While the primary focus of our blog is to talk about remanufactured office furniture and the many benefits refurbished cubicles offer to the environment, it is also important to think about some of the other facets of your building and how they can work together to help you save money and benefit our environment.
Today the big question is, Is your company’s building energy-efficient? By making small adjustments to building systems or installing energy-efficient equipment, your company can save hundreds to thousands of dollars per year on utility bills. There have been industry studies that estimate that commercial and industrial businesses can implement cost-effective energy-efficiency improvements that will result in between 8% and 14% in natural gas savings over a 10 year period. Many local utilities also offer cash incentives for a portion of the cost for installing certain types of qualifying equipment. The size, type or age of your business doesn’t matter, there are many low risk, high return energy-efficiency opportunities out there. By investing in energy-efficiency, businesses can improve profitability, reduce overhead, and mitigate environmental impacts.
Energy saving opportunities relate to behavioral changes, operational improvements, equipment replacement, and facility renovation. Energy-efficiency measures can be as simple as adjusting the space temperature during unoccupied hours or even just turning off the lights when a space is not in use. For larger businesses, hiring an energy auditor to examine the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, building envelope and any process equipment is recommended to identify the most cost effective energy efficiency opportunities for your business.
A simple way to save on utility bills every month is to implement low-cost or no-cost energy-efficiency improvements. For businesses that use natural gas for space and water heating, here are a few common improvements that are recommended.
Check your programmable thermostat. In most facilities, the majority of waste occurs at night and on the weekends when your building is unoccupied. Program your thermostat for a lower temperature when the building is unoccupied to reduce unnecessary heating and save money. When it is warm weather, using a programmable thermostat can reduce unnecessary cooling and help you to save electricity as well.
Tune Up Boiler
Boilers consume great amounts of energy to provide heat to buildings and industrial processes. Boilers need regular maintenance in order to operate at peak efficiency. Any reduction of boiler efficiency due to poor draft/gascontrol, dirty burner tips, or fouled heat exchanger surfaces is wasting natural gas. A qualified specialist is recommended to tune the boiler for peak efficiency as well as to help you save money throughout the winter months.
Use Less Hot Water
Large amounts of natural gas are used for heating water in commercial applications. Hot water consumption can be cut in hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools and laudromats by installing low-flow faucets, showerheads, pre-rinse spray valves and other water saving appliances can save natural gas used to heat all that water.
Check Your HVAC System
Most HVAC systems come configured with economizers, which function similarly to opening a window, and use fresh, outside air to heat and cool the building when temperatures are suitable. If a economizer is working properly, it can reduce the amount of energy used to heat and cool a building. It will also improve comfort and reduce utility costs through out the year.
Install High-Efficiency Heating Equipment
Whether you are building a new facility or replacing equipment in an old facility, you should consider installing high-efficiency space and water heating equipment. Initially, they may be more expensive, but the combination of utility rebates and natural gas savings typically provide payback in a few short years.
Upgrade to a Condensing Hot Water Boiler
Manufacturers now offer high efficiency boilers. Businesses with large boiler or boilers that operate year round to provide heat to manufacturing processes, laundry, and kitchen facilities can save considerable amounts of natural gas by upgrading to a condensing hot water boiler.