5 Energy-Saving Myths and What to Do in Your Building Instead
Energy costs are consistently one of the largest expenses in a commercial building. When taking steps to help bring energy costs down, it’s easy to be fooled by a number of energy myths that have been widely circulated. While they may be given with good intentions, energy-saving myths can end up costing you more and wasting significant amounts of energy. Here are five of the most prominent energy-saving myths you might encounter, together with advice on what to do instead.
1. It’s less expensive to just leave lights on than to turn them off and on as needed.
This is one of the more common energy-saving myths. It probably came about when someone realized that turning lights on consumes a relatively large surge of power. While it is true that lights consume a bit more power on start-up, the cumulative effect of these power surges does not come close to equaling the amount of energy consumed by leaving lights on constantly.
Get in the habit of turning lights off when they’re not in use. In some cases, it may even be a good idea to install timers that will shut lights off after a certain period. Motion-sensor timers can also be efficient choices that shut lights off in a room if they don’t detect anyone moving in that area.
To make lighting even more energy efficient, replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps or other more efficient lighting choice.
2. If electronic devices, appliances, and other equipment are turned off, they aren’t using any energy.
Many of the most commonly used devices in a commercial setting such as computers, cooking equipment, and office equipment will have internal components such as clocks that require energy to maintain settings when the device is turned off. Some may have internal batteries, but others will continue to use energy from your building’s supply. Even small amounts of energy used in this way can add up over time. Multiply this over dozens of devices and the excess energy costs get even worse.
Devices and appliances that consume standby energy should be unplugged to ensure they aren’t wasting power, even when they’re turned off. An even better option is to plug several of these devices into a power strip that can be turned off from a single switch.
3. Leave heating and cooling systems running, even when the building is empty.
Energy-saving myths surrounding your HVAC system often involve when and how often the heating and cooling systems should run. It is sometimes said that it is cheaper to leave HVAC systems running even when the building is unoccupied or closed for the weekend. This may stem from the mistaken idea that it costs more to re-heat or re-cool a building after an extended period. Again, this idea is mistaken. The energy required to warm up a cooled building will not equal the amount of energy wasted to cool that building when no one is there.
4. Saving energy requires a large financial investment.
It is certainly possible to spend a significant amount of money on energy-saving improvements, such as on high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. However, there are some small investments that can pay off extremely well. For example, adding weatherstripping or sealing around doors and windows is inexpensive, but it can eliminate a significant source of energy loss. Increasing insulation in the walls, ceilings, and floors, especially in attic areas, can also be a cost-effective energy strategy.
5. Small energy-saving steps don’t really matter.
Saving energy is often a cumulative process, so even small steps can have a significant effect over time.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on energy-saving myths and how to recognize fact from fiction when it comes to energy, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!