs also require significantly less maintenance.

Optimize Restroom Lights and Fans

Add timers on bathroom heat lamps and connect exhaust fans to light switches to reduce excessive operation.

Install Light Dimmers on CFL and LED Bulbs

Daylight dimmers are special sensors that automatically dim room lights based on the natural daylight available. Dimmers are available for both LED bulbs and dimmable compact fluorescent lamp bulbs (CFLs).

Use Occupancy Sensors

Install automatic occupancy sensor room-lighting controls to turn lights on and off in frequently unoccupied areas like restrooms, copy rooms, supply rooms and warehouses.

In addition to saving energy, occupancy sensors help reduce maintenance costs. For instance, turning fluorescent lights off for 12 hours each day can extend their expected calendar life by 75 percent or nearly seven years.