Implementing energy-efficient measures into your office building can have an immediate positive effect on your operating budgets.
The first step you should take is to develop an energy management program. An energy management program studies electricity usage, how and where electricity is used and evaluates ways to save in order to reduce and implement electricity conservation measures to increase a building’s operating efficiency. It can also involve training employees on electricity-saving steps they can take.
An energy management program can include:
Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Air conditioning can use from 30 to 80 percent of total electricity used by an office building. A number of electricity conservation measures can be implemented to an office building’s cooling system to provide more efficient operation which can include:
- Installing energy-efficient air conditioning/chiller equipment.
- Installing HVAC fans and pumps with variable frequency drives that can control motor and pump speeds, as well as the electricity needed to run the fans and pumps.
- Putting window film on to reduce heat loss.
- Adding insulation for windows and doors, such as weather stripping and thresholds.
- Installing a timer on supply air fans.
- Utilizing energy management systems.
- Installing an economizer.
Lighting can take up 30 to 50 percent of the total electricity used by an office building. Fluorescent tubes, generally used in most buildings, are a relatively efficient lighting source. We have a number of rebates and measures that help office building lighting become even more energy-efficient which can include:
- Replacing older, less efficient T12s with low-wattage T8 and T5 lamps with electronic ballasts.
- Installing reflectors which enables delamping by reducing the number of lamps needed.
- Replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFLs which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.
- Replacing fluorescent light exit signs with LED exit signs.
- Installing induction lighting which offers long-lasting, low-maintenance solutions to hard-to-reach places and public facilities.
- Installing pulse-start metal halide and high-pressure sodium lamps. These lamps provide high-intensity lighting, long lamp light and high energy efficiency for spaces where lights are used for many hours and have high ceilings.
- Adding occupancy sensors, or automatic lighting controls, this switches off the lights when people leave the room and turn them back on when people return. Programmable timers can also turn lights on and off at appropriate hours.
- Installing light tubes and other natural light maximizers that can replace some electric lighting.
Hot water used in office buildings is generally only needed for hand-washing and takes only about 1 percent of total electricity use. Nonetheless, office buildings can reduce electricity use by:
- Setting water temperature to 120°F.
- Insulating water tanks and pipes.
- Repairing all leaks immediately.
Turn It Off
The remaining electricity used in an office building may be related to electric motors, miscellaneous equipment or elevators. Energy conservation measures related to these devices will depend upon the specific device and operation. Turning off these devices whenever practical and providing a regular maintenance program will help lower electricity expenses.