May was unseasonably warm, especially in the Mid-Atlantic, with D.C. and Philadelphia experiencing some of their hottest May temperatures since 1991. The summer cooling season began June 1 and it’s reasonable to expect warmer temperatures in the days and weeks ahead.
To help your business be more sustainable and reduce energy costs this summer, we’ve compiled a list of ten easy-to-implement energy conservation tips from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):
• Implement an HVAC system night setback schedule:
Work with your building staff to identify operational hours of HVAC equipment in non-24/7 areas. Be sure to consider acceptable temperature limits for any equipment that may be located in these areas and set unoccupied setpoints within the acceptable limits.
• Install solar shading features on east-, west- and south-facing facades:
Install landscaping (trees, hedge rows), overhangs or fins, light shelves (shelves that reflect light into a building) and blinds to save on cooling and electrical lighting on all applicable east-, west- and south-facing facades of your building(s).
• Install weather-stripping around loading dock doors:
All loading dock doors should be insulated to reduce heat transfer through the building envelope and energy demands. The irregular surfaces and mounting hardware of rolling doors require heavy-duty weather-stripping (vinyl or wood pile, neoprene bulb or neoprene baffle).
• Insulate hot water pipes:
Pipe insulation reduces heat loss through distribution pipes and increases overall system efficiency. Any heated pipe with exterior temperatures over 120°F should be insulated.
• Replace incandescent recessed can fixtures with LED or CFL lighting:
Light-emitting diode (LED) and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) lighting use less energy, have dimming capability and are good retrofit options for recessed can fixtures.
• Replace standard T-8 fluorescent lamps with super T-8 fluorescent lamps:
Super T-8 fluorescent lamps have the same light output as standard T-8 lamps, but use less energy, last longer and have improved color rendering.
• Install programmable thermostats:
Programmable thermostats allow you to adjust the space temperature according to your seven-day occupancy schedule. This is also a good time to revise thermostat setpoints – raising the temperature by a few degrees in the summer can have a large impact on energy usage.
• Replace exit signs with LED exit signs:
LED exit signs use less energy and can save significant amounts of energy when compared to incandescent exit signs. Be sure the new LED exit signs meet building and fire code requirements.
• Check computers for proper power management settings:
Check for proper power management settings. Monitors should turn off after 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity and the system should go into standby mode after 5 to 10 minutes of inactivity.
• Replace appliances and office equipment with ENERGY STAR® models:
ENERGY STAR® models use less energy that standard appliances and office equipment. Individual printers, scanners and fax machines should be removed and replaced with a central ENERGY STAR® multifunction device (a combination printer, scanner and fax machine) that can be shared by a group of employees.
For more energy conservation tips for commercial buildings, please view the complete NREL list here. NREL is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.