Wasted energy in a commercial building can often go unnoticed, but the price of this waste adds up. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average building wastes 30 percent the used energy. Luckily, there are some relatively easy steps you can take to locate areas of improvement and take better control of your energy usage.
Audit Your Energy and Upgrade Your Equipment
In order to determine how much energy your building is wasting, you will need to get an accurate measurement of how much energy you’re using each cycle. Round up your utility bills from the previous years, as well as any receipts for maintenance, service and repairs. You’ll also want to inspect your HVAC equipment, lighting and plumbing to see if anything is in need of repair.
Get Timing Controls and Use Operational Timing
If you’re relying on yourself or others to turn down the thermostat at the end of the day, chances are it doesn’t get done on a regular basis. Naturally, when your building is heated or cooled even when no one is occupying it, all expended energy during this time is wasted. In order to streamline the issue, get programmable thermostats if you have a small operation, and management / building automation systems if you have a larger building or complex. These systems will automatically turn down heating, cooling and lighting when no one is in the building.
Educate Your Employees
Create training sessions designed to teach your employees and residents how to save energy. This can include shutting down computers at the end of the night and reporting any plumbing issues like leaky faucets or running toilets. You can also provide incentives for those who are able to help cut down on energy costs.
Improve the Insulation
Add insulation around the HVAC ducting, pipes and electrical outlets. This will reduce how much air conditioning and heat is lost in a very easy way. With ductwork that hasn’t been cleaned or inspected in a long time, the insulation probably has holes and tears that leak air from the air conditioner and furnace.
Maintain Your HVAC Equipment
Regular maintenance is crucial in order for your HVAC system to work efficiently. If your system isn’t properly maintained, the following issues can arise:
- Dust and debris can build up on the air conditioner coils and limit airflow. The heat transfer can be compromised and it will cause the system to work more than it needs to.
- Steam traps that control condensation in steam boilers can malfunction when they aren’t checked regularly. When they malfunction, they continually release steam, which makes your boiler work overtime.
- When air filters aren’t changed on a regular basis, dust and debris can back up in the system, which can cause it to work harder in order to expend proper heating and cooling.
By following these simple steps, you can watch the energy bill for your commercial building decrease.
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