It is important to understand ways to conserve energy use and save money whether you own a business or office building. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there is currently close to 33 percent of wasted energy in every commercial building. What many building owners do not realize is that the HVAC system accounts for almost 60 percent of the overall energy costs of a building. With a few strategies in place, you can improve HVAC function and improve aspects of your property to reduce energy waste.
1. HVAC maintenance
Regular HVAC maintenance is important to keep the system running efficiently so as not to waste energy. A poorly running HVAC system can drain energy which will be costly. Schedule regular inspections for your HVAC to remove clogged fibers, dirty ducts, debris, and to replace any parts as needed.
2. Get the appropriate size HVAC system
If you need to get an HVAC system you need to make sure you get the right size for the building you have. An overly big system will be a waste so be sure you have the correct load calculation before getting an HVAC unit. Bigger is not always bigger in this case, and having a properly sized system designed to match the needs of your building will result in the most efficient energy use.
3. Retrofit your HVAC system
If you find that you do not have the right HVAC unit you can try to retrofit the system before replacing it. A retrofit solution can include replacing the compressor or adding condenser fan controls or demand-controlled ventilation. You can also add air-side economizers. Any of these retrofit options can help boost your comfort while also reducing energy use by up to 35 percent. In cases where the retrofit is not an option and you need to change your HVAC system, look at energy ratings when you choose. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) calculates energy efficiency using the seasonal temperature average for the area. Systems today are designed to be more efficient with SEERs as high as 21. Older models have ratings between 5 and 10, and these need to be changed if you want to start saving energy and money.
4. Good insulation
Adding insulation or ensuring your current insulation is in good condition can also help save energy. Insulation is not expensive and it can save up to 10 percent of your energy bill, according to the EPA. For the best results, make sure you look beyond the usual places like windows and walls. Make sure pipes, ducts, and outlets are properly insulated too.
5. Use smart technology
To help reduce energy consumption, plan to use the latest programmable thermostats and controls. This way heat and air are reduced when not needed as is lighting. Having smart building controls ensures comfort when the building is in use and saves energy when it is not.
6. Turn off electronics
In addition to smart controls, make sure employees become accustomed to turning off lights and electronics when not in use. The workforce is responsible for using 50 percent of a building’s energy, so there is value in getting people to turn off lights and equipment when no longer in use. You should also replace any outdated equipment that can be using a lot of power. Newer models are designed with energy efficiency in mind and are worth the initial investment to cut energy use and costs over time.
7. Use LED lighting
A simple way to increase energy savings is by installing LED lighting. The EPA estimates that Energy Star-rated light bulbs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. They also last longer, so provide more savings over time.
8. Do an energy audit
An energy audit is always a wise move to make to reduce energy use. This can identify all the areas where you can improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. If you feel like energy use is too high in your property, reach out to a consultant to get an audit scheduled right away. You can look through your energy bills to evaluate how much you spend and look over maintenance reports and repair records. Inspect all your equipment and HVAC and lighting systems. Use these findings and the energy audit to take the next steps towards making your property energy-efficient today.