If you’ve never considered how much energy is consumed by commercial buildings in this country, you should be aware that approximately 40% of all energy consumed in the U.S. is attributable to commercial buildings.
That amounts to well over $400 billion worth of energy, and those costs rise steadily every single year. The reason for this growth in energy consumption stems from increased demand for office space.
Not to mention the number of devices that demand energy in order to be useful to their owners. Heating and cooling are also huge consumers of energy in commercial buildings, as is lighting.
Here are several approaches you can adopt that will contribute to an overall reduction of energy usage in your commercial building.
- Establish a baseline
- Consider utilizing a smart building
- Make use of cost-cutting techniques
- Sun-proof your building
- Install efficient equipment
- Use sophisticated analytics
- Optimize your HVAC systems
- Estimate your return on investment (ROI)
Establish a baseline
The first step commercial building owners should take in their energy-saving efforts is to establish a baseline for energy consumption.
By measuring your current energy usage, you will be able to identify which measures are proving to be effective and which ones are producing the greatest energy-saving results.
If you don’t know how much energy you’re actually consuming, you’ll never be able to recognize when you’re making actual improvements in your energy consumption profile.
Consider utilizing a smart building
Smart buildings are those which have completely automated controls in place for the management of energy and other systems. A network of sensors and controls is established throughout the building so as to avoid any waste of energy and increase cost savings.
Part of this initiative involves collecting a great deal of information on how systems are functioning within your building and where any efficiencies might be gained.
It is also helpful to have a central command area established so that settings can be changed automatically to accommodate conditions, thus reducing energy consumption and saving on energy costs.
Recommended Read How Building Automation Systems Are Saving Businesses Money
Make use of cost-cutting techniques
There are all kinds of low-cost techniques that will eventually result in significant energy savings.
Some examples of these are turning off office equipment when it’s not being used, performing regular maintenance on HVAC systems, and periodic cleaning of all vents and coils on the heating and cooling systems.
If everyone in the building is alerted to these energy-saving techniques and carries them out routinely, there will undoubtedly be a significant cost reduction on the monthly energy bill for your commercial building.
Sun-proof your building
If your commercial building directly faces the sunlight, it will always require more energy to maintain cool, conditioned air.
You can reduce the amount of energy required to keep the air fresh and cool by blocking the direct sunshine that comes through the windows of your commercial building.
It may also be worth your while to add extra insulation to the climate-controlled sections of your building and to install solar screens, awnings, and solar films.
If there are any leaks located around doors or windows in your building, these can also allow conditioned air to escape. These leaks should be identified, and remedial action should be taken as soon as possible.
Install efficient equipment
Wherever possible, you should install high-performance, energy-efficient systems that use equipment that is certified for superior energy performance.
One example would be an Energy Star-certified computer, which is capable of operating on far less energy than a non-certified model, even as much as 65% less energy.
This type of state-of-the-art equipment is constantly being developed and put on the market, so you should stay aware of when it becomes available.
You should also make a point of using a ventilation system in your commercial building which maintains good air quality and prevents any moisture buildup.
Heat recovery ventilators are capable of using your building’s outgoing air to heat the air coming in, and they can also be used to cool the air coming inside.
This makes for a very low-cost, energy-efficient assistant for your HVAC system and will cause your heating and cooling system to work more efficiently.
Use sophisticated analytics
By installing some advanced technology in your building, you will be able to collect an enormous amount of data from all the systems which are used to maintain comfort levels for occupants.
It will be necessary to manage and analyze all this data in order to produce any insights which might become actionable. Using Big Data analysis, you’ll be able to scan through historical energy-usage records and predict what energy bills might amount to in future months.
This will help you to make the most efficient use of your current systems and adjust any systems which are lacking in energy efficiency.
Recommended Read 4 Signs of a Gas Leak and How Property Managers Should Handle It
Optimize your HVAC systems
Given the fact that HVAC systems account for a major portion of energy costs in commercial buildings, it makes sense to optimize your usage of your HVAC systems.
To begin with, all your heating and cooling systems should be fine-tuned, and preventive maintenance should be carried out routinely so that they are operating at peak efficiency.
You may want to turn off your HVAC systems during the day and instead use fans to keep certain areas of your building cool, at least until the heat of the day increases.
You can also minimize air conditioning time and use programmable thermostats to gain efficiencies when employees are not using certain sections of the building.
If any of your HVAC units are old and nearing the end of their useful life, it will certainly be worth your while to replace them with high-performance, energy-efficient units.
These systems can be worth their weight in gold when they begin providing you with savings on your utility bills, because of their much greater efficiency at heating and cooling.
Estimate your return on investment (ROI)
In order to make sure that you’re gaining worthwhile benefits from the energy-saving initiatives you undertake, you should calculate your return on investment right at the outset.
While you may have to make a significant investment in retrofitting your commercial building with energy-efficient equipment and systems, it might very well be that your return greatly exceeds that initial investment.
Keep in mind that you might also be entitled to rebates and tax incentives for installing energy-efficient equipment in your commercial building, and that will add to your return on investment.
Maximize your energy efficiency with help from Design Mechanical!
Design Mechanical is a trusted mechanical service provider in the Kansas City area. For years we have been helping commercial property owners optimize their buildings for greater efficiency and cost-savings.
We offer HVAC-related services, install and manage building optimization systems, install commercial refrigeration systems, and perform a variety of other mechanical services that help your building run as smoothly as possible.
If you have any questions or require one of our services, please don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (913) 281-7200!