A recent FirstFuel survey covering 60 million square feet of U.S. commercial building space has revealed that the majority of operational improvements for energy efficiency can be made with very little or no cost to building owners.
Although investing in facility retrofits can help with operational efficiency, an upgrade isn’t the only way to enhance system performance.
This research also found that the vast majority of low- and no-cost energy-efficiency improvements are still untouched in many medium and large U.S. commercial buildings.
Here are three easy operational improvements you can make today without spending money or retrofitting existing systems. These suggestions may seem like no-brainers, but the FirstFuel study proves that a large number of commercial buildings still haven’t implemented them.
Equipment start-up and shutdown don’t always match building occupancy levels. The bottom line: If a building is empty, the HVAC system doesn’t need to be operating to maintain comfortable temperatures. More than 50% of the commercial buildings analyzed by FirstFuel have equipment ready for occupancy at least one hour before people actually arrive (and the equipment runs for at least one hour after tenants or occupants leave for the day). According to FirstFuel, switching to day-only operations can use up to three times less energy when compared to energy use for 24/7 HVAC operations.
Check Doors and Windows
To minimize air loss, make sure all doors (both traditional and automatic) and operable windows seal completely. If they don’t, check weatherstripping and make adjustments accordingly. Most automatic doors can easily be adjusted by in-house facilities professionals to ensure proper closure.
Clean Lamps and Fixtures
When it comes to building maintenance and cleaning, are you remembering the building systems overhead? According to BetterBricks, just cleaning lamps and fixtures can improve lighting output by 10% to 60%. Both lamps and fixtures gather dust very quickly due to heat and static charge. When dust and dirt build up, the amount of light reflected on these surfaces lessens, and less lighting output is provided. As a result, you end up turning on more fixtures to provide the lighting levels you need. Because cleaning existing lamps and fixtures improves lighting output, you may be able to turn off, dim, or delamp to save energy. Dirt and dust can also cause lamps to operate at higher-than-normal temperatures, which may shorten expected useful life.
Have you implemented all three of these operational changes? Are you seeing savings as a result?
- Can zero-carbon buildings become a reality? (theguardian.com)
- HVAC Systems and Their Many Benefits (guidetoblowermotors.wordpress.com)
- NREL Software Could Cut Commercial Building Energy Audit Costs 75% (cleantechnica.com)
- Why Efficiency Is Harder in Industrial Facilities Than Commercial Buildings (theenergycollective.com)