Sustainability 101

How To Lower Energy Costs In Record Summer Heat

The record heat this summer (and for many summers to come) mean higher energy costs for most businesses. Here is what you can do to control and lower your energy costs, while still beating the heat.

Shield the sun:

Shield your office from direct sunlight by closing blinds/shades in windows facing the sun. This can reduce heat gain by up to 45%. You can also  Increase the filtering properties of the glass in your building by installing solar shades or applying window films to existing glass walls, windows and doors to reduce heat (and glare). This will allow you to keep the office cool with less energy and help ease loads during expensive peak hours.

Adjust A/C settings: 

Turn the air-conditioning system off (or raise the temperature settings) during off hours and on weekends. This can also be done using a programmable thermostat that will automatically schedule temperature adjustments. You can also explore small temperature setbacks during working hours. A 0.5° Fahrenheit (F) to 1.0°F change upward or downward frequently goes unnoticed. In the summer, the thermostat should be set no lower than 78°F to 80°F. For every degree the thermostat is raised, 4% to 8% can be saved on cooling costs.

Service your A/C system:

A well maintained system will ensure that your air-conditioning system is working at maximum efficiency. Check filters, coils, sensors and airflow. For example, many systems “use a dampered vent called an economizer that draws in cool outside air when it is available to reduce the need for mechanically cooled air. If not regularly checked, the linkage on the damper can seize up or break. An economizer stuck in the fully open position can add as much as 50 percent to a building’s annual energy bill by allowing in hot air.”  Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

Reduce heat sources:

Replace your traditional incandescents with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs).  Only 10% of the energy from traditional bulbs is used for light — the rest is wasted as heat.  By using CFLs and LEDs that give off less heat, you can reduce your need for air conditioning and save money. In addition, CFLs cost about 75% less to operate, and last about 10 times longer, while LED lights use about 85% less energy compared to standard incandescent bulbs. Similarly, turn off or place electronics into energy saver mode whenever possible.

Summer hours, casual Fridays:

If your business allows it, reducing the number of work hours in summer may enable you to shut down and switch off in more ways than one. Some companies offer employees Fridays or alternate Fridays off, or half-day Fridays. Even if all your employees need to be in the office,  having casual Fridays, when suits can be left at home, may allow your business to lower the air conditioning bills.

Don’t Forget The Exterior: 

Consider a cool roof, which is designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat. Do you know what the estimated temperature difference is between a cool roof and a standard roof? Click here to get the answer. You can also plant tress or plan your landscape to provide even more shade. Green roofs or rooftop gardens help absorb heat and act as insulators for the building. They also help with stormwater runoff in urban environments that might otherwise result in damaging floods.

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