Commercial Energy-Saving Tips
Is your building costing you too much money? Below are a few simple tips to save on your electric, and bills, while giving the environment a breather.
Aluminum Thermal Breaks on Aluminum Windows
To improve the insulating characteristics of aluminum frame windows, make sure that your windows contain thermal breaks. A thermal break is the insulating section placed in-between the aluminum sections of the frames. The thermal break increases thermal conductivity, enhancing efficiency.
Lighting and Air Conditioning
Artificial lighting and air conditioning are the two biggest consumers of electrical energy in commercial buildings. Artificial lighting increases the heat load imposed on the air conditioning system from lamps and ballasts. Use florescent lamps and CFLs along with a carefully designed lighting layout to minimize your lighting’s heat load.
Control HVAC and Lighting Energy
When designing new facilities or renovations, consider strategies that monitor and control air conditioning equipment and lighting to minimize energy costs. Incorporate overhangs to shade windows and glass surfaces, and use glazing material for exposed window surfaces. Selecting the correct materials for the walls and roof and using natural ventilation and landscaping are other strategies for monitoring and controlling the impact on your HVAC equipment.
Install Low-E Windows
Incorporating low-E glazing to your windows will improve the energy efficiency and reduce the load of your facility year-round. During the cooling season, the glazing works as a barrier to the incoming infrared radiation. During the heating season, long-wave infrared radiation from objects within the facility is reflected back into the conditioned space, thus lowering heat loss through the glass.
Insulate Brick Walls
Don’t worry if you have un-insulated brick walls. This is very common, particularly in buildings constructed prior to 1960. There are a few ways to use insulation to solve this problem: fur the interior surface, insulate the cavity, or insulate the exterior. Furring the inside surface is the least invasive and least expensive approach. It also provides a completed wall surface. Generally, this method entails framing the interior with studs or runners, placing insulation between the runners, and finishing the surface of the wall.
Consider Window Treatments
Reducing energy consumption by insulating vertical or horizontal blinds and/or draperies is an easy step towards energy efficiency. They can reduce the heat loss and solar gain that come from your windows.
Check Your Window to Wall Ratio
If the walls of a building are more than 25% glass, then you should consider the amount of load you are creating for your building. More glass means more opportunity for a higher solar heat gain. Solar film is a great way to mitigate this problem.
Trees are a constant source of shade for low, south-, east- or west-facing windows. They also control the glare from nearby facilities, shade parking lots, reduce the temperature of the sidewalks and roads, and lower the temperature around your facility.
Turn off unused electronics One of the best ways to become more energy efficient is to be smart about your office equipment. Enabling computers to automatically turn off after a period of inactivity, and turning off a typical personal computer when it’s not being used saves about $75 per year in electricity per computer.
Laptops vs. Desktops
Laptops consume only 10% of the energy of a desktop.Sharing advanced ink jet or dot-matrix printers Purchase a single printer for an entire department instead of providing a printer per individual. If you need a printer for a specific work station, impact and ink jet printers use between 70 to 90% less energy than laser printers.
Keep your lights free of dust Keep your lighting fixtures and bulbs performing at their manufactured performance levels by simply cleaning them on a frequent basis.
Inspect refrigerator and freezer doors Air leakage forces the cooler to run longer to maintain appropriate temperatures. Also, make sure gaskets are not worn out and that the cooler doors are aligned correctly.
Check your HVAC/R equipment
Regularly scheduled maintenance of your HVAC/R systems ensures that your highest energy consumer is running at optimal efficiency.
Check your HVAC economizer
An economizer is a damper vent in your air conditioning system that draws in cool outside air and reduces the need for mechanically cooled air. If the economizer is not properly maintained, the linkage on the damper can falter. Make sure that a licensed technician inspects, cleans, and lubricates your economizer’s linkage annually.
Change your filters
Check the manufacturer’s specifications on your filters, and change regularly. Filters generally need to be changed or cleaned at one to three month intervals depending on the type of filter.
Check cabinet panels
If air is leaking out of your panels, it could cost you $100 per rooftop unit per year in wasted energy.
Clean condenser coils
Condenser coils collect trash, dust and other particulates. Make sure you check every three to four months.
Check for proper airflow in your ducts
Proper airflow through your duct system is important because inadequate air means that your air conditioning system has to work harder to provide the right amount of conditioned air in a room. Have a technician inspect your system if you do not feel a significant amount of air coming through your return.
To maximize your equipment and systems, consider having your building commissioned. During commissioning, engineers inspect and monitor your equipment and facility to ensure that your systems are operating properly. Take advantage of this service to get the most savings and ensure small problems don’t become bigger over time.
Kitchen Suggestions (if applicable)
Cooking equipment, coolers, and dishwashers require a lot of energy to run. In some instances, high-efficiency cooking equipment can save you between approximately 15 and 30%.
Install variable-speed vent hoods
If you have a kitchen, consider a variable-speed hood controller system. These units save you energy by automatically determining how much ventilation is needed from the exhaust fan.
Change incandescent lights to compact fluorescents
Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) provides you with bulbs that last longer and use approximately 75% less energy.
T8’s are better than T12’s
You can save approximately 35% of your lighting bill if you switch from T12 lamps to T8 lamps. You could save even more if you include reflectors, new lenses and special sensors in your installation.
Install LEDs in your signs
LEDs are commonly found in street and exit signs. We suggest that you replace your incandescent signs with LEDs that usually draw only 5 watts of power. You also will not have to worry about replacing bulbs because they usually last 5-10 years.