Tips for Energy Management
Even though we believe the bigger issue is the emissions intensity of energy, not the amount consumed...
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC)
Approximately 40% of energy used in commercial buildings goes towards heating, ventilation, and air conditioning to provide staff members and customers a comfortable environment to be in. But there are many ways to improve energy efficiency:
CORRECTLY ZONE ROOMS
If there is an area where heating and cooling is not required as often as others, isolating this area from others will result in less energy wasted.
OPTIMAL OFFICE TEMPERATURES
Only heat to 20°C
This is a comfortable environment to work in. Heating further than this requires far more energy and takes a lot longer, resulting in an unnecessary amount of energy being used.
Only cool to 24°C
A cooler environment during times in peak summer weather. Cooling further than this level takes a lot longer and uses far more energy, resulting in an unnecessary amount of energy being used.
ENSURE HVAC SYSTEMS ARE REGULARLY MAINTAINED
Maintenance is an important part to ensure machines are operating efficiently. Cleaning and filter replacement means machines will run smoother and require less energy to do the same job.
SET YOUR HVAC TIMERS TO START AND FINISH WHEN YOU NEED THEM
This is a common mistake for businesses operating during standard business hours. Energy can be saved by turning off heating and cooling equipment when the premises is not in use. Using an automated timer means this could be a hassle-free approach to saving energy and reducing cost.
RESEARCH WHEN INVESTING IN HEATING, VENTILATION, AIR CONDITIONING (HVAC) SYSTEMS
Technology improves all the time, so when it comes to investing in a HVAC system it’s worth the time researching the best option for your business.
FURTHER ENERGY SAVING TIPS
Provide a clear space around air conditioning (AC) and heating equipment – this ensures that it flows throughout the environment efficiently.
Avoid using small and portable heaters in large rooms. This requires large amounts of energy and is generally not the most efficient option.
Reduce energy loss by closing windows and exterior doors when using AC and heating.
Turn off unnecessary lighting as this also creates unnecessary heat.
Check thermostat settings regularly.
To get an accurate reading, avoid placing thermostats close to the HVAC source.
Insulate your heating and AC pipes to reduce heat loss/gain.
Timer controls for heating and cooling.
Use natural ventilation where possible.
Clean and replace air filters regularly.
Use blinds or screens to minimise over-heating from the sun.
Lighting is not only about aesthetics. The right lighting needs to meet legal and staff light level requirements to optimize the productivity in your business. Poor lighting can present hazards and over lighting presents poor efficiency.
Regular dusting prolongs lamp life and results in a brighter shine. Longer lamp life results in a more efficient bulb and less energy wasted.
Group lamp replacement means you save on labour costs as well as have a routine expectation of when to change lighting.
Use colours that have high reflectiveness. The more reflective, the less lighting that is required.
Using softer light can be less harsh on the eyes. More comfortable eyes = more productive staff and happy customers.
Regularly clean lights.
Include motion and light level sensors.
Replace lighting with efficient bulbs - such has LED.
Refit lighting with newer, more efficient technology.
Include timer to turn off at non-required times.
Separate switches for rooms with a lot of lighting. This means businesses are able to power only required sections of big areas.
Repaint rooms in lighter colours to improve reflectance.
Staff awareness and motivation
Although a major solution to better energy efficiency is the purchase of energy efficient equipment, managing and motivating staff is just as important. Staff control the equipment and get things done while also having the most experience and knowledge of the day to day operations of the business. If you are able to motivate staff to become a part of an energy saving programme, you will be able to save costs daily. Educating and motivating staff on energy efficiency is a proven way of saving that involves very little investment.
STAFF AWARENESS AND MOTIVATION
Staff awareness and motivation is a key step towards lasting change in creating an energy efficient team. Staff need to understand why it is important, then how they go about becoming one. In most cases staff don’t know how much energy they are actually using with each process, or how easy it would be to use less.
Turning off a PC and monitor every evening can save approximately $120 pa per person. So for an office of 20 people it is quite feasible to save $2,400 over the course of a year.
TOP LEVEL ENGAGEMENT
It is important to involve top level managers in order to promote leadership and commitment. Without their involvement, staff members may feel that the project is not supported.