Energy efficiency tips
It may not seem like much, but looking at how your business uses energy and finding ways to conserve energy can save you money and reduce air pollution. Below are a variety of ways to conserve energy.
Have your energy utility conduct an energy assessment of your facility. Use the information you receive from the audit to make energy-saving changes. Or review your own facility to identify energy-saving opportunities and take action.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps. They last 10 times longer and use up to 75 percent less energy.
- Replace your 40-watt fluorescent lamps with 34-watt compact fluorescent lamps. They produce just as much light without using as much electricity.
- When fluorescent T-12 lamps burn out, consider retrofitting fixtures with T-8 or T-5 lamps and changing from magnetic ballast to electronic.
- Install occupancy sensors in areas not used often, such as conference rooms, storage spaces and restrooms. They can reduce lighting costs up to 40 percent.
- Install timers or photocells to ensure that interior and exterior lights are turned off at the appropriate time.
- Replace incandescent lights in exit signs with LED fixtures, which can reduce costs by 95 percent.
- Install programmable thermostats to automatically control temperature settings on heating and air conditioning equipment. Adjust the thermostat down in the winter (68 F or colder) and up in the summer (78 F or warmer).
- Weatherize. Check for air leaks around windows, doors and places where plumbing or ductwork penetrates the building. Seal off unused areas to reduce or eliminate heating or cooling in these spaces (e.g., storage rooms, warehouses).
- Install variable speed drives (VSDs) on large motors to reduce energy used.
- Establish a preventive maintenance program for heating, venting and air conditioning:
- Change or clean all air filters, preferably monthly.
- Clean all heat exchanger surfaces, water and refrigerant coils, condensers and evaporators.
- Repair leaks in piping, air ducts, coils and fittings.
- Lower the thermostat on the water heater. A 10 F reduction can save up to 5 percent on water heating costs.
- Install water flow restrictors and aerators, especially in sink faucets. In addition to saving on water-heating cost, these measures can save money by reducing the volume of water used.
- Insulate tanks and pipes to reduce standby heat loss.
- Perform maintenance. Remove scale and deposits (boiler blowdown), measure stack temperature and flue gas composition for combustion efficiency.
- Install timers on electric water heaters. Timers can turn water heaters off at night and on in the morning. This will reduce energy loss during the periods when hot water is not required.
- Making equipment operate more efficiently can reduce energy consumption and reduce emissions.
- Turn off or set office equipment to power down when not in use. Turning off one computer and monitor nightly and on weekends can save up to $80 per year. Setting PCs, monitors and copiers to use sleep mode when not in use can help cut energy costs by up to 50 percent.
- Invest in energy-efficient equipment. When upgrading or adding new equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR symbol, which indicates the equipment meets federal standards for energy efficiency. Energy savings of 50 percent or more is possible.
- Use laptop computers instead of desk-top systems. This can save 80 to 90 percent in electrical costs (according to E-source.)
- Specify ENERGY STAR equipment when purchasing or negotiating a contract for new vending machines. They can save 30 to 50 percent over older equipment.