As we get closer to the coldest months of the year, you might’ve started to bring out your flannel shirts and your favorite sweaters. That might make you a little warmer for the coming weather, but what have you done to prepare your business?
Winter uses up a lot of energy in terms of both lighting and heating needs. As it gets darker earlier into the work day and the temperatures start to dip, the energy use in your commercial building or office is bound to increase.
Applying even just a few commercial energy efficiency measures can end up saving lots of energy and, in turn, a significant amount of money. In this post, we’re going to go over some specific and actionable tips for you to keep the workplace energy efficient in the winter.
The Little Things Add Up
Not everything has to involve huge upgrades or adjustments to your entire business. One of the most essential commercial energy saving tips for winter we have is to try everything, no matter how small it is.
All of those little things are going to add up and make an impact on your overall energy efficiency this winter.
Lower the Thermostat
For starters, lowering your thermostat even a few degrees can have a huge effect on how much energy you use.
Keeping your thermostat between 65 and 68 degrees during the day instead of a balmy 75 can save a ton of energy.
Only heat areas that you use consistently. You don’t need to heat up meeting rooms that are never in use, for example. You don’t need to keep your building heated during off-hours when no one is there.
For those types of spaces and times, keep the temperature at 60 to 65 degrees.
If you haven’t already, switch your light bulbs to LED or CFL options. Energy Star lists those options among their recommendations for small businesses, as they’re two of the most energy efficient type of light bulb that you can have.
Overall lighting retrofits including replacing bulbs with energy efficient options, different equipment, and even eliminating unnecessary lighting can reduce your energy consumption and save money in the long run.
Turn Off and Power Down
Much like reducing your heating in areas that go unused, you should turn off or power down machinery, computers, appliances, and other things that use up energy when you’re not using them. Even just having things plugged in and shut off uses up energy, which is essentially wasted as it’s not being used. Coffee makers, lights, those computers in the office that nobody uses — don’t just turn them off, unplug them when not in use!
During holidays and vacations, have your employees shut down and turn off their computers. Turn off and unplug holiday lights when you’re all out of the building.
All of this might seem insignificant, but it will all add up to some big energy savings.
Perform an Energy Audit
An energy audit is essentially an energy analysis of your business/facility. This audit will then produce a report that indicates:
- Where your business can be more energy efficient
- Areas that need improvement
- Areas you’re doing well
- How you can save on energy
Before you start updating your business and making changes, you want to understand exactly where you should be making those changes to have the biggest impact on your commercial energy efficiency. While most adjustments you make can save energy, an energy audit will help you identify the key places your business can improve, especially as you enter the coldest (and highest energy-use) months of the year.
We offer a free energy audit along with personalized recommendations to help you get started on implementing commercial energy saving tips this winter.
Demand Control Ventilation
Demand control ventilation adjusts the amount of outside ventilated air that comes into your building depending on how many people are occupying the building. Traditional ventilation systems have a steady rate at which they pump outside air into the building to keep air quality fresh and up to code, usually at a rate of 15 to 20 cubic feet of outside air per person per minute.
However, this fixed rate ventilation isn’t always needed when the building isn’t fully occupied (or occupied at all). Not only is a lot of unnecessary energy and power used up pumping air in and out of the building, but that air must also be heated up during the winter months, which also uses up energy.
Demand control ventilation works differently by monitoring carbon dioxide levels and ventilating air as needed based on those levels. This reduces energy waste as you only ventilate and heat the air that you need.
Update/Upgrade Your Energy Management System
If you combine the general ideas of the energy audit and the demand control ventilation system, you get the overall principle of an energy management system. Energy management systems both monitor and control various aspects of energy consumption and use within your building.
These systems can control energy use, identify areas where energy could be saved or reduced, and report data to understand your energy usage, emissions, and more. These systems can help streamline your understanding of your energy consumption and allow you to make adjustments as time progresses.
This will allow you to analyze your use and adjust as temperature changes and as your business evolves.
If your business utilizes refrigeration, switching to ECM Motors can greatly increase your winter energy efficiency. In fact, the National Institutes of Health reports that energy efficiency above 90 percent is common with these types of motors. The same report also shows that these motors in HVAC applications can reduce energy use by as much as 75 percent.
It’s Time to Start Preparing for Winter Energy Efficiency
It’s never too early to start getting ready for the colder months. In fact, it’s better to start on these commercial energy saving tips early so everything can be installed and applied before that first cold spell hits.
Get started today by contacting us. We can set up your free energy audit and make our expert recommendations on how you can improve your energy efficiency.