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ENERGY CONSERVATION

Saving energy is more than a sign of personal virtue. For owners of small businesses, it can add to the bottom line.

CASE IN POINT

In May, 2000, the electricity bill at CCS/PR, a Carlsbad (Calif.) communications firm, was $200. In May this year, the 25-person outfit paid $500. And this summer, costs could soar to $1,500. So CCS has moved to cut its energy usage by 25%. Desk fans and low-power lamps have replaced central air and overhead lights. "Between the blackouts and the bills, it's easy to get into trouble," says business manager Joanie Hoffman. "Conservation makes good economic sense."

RESOURCES

Most power companies offer free on-site assessments of your energy needs, which can help you improve efficiency. For conservation tips online, see www.consumerenergycenter.org and www.energyguide.com. E-mail questions to the Energy Dept. at www.eren.doe.gov. From the bookshelf: 547 Ways To Be Fuel Smart, by Roger Albright (Storey Books; 2000, $7.15), is full of advice. Plant Engineers' and Managers' Guide to Energy Conservation, by Albert Thumann (Fairmont Press; 1998, $95) has ideas for manufacturers. By Joan Raymond


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