The best way for the window industry’s most power-hungry businesses to manage energy costs is to do two things—first, if you can, put in cost-saving mechanisms before the thermometer starts impacting energy bills and, second, just dig in and bear with the added costs, says one window company owner.

“Energy costs? Not a lot you can do about it,” says ViWinco president David Barnes with a laugh.

That may be true once the extreme cold—such as the kind that has enveloped many regions of the nation this winter—takes up residence in locations where your plants reside. But in fact, companies, including Barnes’s, take action that can help keep costs down. ViWinco, based in Morgantown, Pa., for example, takes 40 percent of its power directly from a 2-megawatt (MW) solar farm that happens to be located right behind its plant. The company has a 20-year contract in place with the solar farm for electricity at below market value. That clearly helps soften the blow of cold air. (With solar, it’s not about the heat; it’s about the light.)

ViWinco also sticks mainly to a daytime shift, so beyond the 40-percent contribution from the solar contract, “Our hands are tied,” Barnes says of the need to keep the plant humming regardless of the cost of kilowatt-hours. “We just have to suck it up because we’re still going to run the business.”

Here’s hoping the cold winter weather is behind us. Perhaps these are tips you can put into place to gear up for the next cold season. In addition to your energy-efficient products think about how your business can be more energy efficient. Share your energy savings tips by emailing or post a comment here.

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