Does your business rent its location, putting control of electricity in the hands of your landlord? Here are some tips to learn ways you can still reduce your energy costs.

Choose the right rate

PG&E offers many rate plans. Make sure you choose the one that’s right for your business. Start by taking a free Energy Savings Tool to receive customized recommendations. Then, call the Business Customer Service Center to get more information about available rates from the Business Service Center at 1-800-468-4743

Make minor investments for major impact


We understand you may not want to make major upgrades until you own a place of your own. Certain small capital investments, however, can benefit your bottom line. It might make sense to approach your landlord to help with some of these energy-saving tips—or similar ideas that apply to your business:


  1. Instead of upgrading your refrigeration units, change the seals. The switch can dramatically reduce air leakage and save you energy.
  2. Change to LED lights. Old halogen, fluorescent and incandescent lighting can increase energy consumption.
  3. Add a variable frequency drive to your pump, fan or booster to better regulate usage.
  4. Evaluate human behavior and change the environment. This could be anything from identifying the employee who cranks the air-conditioner when the manager leaves for lunch to a technician not closing a stash hood in a start-up biotech. Putting a locked cover over your thermostat or adding reminder stickers to close your hood can help you save. To download your usage history and see when spikes in energy occur, visit your online account.
  5. Do you have equipment that you don’t use, like an old computer no one touches? Unplug, unplug, unplug. Even though the computer isn’t on, it’s drawing bits of energy that add up.

Ask your landlord to pay for new equipment

Like so much of your business, this is a return-on-investment calculation. This time you’re soliciting your landlord to get involved. Here are our suggestions:

  1. Figure out how many years you have left in your rented space.
  2. Identify each year’s energy savings with a new piece of energy-efficient equipment.
  3. Estimate the lifetime of the equipment.
  4. Figure out the cost of the piece of equipment.
  5. Review PG&E rebate information to see if the piece of equipment qualifies for a rebate.

Example: You’re going to stay in your place for 5 years and you want a new broiler. The broiler costs $15K, has a 20 year lifetime and you will save $2,400 a year or $12,000 on energy over the next five years. You check the PG&E rebates section and find out that PG&E has a rebate for $2,000 off new broilers. Now you negotiate. You know you’re saving $200 a month. Some options for negotiating with your landlord are:

  1. Explain the long term benefits of the new piece of equipment.
  2. Offer to share your monthly energy savings with your landlord.
  3. Offer to share the cost of the new equipment.