Superman would make the perfect building energy manager. His X–ray vision is basically what you need to have full visibility into everything you need to see where your business is losing money to poor energy management.
He’s busy saving the world, and you might have some Kryptonite samples you brought back from your last trip exploring the galaxy. So here are 10 things you can check on without his help.
1. Daytime lighting
It’s out there all day, and it’s free. Is your business taking advantage of sunlight? Open up office blinds during the day. Task lighting consumes less energy than lighting an entire office area.
Lighting in an office building can make up to 25% of your utility bill. Push back on that energy drain by using free sunlight if it’s possible.
2. Things that go bump in the night
After-hours energy consumption can be mysterious because…well, it happens when we’re not around to see what’s going on at the office. Often, building managers aren’t aware of what building systems are doing and how much energy is consumed.
Put your HVAC and lighting systems at the top of your list to check out. They might be operating when no one’s around, and they’re big energy eaters.
3. Poor maintenance schedules
Things that don’t work right will consume more energy. Is your building maintenance strategy more on the reactionary side? Consider looking into a proactive stance.
Creating a predictive maintenance schedule can reduce company downtime and promotes energy efficiency.
4. Equipment sleep cycles
Most newer office equipment offers power management features. Some, however, aren’t automatic. Check to see that devices are set up to “sleep” when not in use.
The savings can add up. A copy machine can cost more than $150 a year just sitting there turned on. Do you have vending machines in your break room? Equip them with power misers and you can save up to $300 annually.
5. The battle of the environmental controls
It’s impossible to find the perfect temperature that works for every one of your employees. You’re running the building HVAC system to keep it cool, and one of your people has a small space heater warming them up under the desk.
You can’t blame them for trying to stay comfortable so they can be productive. Unfortunately, your building’s HVAC system might be running in a confused state trying to achieve the target temperature you selected.
Yes, there is such a thing. The best way to discover if this is adding to your utility bill is to check your light levels. Use standards published by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).
If you have areas with over-lit conditions, you can reduce the available lighting. It’s good for your energy bill, and it cuts down on glare on monitors.
7. Damaged insulation
You might want to re-think the Superman solution here. It’s not easy to get at all the areas involved. Damaged insulation can be difficult to spot, but you’ll appreciate finding it.
Plan for periodic inspections of the insulation on your piping, ducting, and HVAC equipment. Damage can cause substantial energy leaks.
8. Dirty filters
Peak winter and summer months see increased airflow through your HVAC system. You want to increase the frequency of your filter inspections during these times.
Dirty filters decrease airflow, which makes your equipment work harder. It also reduces the air quality in your office.
9. Blocked vents
Did you do some office rearranging? A file cabinet or piece of furniture blocking a vent can cause problems—especially if it’s a vent meant to regulate building temperature.
That blocked vent can cause your HVAC system to work up to 25% harder to redistribute and balance the temperature.
Monitor and save
It’s estimated that up to 50% of the energy your office building consumes is wasted. Studies have shown that businesses can reduce their energy costs by as much as 30% with an audit and continuous monitoring.
There’s another way you can save on your energy bill. Smart businesses are opting to use solar to offset utility costs. You can go with the environmentally-conscious option of our solar gardens.
Save up to 10% on office utility bills, and you’ll know what your rate will be for the next 25 years. It’s a stable source of clean and renewable energy that even Superman would approve of. Read more about it here.