There are a lot of costs associated with operating a commercial building, not least of all the utility bills.
If you are responsible for Center commercial building operations and watching the budget, you know how difficult it is to keep energy costs low.
There are a lot of ways large buildings waste energy, and just as many ways to reduce energy waste. But are you doing commercial building energy consumption correctly?
If energy conservation isn’t your strong point, don’t worry. It really isn’t difficult. You just need some proven ideas for how to do it.
If you are looking for ideas on how to save energy in buildings while also saving money at your Center facility, here are some guaranteed methods to try.
Update equipment and fixtures with energy-efficient options
Today, energy-efficient building equipment is commonplace. If you have the budget to make some improvements in your Center building, you can save a lot of money over time by investing in more energy-efficient models of things around your facility. This includes windows, light fixtures and bulbs, HVAC equipment, water pumps and heaters, appliances, and more.
Here’s a hint: Look for Energy Star rated products to easily identify energy-efficient options.
Retrofit your building
If your Center building is older, it might be time for some modifications.
Older buildings were not built with energy conservation in mind. The aging process also may have left your building prone to settling and gaps that let in drafts and make your HVAC system work harder.
Working to retrofit your building and its systems can go a long way toward improving building energy efficiency.
We already talked about upgrading equipment and fixtures in your building. Another step you can take to make an energy-efficient building is to improve your insulation so that outside air isn’t seeping in. Sometimes changing the layout of a building can improve airflow and thus energy efficiency also. And look into your building’s ventilation.
Another option is to replace your roof with one that is designed to reflect sunlight and absorb less heat. This reduces the stress on your HVAC system and the energy it consumes. If a whole new roof isn’t in the budget, there also are cool-roof coatings that reduce a roof’s temperature and your energy costs. Other options include painting a metal roof or installing cool-roof shingles.
These are all projects that an experienced contractor can help you navigate.
Update your window coverings
While new windows come in many energy-efficient options today, window replacements are costly. A cheaper alternative might be new window coverings. The right window shades can help insulate windows and block heat and UV rays from the Texas sun.
Low-emissivity window glazing also can block excess heat. Caulking and weather-stripping are a tried-and-true method for keeping drafts out.
Install lighting controls
If you grew up with parents who told you to turn off a light when you leave a room, you know how much electricity that habit can save.
Turning off the lights in a commercial building isn’t so simple, however. It creates safety hazards, and it just isn’t practical to expect everyone to turn on and off lights wherever they go.
The alternative is to install lighting controls that turn off lights for you at appropriate times. The two most common commercial lighting controls are occupancy sensors and timers.
Occupancy sensors detect motion when someone enters a room and flips on the light automatically. They also turn off the lights a certain amount of time after they no longer detect motion. Lights set on timers can be programmed to turn on when people arrive in the morning and off when everyone is gone for the night. Both options cut down on wasted electricity.
Optimize your HVAC system
Heating and central air are two big energy hogs. It takes a lot to heat or cool a large commercial building, and much of that air gets wasted if your building has high ceilings or exterior doors that open frequently throughout the day.
Maintaining and making changes to your HVAC system can help.
Scheduling regular inspections and tune-ups for your HVAC system can help it run more efficiently. If a boiler or chiller is struggling, it’s going to use more power to keep running. A quick fix will lower your HVAC energy use.
Much like lights, HVAC systems also can be programmed to run only at certain times. Your thermostat probably already helps regulate building temperature, but a programmable thermostat can turn down the heat or air conditioning after hours to reduce energy consumption.
Ask staff to help reduce energy consumption
Improving building energy efficiency can be a team effort. Every little bit counts, and you can ask your tenants or staff to help you keep energy costs low by adopting a few simple habits like turning off computers when they leave for the day, turning off lights in empty rooms and using power strips.
It’s a good idea to have a meeting with stakeholders or send a mass communication with follow-up reminders of your efforts to reduce energy consumption. If requesting help from employees, you might like to offer an incentive for reducing energy costs, like a party if you can get your utility bill below a certain threshold. For tenants, remind them that energy consumption costs can affect rent.
And don’t forget your cleaning staff! Since their job is to care for your building, talk with them about following energy conservation protocols like turning off lights or notifying you if a system needs some maintenance.
Affordable building maintenance
It’s a hard balance between operating a commercial building and keeping costs down. Investing in improving building energy efficiency is one way to both take care of your Center facility and save money.
If you haven’t made efforts to reduce energy consumption yet, use these ideas to motivate you. Not only is energy efficiency good for the environment, but it’s good for your bottom line as well.
At DNC Facility Services, we understand your challenge as a facility manager to maintain your Center building on a tight budget. That’s why we offer the DNC Difference.
We provide the highest-quality cleaning for the most competitive prices around. Our services are designed to create a healthy, clean environment for any commercial building.