How to Reduce Wasted Energy in Commercial Buildings
A major part of managing and maintaining a commercial building is implementing a process to trim energy usage and cut down energy waste. Heating, cooling, water heating, lighting and other related energy-consuming factors all make up a major portion of any building’s budget. However, even small changes in energy use and conservation can result in significant energy and money savings for building owners and managers.
Here are some reliable ways to reduce wasted energy in commercial buildings:
Retrocommission the building: Retrocommissioning is a process designed to reevaluate building energy demands and return the structure to its highest level of energy efficiency. Aging buildings require maintenance to keep them in the best possible condition, and retrocommissioning will allow you to find out where changes should be made to ensure the structure is as energy efficient as possible.
Replace low-efficiency HVAC equipment with high-efficiency models: Wherever possible, replace older HVAC equipment with newer models designed to run at higher levels of efficiency. High-efficiency heating, cooling and ventilation equipment are specifically designed to reduce wasted energy in commercial buildings. By installing high-efficiency HVAC equipment, such as heat pumps, air conditioners, boilers, chillers, or energy-recovery ventilators, you’ll be able to slash ongoing monthly operating costs by a substantial percent. Most high-efficiency HVAC systems will save you enough money each month to pay off the upgraded equipment within a few years.
Improve the building’s seal: Energy leaks can be a significant source of money loss. By improving your building’s seal to make it more airtight and to reduce air leaks and other sources of energy loss, you’ll be able to enjoy a more energy efficient space. Look for areas that may hide cracks, holes, gaps, or other openings that could let conditioned air escape. Then, caulk or seal these areas. You should also increase insulation in your building’s walls, floors, basements and ceilings. A contractor can ensure doors and windows close tightly and that the frames and casings are sealed well.
Use energy-saving technologies: Recent technological advances present one of the best ways to reduce wasted energy in commercial buildings. For example, you can install programmable thermostats that give you a high level of control over the operation of your building’s HVAC systems. Other tricks include adding energy-saving windows with features, such as low-e glass and replacing existing lighting fixtures with newer and more energy efficient models that use LED lights, compact fluorescent lamps, or other energy-saving bulbs instead of traditional incandescent bulbs.
Don’t neglect natural solutions: Remember that natural forces, such as sunlight and wind, can have an immediate effect on the temperature inside your building. You can add shades or light-blocking materials to prevent sunshine from getting in when it’s hot outside and use natural ventilation to keep your building at a comfortable temperature.
Implement sustainable, renewable energy solutions: Installing renewable energy systems will let you produce some of your own energy, while cutting down reliance on the local electrical grid. A solar power system can take advantage of abundant sunshine to produce electricity and hot water, while a heat pump, particularly a geothermal model, can reduce the amount of fuel needed for heating the air and water supply.
Establish and enforce a building-wide energy use plan: Develop guidelines for building occupants for reducing energy usage and cutting energy waste. This can include simple and easy-to-do procedures, such as shutting off lights when they’re not in use, using power strips, unplugging energy-consuming devices when they aren’t needed and adjusting thermostats to more seasonally appropriate temperatures.
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