The best way for a company to save energy is by monitoring their energy usage. Once you know what systems in your facility use the most power, it will be much easier to develop an energy-saving plan. With or without an energy audit, many facilities would benefit from following the energy-saving tips:
Avoid Peak Energy Costs
In Ontario, there are three defined peak periods of energy use demand:
- Off-Peak – Low demand with less expensive electricity usage
- Mid-Peak – Cost and demand for energy use are moderate
- On-Peak – Demand is at its highest and most expensive production of electricity usage
During the winter, there are two daily peaks – in the morning when people get up and in the evening when people get home from work and school.
In the summer, demand hits a high in the afternoon when air conditioners are running at their highest. Demand and prices are lower overnight and on weekends and statutory holidays.
You can visit your government’s energy website to find out when your peak hours. Knowing when your local peak hours are can help your company reduce energy costs. By knowing when electricity costs are at their peak, you can adjust your employees’ shifts and machine’s operating times to mid or off-peak hours when possible.
This is the use of skylights and windows to bring in natural light to your building. The latest energy efficient windows and advances in lighting design for new builds reduce the need for artificial lighting during prime daylight hours. Building with day lighting in mind can reduce your heating and cooling costs.
For structures that are already built, you can add North-facing windows and skylights for relatively even light, with little glare and nearly no undesired summer heat.
Energy-Efficient Lighting and Controls
Energy consumption from lighting varies from 35% to 75% of a business’ total energy usage. Lighting controls like motion sensors, dimmers, photosensors, occupancy sensors and timers can significantly reduce energy consumption and extend the life of your lights.
Dimmers allow for variation of indoor light levels and offer reduced wattage and output, decreasing energy consumption overall.
Motion sensors automatically turn lights on when movement is detected and then turns them off after a short while of no movement. It is almost exclusively used outdoors, where continuous lighting is not needed.
Occupancy sensors recognize activity within a particular area. As long as sensors can accurately detect occupants and activity, lights stay on and turn off when there are no occupants left. Within occupancy sensors, there are sound, heat and motion detectors.
Timers are programmable devices that allow you to choose how long lighting stays on. You can use them automatically turn lights on at certain times, turn them off after a specified amount of time or leave them on only during certain hours.
Manual timers plug into an outlet to control lamps and string lights while in-wall programmable digital timers control built-in lighting.
As for energy-efficient lights, LED lighting uses around 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. LED is one of today’s most energy-efficient and fast-developing lighting technologies. Switching to LED is a sure way to cut your energy costs.
A process for analyzing, investigating and optimizing the building system performance already in place and implementing measures to ensure better performance. That means offering regularly scheduled inspections of equipment and building systems to make sure they are at optimal operating capacity. It is also to fix any issues as they arise to ensure they continue to operate optimally.
Metering and monitoring HVAC systems are especially important to measure system efficiency and to help identify leaks and other inefficiencies. Studies have shown that recommissioning can lead to a 10% to 15% reduction in annual energy costs.
Another appliance that recommissioning is important for is building chillers. If it is old, it may not be operating as well as it should be. Replacing an outdated chiller with a newer, energy-efficient one can lower your maintenance and electricity costs. These savings can quickly offset the cost of the new unit itself.
Reduce HVAC System Load
Keep air vents clear of obstructions such as office supplies, paper, equipment, etc. Blocked vents can cause a 25% energy usage increase.
Proper sealing of windows, doors and roofs can also minimize hot or cold air from escaping the building and prevents air from entering. Using a programmable thermostat gives you better control of your HVAC system. It allows you to program automatic settings in temperature for different areas at different times, to ensure no air is circulating in unoccupied areas. Cogeneration can increase energy efficiency and decrease the load on your HVAC system by redirecting heat from production to heat water and warm areas.
Service Compressors and Motors
Compressors can fix existing leaks. They can also prevent new leaks as dirty piping causes corrosion, considerably increasing the number of leaks. Meanwhile, dried and correctly filtered compressed air keeps pipes clean. Compressors can also reduce pressure by ensuring pipes run at required pressures and no higher. If there is a drop in pressure, you can fix the issue to re-establish the right system pressure. You should emphasize proper maintenance on your compressors. Scheduled routine checks and maintenance ensures optimal functioning and, as a result, energy efficiency.
It is essential to change all filters in your system systematically. If all filters are changed on time, variations in pressure should not happen, allowing for proper usage of the machine and, again, better energy efficiency.
Typically, when the motors are installed and running, they are rarely maintained or replaced. If a motor is outdated, a new model will likely have a better design and improved materials, yielding more energy savings.
Turn Off Unused Equipment
People tend to be forgetful so even something as simple as turning off equipment when your employees are done with it can be a challenge to do every time. All electronic devices that are plugged in use power even when they are switched off. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do.
Using a built-in-timer power bar can be set to turn off when items plugged in will not be in use. An auto-off power bar automatically shuts down power to other connected devices when a central device that was plugged in is turned off. It is ideal to use this type of power bar with items that are used in tandem. Occupancy sensors integrate lighting systems into your HVAC system to ensure air is not circulated into unoccupied areas.
Motivate Employees to Take Part In and Be Responsibility for Saving Energy
Make an energy-savings plan and allow everyone to contribute to it. When they see that their ideas are put in an action plan, it will motivate them to follow the action plan better since they put effort into creating it. You could evev hold energy-saving contests. They encourage employees to track their energy usage at work so that you can reward employees who have reduced their consumption significantly. Be sure all of your employees are taught about any new energy-saving sensors, equipment and practices. Only with accurate and thorough knowledge can employees really understand why energy saving is essential and want to apply these practices.