Energy is the biggest operating expense for most commercial buildings. Office buildings, for example, spend $1.69 per square foot on electricity on average. By implementing smart strategies to improve energy efficiency, building operators can eliminate needless energy waste and save valuable money.
Implement an energy-efficient cleaning schedule
You may not realize it, but your cleaning schedule can impact the overall energy expended in your building. For example, night-cleaning typically involves having lights being switched on for longer periods of time than necessary. By switching to cleaning in the daytime (when occupants are still in the building), the lights won’t be on for longer than is really needed. Moreover, a professional cleaning service can help devise and implement a strategic plan that ensures your building is cleaned efficiently and thoroughly in order to meet health and safety and energy requirements. They can ensure the lights are turned on and off as needed as they work through each room in the building. Additionally, motion sensors can be a worthwhile investment for building operators. Motion sensors can improve energy efficiency by automatically turning lights on when cleaning staff enter a specific area, and turning them back off again when the area is left vacant.
Retro-commission the building
Retro-commissioning your building involves assessing the HVAC system, lighting, heating, and water usage in order to identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, for example, surveyed 600 different buildings and discovered that retro-commissioning measures resulted in an average median annual energy savings of 15%. Potential improvements typically include repairing broken or old seals, insulation and valves on equipment, scheduling equipment to turn off when not in use, repairing out-of-calibration equipment, and enabling features on controls with the aim of minimizing energy waste. After implementing your retro-commissioned improvements, you’ll typically need only a year or less to make back your financial investment, thanks to the valuable energy saved.
Limit site lighting overnight
Exterior site lighting can be a major drain on electricity and money, particularly for larger buildings. It’s therefore beneficial to look for ways to keep your site lighting usage to a minimum overnight during your lowest rates of occupancy. Of course, you’ll need to keep all main lighting surrounding the building, entrances, pathways and drives switched on. However, you may be able to switch off lighting outside of these important zones and rows — your lighting automation controllers can be scheduled to turn off during the least occupied times. You can also switch off every other lighting fixture in the main parking zone. Always prioritize safety when adjusting your exterior site lighting, and consider how any changes will impact occupants leaving or entering the building at night.
Significant energy waste is a common yet preventable problem in most commercial buildings. By implementing effective energy-saving strategies, building operators can ensure greater energy efficiency throughout their buildings and save valuable dollars.
This article was authored and contributed by Jackie Edwards. Now working as a writer, Jackie Edwards started her career in Environmental Health in the Public Sector, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a strong interest in ecology, wildlife and conservation.