Energy Efficiency in Commercial Settings

August 21st, 2013

If you are running a business out of an office building or any other commercial setting, there are a few expenses that stand out in an annual billing cycle. Energy use is the greatest of these expenses, it accounts for about a third of the entire cost of operation. On top of that, most buildings waste a third of this energy that is consumed. A more energy-efficient establishment can reduce these costs, reduce pollution, and increase the comfort of a work environment. It has been estimated that, by reducing energy use by 10 percent, there will be a 1.5 percent increase in Net Operating Income. While those figures seem almost negligible, this increase compounds, and is consistent; over time pennies saved have potential become millions made. It is clear that a business can greatly benefit from maintaining energy efficiency.

 

There are key practices, and a few investments, that could dramatically boost energy efficiency. A few effective habits on a personal level are:

  • Tracking energy use and making reports of it.
  • Being sure that operating hours are used effectively to regulate energy use. For example, if daylight can be used to reasonably light a workspace, then this is an excellent approach.
  • Most basic practice: setting back the thermostat during cooler parts of the workday.
  • Regularly checking that electrical equipment and fixtures are in proper working order, with no apparent operating flaws or drawbacks in efficiency.
    • If you are unsure whether or not there is a problem, then it would do no harm to contact an electrical service technician. They are trained to know the underlying causes of many commonly overlooked issues; some of which, when maintained, can boost energy efficiency.

     

As far as the mechanics of the workplace are concerned, professional attention and assessments are crucial to having a full understanding of your building’s energy trends. Make sure that you:

  • Upgrade or install new HVAC equipment
  • Get an energy audit: Energy audits highlight a building’s energy use and costs. They also give estimations of projected energy costs if the operations continue unchanged. Very helpful for owners!
  • Install reflective roof coating and window films, ENERGYSTAR qualified office equipment.
  • Consider retro commissioning: It is estimated that two thirds of all buildings were not commissioned effectively; their systems are often highly inefficient and are prone to degradation of optimal functionality.
  • Work with your Energy Service Provider to receive input on how to increase efficiency through their services.