Today’s commercial buildings use more energy than other sectors. A report by the US Energy Information Administration confirmed that residential and commercial buildings consumed 20% of all energy in 2019. Commercial energy usage has grown exponentially over the past decade, a move that is fueled by a growing economy, increased population and people’s desire to lead comfortable lifestyles.
While the driving force is positive, there is a need to control energy consumption. Otherwise, it might result in increased production of greenhouse gases and will severely impact the environment. You can take these steps to regulate energy consumption in your commercial building.
1. Consider Smart Building Designs
Smart buildings have automated controls and systems in place. The controls consist of actuators and sensors integrated to create an intelligent data-control structure. Optimizing utilities in buildings starts with gathering extensive data and using it for operating the systems.
You can use data from the HVAC to understand its performance and set temperature points according to the weather. You can also have a centralized command center to transmit commands and change values.
Smart buildings save energy expenses because they offer system visibility, even when facilities are spread across a large area like a hospital. The information these systems collect is used to track, analyze and communicate energy-efficiency solutions.
2. Maintain Your HVAC
Regular visits from an HVAC professional will improve your system’s efficiency and help curb costly repairs. Dirty ducts, coils, debris and clogged filters are a huge burden to the appliance, making it harder to attain the set temperatures. Consequently, it increases the energy usage of the equipment.
Facility managers in San Antonio looking to extend the life of their HVAC building maintenance should consider regular maintenance procedures. It will reduce energy consumption, extend the equipment’s life and decrease interruptions during use. Since dirty coils and blowers pollute indoor air quality, cleaning them often will prevent health-related concerns like asthma and enhance the occupants’ environment.
3. Educate the Occupants
Consider educating employees and other building tenants about energy consumption and how to minimize their usage. When they’re aware of simple strategies to save on energy, you will likely see a drop in energy consumption. A person’s action can have a ripple effect on all the tenants. For example, portable heaters can change the thermostat readings of an entire floor, depending on their location.
Facility managers should alert the management whenever there is an issue with the temperature. That way, they can devise a floor-wide solution to ensure that all the occupants are comfortable. Employees also like their organizations more when they’re interested in the environment. Eighty percent of employees prefer working for companies with a positive environmental reputation.
4. Enhance Insulation
Adding layers of insulation around your HVAC, electrical outlets and heating and cooling pipes will help maintain high energy-efficiency levels and reduce wastage. Insulation offers extra resistance to heat flow and reduces the temperature regulation costs. Your occupants will be happy to stay in cozy rooms.
Another way to minimize energy wastage in commercial buildings is to install internal or external wall insulation. When you opt for exterior insulation, it will also enhance the aesthetic of the structure. Insulating the walls eliminates mold, reduces the need for regular maintenance and minimizes the occupants’ disturbance as well.
5. Use Improved Building Designs
Consider implementing general cooling and heating measures when designing the building. “Green” designs help to reduce energy consumption. Some viable strategies include:
- Use of trees and landscaping to avail shaded areas and reduce local temperature
- Natural lighting and opening interiors to daylight
- Developing a water collection system for irrigating your landscaping, both in and around the structure
- Installing solar panels on rooftops for heating water or to power parking lights
6. Perform Energy Audits
Auditing your consumption is a good starting point when you’re considering how to save energy. Make sure you engage an electrical contractor and your janitorial service provider in this study. Next, consider your utility bills over the past year to determine when they are at their highest. The pattern might follow seasonal variations. You can use this material as a benchmark for future strategies.
Undertake a nighttime audit to find out what equipment is left on overnight. From there, you can decide to switch off the unnecessary ones. Discuss the cleaning system with your janitorial service provider. Are they doing zone cleaning, where the cleaners are on every floor? Or do they follow team cleaning, where cleaners work as a team? Team cleaning helps conserve energy because you can turn off lights in the areas they aren’t cleaning. Consider day cleaning because the janitors don’t need to switch on lights while working.
7. Encourage Low-Cost Techniques
Using quick, low-cost techniques can go a long way in minimizing energy bills. For instance, switching off office equipment like computers, copiers and printers when not in use can lower the expenses by 40%. The building’s occupants will be happy to implement these strategies when they understand the massive savings they attract.
8. Implement IoT Systems
The Internet of Things is an upcoming innovation that can help to improve energy efficiency. It uses the internet to link up data collected from various devices like built-in sensors and actuators. When you implement IoT in your commercial building, you will gather information like temperature, air pressure, motion, water flow and light.
You can integrate IoT within your building management system to enable autonomous monitoring and control. It also offers advanced analytics, where you can use the information for predictive modeling. It helps you to save on cost, increase revenue benefits and enhance productivity.
9. Install Energy-Efficient Lighting Fixtures and Sensors
Although lights are crucial requirements in any building, they can also result in tremendous wastage. Whether you’re a building manager or the owner, consider replacing the incandescent bulbs with LED fixtures. Go for Energy Star-approved fluorescent bulbs because they’re durable and 75% more efficient.
Energy conservation goes beyond installing energy-efficient bulbs. Considering the massive usage of bulbs in commercial buildings, it pays to have a lighting-control mechanism in place. Encourage the occupants to install sensors to turn lights on and off automatically. When you install switch-plate sensors in strategic locations, you can make significant savings and reduce your building’s energy consumption.
10. Involve Voluntary Programs Like Energy Star
Energy Star is a charitable program by the Environmental Protection Agency that drives energy efficiency. It offers certification of energy efficiency, which in turn helps individuals and companies make energy-efficient choices.
According to the EPA, commercial buildings with an Energy Star label use 35% less energy than similar buildings without the rating. Purchasing Energy Star equipment will also increase your savings.
Our technicians are highly skilled and invested in ensuring that commercial buildings run swiftly and efficiently. At Beyer Mechanical in Selma, TX, we offer cooling and heating installations and maintenance, in-house designs, construction remodels and system installation. If you manage a commercial building in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin and the surrounding areas, contact us today for advice on how to make your building more energy-efficient.