The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the average building wastes 30 percent of the energy it uses. Those who don’t update their systems or practices are likely to waste even more. The good news is, you can easily cut down on wasted energy by following these energy saving tips.
1. Get Equipment Updates and Energy Audits
In order to get an accurate measurement of how much energy your building is using, you’ll want to audit the usage for the past year. Collect your monthly utility bills, and inspect all your equipment, including HVAC, lighting and plumbing. Collect records of maintenance, repairs and service. If your equipment is in poor shape, there is almost no doubt that it’s expending extra energy, especially if the system is beginning to break down.
2. Streamline Program Controls and Operational Timing
Many companies don’t realize that they’re heating and cooling their building even when it is not being used. Instead of having to remember to turn down your thermostats and lights every night, get programmable thermostats (if you have a small operation) or facility management / building automation systems (if you have a larger building or complex). These systems will turn down the air conditioning, heat and lights at programmed hours when your building isn’t being used.
Educate your employees and workers about energy consumption. Conduct training sessions about what they can do to save energy, such as shutting off computers and night and reporting plumbing issues like running toilets and leaky faucets. You can even provide incentives to your employees for any changes that reduce energy bills.
4. Improve Insulation
Check or add insulation around your HVAC ducting, pipes and electrical outlets. This will reduce how much air conditioning and heat is lost in a way that doesn’t burden anyone in the building. Ductwork that hasn’t been regularly cleaned or inspected can have compromised insulation. This insulation often has tears and holes where cool air escapes from the air conditioner and warm air escapes from the furnace.
5. Maintain Your HVAC Equipment
Boilers, chillers and cooling equipment all need to be regularly cleaned and maintained in order to work efficiently. The following complications can happen when maintenance falls behind:
- Dust and debris can build up on your air conditioner’s coils, which compromises the heat transfer and makes the system not cool as effectively.
- Steam traps in steam boilers can malfunction if they aren’t inspected regularly. The condensation from constantly releasing steam can cause the boiler to work more than is necessary.
- If your air filters aren’t changed regularly, dust and contaminants will settle in the system, which limits airflow to the furnace and air conditioner. Your system will run longer and work harder in order to keep the building at a comfortable temperature.
By following these tips, you can save energy without sacrificing your comfort or the comfort of those in your building.
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