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6 Easy Energy Reduction Tips

April 12, 2012

You’ve hired an energy management consulting firm, put an energy management system in place and have implemented a utility tracking system for data analysis.  Now you can sit back and watch the savings roll in, right?  Wrong!

Beyond these very important measures, there are some things that your organization can be doing to reduce energy demand in general.  Here are a few suggestions that should be considered part of an overall energy reduction strategy.

1.   Perform a maintenance review

What good is an energy management plan if there are significant sources of energy loss in your building?  By simply checking and sealing all window openings, making sure that relevant pipework is insulated and that lenses on light fittings are cleaned regularly will go a long way in reducing energy loss.

2.    Perform a heating and cooling review

  • Establish a preventative maintenance program for your heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment and systems. Ensure that you regularly:
  • Change or clean all air filters, preferably every month.
  • Clean all heat exchanger surfaces, water and refrigerant coils, condensers and evaporators.
  • Repair leaks in piping, air ducts, coils, fittings and at the unit(s).
  • Replace defective equipment insulation, ducting and piping.
  • When replacing air conditioning units of five tons or greater, purchase units with a high energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 10.5 or more to reduce operating costs for the life of the unit. Be sure to select the proper sized system based on your building load characteristics and specific occupancy needs.
  • Reviewing base and peak load information will identify patterns of actual use and allow for any anomalies in your system to be rectified. (i.e., air-conditioning coming on unnecessarily at 2 am or in the middle of winter.

3.     Review your temperature controls

  • In winter, set office thermostat offices to 65-68 degrees during the day/business hours and 60-65 degrees during unoccupied times.
  • In summer, set thermostats to 78-80 degrees during the day/business hours, and above 80 degrees during unoccupied hours.
  • Adjust thermostats higher when cooling and lower when heating an occupied building or unoccupied areas within a building (e.g., during weekends and non-working hours).
  • During summer months, adjusting your thermostat setting up one degree typically can save 2%-3% on cooling costs.
  • Consider installing locking devices on thermostats to maintain desired temperature settings.
  • Install programmable thermostats that automatically adjust temperature settings based on the time of day and day of the week.
  1. Check your office equipment
  • To conserve energy and reduce internal heat gain, turn off computers, monitors, printers and copiers during non-business hours.
  • To save energy during periods of inactivity, ensure that the built-in power management system for your office equipment is active.
  • Ensure your screen saver is compatible with the computer’s power management features and that the setup allows the system to go into power saver mode.
  • Studies show that using laptops instead of desk-tops can save 80-90% in electrical costs.
  • When purchasing new office equipment, look for ENERGY STAR. The ENERGY STAR office equipment program promotes energy-efficient computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, scanners, copiers and multi-function devices that automatically power down during extended inactivity. Energy saving of 50% or more is possible.   This same rule goes for vending machines.
  • Install plug load controllers in cubicles to control multiple loads like monitors, task lights and fans. These devises use a motion sensor that is incorporated with a plug load surge suppressor. Inactive equipment can be shut down when the cubicle is unoccupied.
  1. Lighting  review
  • Turn off lights when not needed. It’s a myth that turning lights on and off uses more electricity than leaving the lights on.
  • Reduce or replace inefficient, outdated or excessive lighting within your building. When replacing equipment, evaluate new technologies that may need fewer fixtures and/or fewer lamps within existing fixtures.
  • Where practical, replace incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Ensure you install compatible dimming technology if CFLs are used along with a dimming system.
  • When fluorescent T-12 lamps burn out, consider retrofitting fixtures with T-8 lamps and changing from magnetic ballast to electronic.
  • Replace incandescent “EXIT” signs with LED signs. LEDs use about one-tenth the wattage and last 50 times longer than incandescent-lamp signs.
  • Install lighting occupancy sensors that automatically turn lights on or off, depending on occupancy. These sensors work well in areas such as conference rooms, break rooms or individual offices that are not occupied continuously.
  • Take advantage of natural daylight.  Turn off or dim electric lighting when adequate sunlight is available to illuminate interior space.
  • Ensure outdoor lighting is off during daytime.
  1. Educate employees

             Educate and encourage employees to be energy-conscious and to offer ideas about how energy   can be saved. Employee buy-in and involvement can make or break your company’s efforts to conserve energy.  Consider designating a “responsible party” to promote good energy practices for the organization and/or facility.

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list.  We’d love to hear how you’re reducing energy costs in your building.

Since 1986, UAI has provided energy supply management services that reduce utility costs for multi-site industrial, commercial, and governmental customers.  UAI’s core team of unbiased utility rate analysts and deregulated energy procurement experts manage over $2 billion in annualized energy spend and are focused on lowering the cost of utilities for end-use customers. UAI’s comprehensive energy cost management services include deregulated energy procurement, utility rate analysis, utility bill auditing and overall utility bill processing services that result in reduced energy costs and measurable utility savings. For more information on Utilities Analyses, Inc., visit www.utilitiesanalyses.com

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