Did you know that a commercial building wastes about 30 percent of the energy it uses? That is one-third…no small number. Like individual households, there are many fixes that are relatively simple. The key is being consistent in implementing them, and monitoring the situation so there is no sliding back into old habits. Here are just a few tips for businesses to save money on energy costs:
Operations and Maintenance
The first area to look at is operations and maintenance. Conduct an after-hours audit to see if there is anything on in the evening after the building closes for the day that shouldn’t be. Even a few errant lights can be a huge energy drain when left on all day, every day. Make equipment maintenance a top priority; properly servicing equipment is crucial for energy efficiency. Do a thorough visual inspection of ducting, piping, and equipment to check for compressions, tears and other types of damage.
Paying more attention to lighting can be a huge energy saver in a commercial setting. Consider killing the lights when the natural light of the sun is sufficient—this can cut lighting costs up to a whopping 40 percent. Consider installing sensors in areas where people go frequently but are not there all the time, such as the break room—this way the lights will always go off when no one is around. In areas that are over-lit consider removing extraneous light sources. Check out the Illuminating Engineering Society for light standards to see if any areas are over-lit.
Heating and Cooling
Being smart about heating and cooling costs can be a boon to energy savings in larger areas like commercial office buildings. Even the smallest of changes can reduce costs substantially. During times when the building is not occupied, make sure to scale back the thermostat. Change or clean HVAC filters every month during times of peak heating and cooling. Control direct sun with shades or blinds; solar screens or awnings can be very helpful for controlling heat gain. Consider whether you need to replace or upgrade your system. There are places that offer custom HVAC fabrication, such as Kay Heating, an HVAC service in Greensboro NC. Planting trees can also help, and create a more attractive landscape to boot. Inquire with local service companies about maintenance agreements which will help keep you on track with maintaining the system—there are usually some nice discounts that come along with these agreements.
Make sure all computers are set to the power management function which puts the monitor to sleep when it is not being used. When not in use, make sure printers, fax machines and copiers are turned off. Install vending machine misers to cut costs.
Communication and education go a long way. Make sure your employees know how their behaviors affect energy use, and educate them about how better habits will help reduce costs. Institute training so everyone is aware of best practices for saving energy. Education and communication will help keep energy saving top-of-mind and with this greater awareness, people are more likely to regularly engage in habits that contribute to reduced energy use.