The more you understand about how your business is using and losing energy, the more you can save. Everyone can pitch in to save energy and raise the bar on your building’s systems.
Low and No-Cost Ideas
Opportunities exist in all buildings for energy efficiency and savings, plus they don't have to cost a lot. No matter their role or position, everyone in your company can pitch in to save energy.
Tackle the energy vampires
When electronic devices are not in use, you can unplug or power them down. Adapters plugged into outlets use energy even when they aren’t actively charging electronics.
An easy way to eliminate these “energy vampires” is to utilize a power strip as a central turn off point to completely disconnect electronics when employees leave the office for an extended period.
Check your thermostat and vents
HVAC units consume nearly 50 percent of a commercial buildings’ energy, especially during the hottest days of summer and coldest days of winter. Help keep employees and customers comfortable and save energy when your building is unoccupied. Check your vents to make sure they are free of obstructions, as it takes 25 percent more energy to pump air into a work space when vents are blocked.
Schedule check ups
You may think you are saving money by servicing your HVAC only when there is a problem. However, you may be costing your business more. The U.S. EPA recommends HVAC checkups every spring and fall. Contractors can optimize efficiency by inspecting and cleaning components.
High bills are often due to energy wasted on lights, equipment and HVAC systems left on for long periods. Office buildings waste up to one-third of the energy they consume. You can educate employees to turn off lights and equipment when not in use, and work with facility managers to make sure systems are operating properly to enhance energy efficiency.
Understand your demand
The price of electricity rises during periods of greatest demand, and it declines during periods when demand is less. You can help control your utility bill by using power when it is less expensive – for example, running machines at off-peak hours.
Contact your LPC today to learn ways you can save by using less during these periods.
Take advantage of natural lighting
Natural lighting reduces dependence on artificial lights and can increase happiness and improve productivity. However, natural lighting can increase HVAC usage on hot summer days. On those days, close blinds to keep cool. When fully closed, highly reflective blinds can decrease heat gain by nearly 50 percent.
Energy Efficiency Investments
You have tackled low and no-cost opportunities and are ready to raise the bar on your building’s systems by retrofitting and upgrading equipment. Below are high-impact upgrades to consider.
There are many ways to optimize your HVAC equipment. Consider occupancy sensors, which turn back the temperature when spaces are empty; economizers, which use outdoor air to cool buildings instead of AC equipment when conditions are right; more efficient exhaust fans, such as mixed flow impeller exhaust fans that are about 25 percent more efficient than traditional centrifugal exhaust fans; and adding a unitary heat pump, which can provide temperature control in smaller spaces that are occupied during off-hours without needing to operate the central system; and converting to a variable air volume system, which will adjust airflow depending on demand.
No matter the upgrade you are considering, our contractors can help you get the job done right. Want to change out gas heating with a more efficient dual fuel heat pump or variable refrigerant flow systems? TVA can help you with incentives.
Many buildings lose money from outdated and over-designed lighting that maintain light levels higher than necessary. Today’s high-efficiency lighting options offer excellent lighting quality and durability at a low cost. Lighting options also offer specific advantages, such as ceramic metal halide lamps with high-quality natural colors for retail displays or LEDs, and that can fit into fluorescent fixtures. For a major renovation, we recommend a comprehensive lighting design to determine which products and controls best fit your needs. You may consider aesthetics, heating and cooling system integration, uniformity of light, available daylight, safety, controls and total cost.
Energy use is a cost of doing business but it can also be an asset to boost profits. Through Strategic Energy Management (SEM), your staff gains the tools and knowledge to identify cost-saving opportunities for the long-term.
An energy control system can switch devices on and off, verify functionality and alert maintenance staff to malfunctions, but more sophisticated technologies can provide electric load leveling, real-time optimization and extensive data reporting. When incorporated into a business’s operations, from the C-Suite to the boiler room, SEM will lead to continuous improvement.
Paying attention to the motors, pumps and air compressors that drive many industrial operations can yield significant savings over time.
We recommend a comprehensive systems approach that considers the entire motor or pump to drive the most value. For compressed air systems – the least-efficient form of industrial energy, the best way to improve efficiency is to find an alternative. Find more information on our recommended approach in this useful guide.