Commercial buildings consume significant amounts of energy in the U.S., accounting for 40% of total energy use and nearly half of total CO2 emissions. And even though more companies are paying closer attention to their energy consumption than ever before, actually changing their behavior to use less power on a daily basis isn’t as simple as it might sound. In fact, there are so many facets to energy management that it can be hard to pinpoint which conservation measures will be the most impactful.
Below are four energy conservation techniques guaranteed to produce favorable results for your bottom line. Implementing them also ensures you’re part of the solution when it comes to tackling our nation’s energy challenges.
4 Impactful Energy Conservation Techniques For Buildings
1. Build a strong energy conservation strategy with an audit.
The purpose of a commercial building energy audit is to analyze and understand your facility’s energy usage. Essentially it consists of collecting data about your energy consumption patterns and doing a thorough review of your utility bills to identify appropriate energy efficiency measures and tailor them to your building operations. While it’s helpful to be familiar with the rest of the energy efficiency measures identified below, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding with them—and actually reducing the amount of energy your facility uses—if they are designed specifically for your building. It helps to have an energy partner who can conduct the audit and help you navigate the many solutions available to conserve.A commercial building energy audit collects data about your building's energy consumption patterns to identify energy efficiency measures and tailor them to your building operations. Click To Tweet
2. Improve your lighting system.
Numerous companies worldwide have already switched to LED lights, which can easily be installed in pre-existing lighting fixtures in most commercial buildings. LEDs use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs; they last 25 times longer; and often produce better quality light than incandescents. In addition, many utility companies offer rebates as incentives for companies to switch. Lighting retrofit is often considered a “low-hanging fruit” that instantly and easily helps achieve significant reductions in energy usage. (Check out this article from Buildings.com on how to maximize LED retrofits.)
3. Intelligently control building temperature.
A standard energy management system lets you set a daily schedule for building temperature changes, but doing the same thing routinely doesn’t mean you’re doing things optimally. Using a smart thermostat—one that has access to real-time data about occupancy, weather, or heat pump utilization, for example—allows you to control the indoor temperature on the fly to match the building’s actual conditions. If there’s an after-hours conference, an early closing, or an unusual weather event, a smart thermostat can detect increased or decreased occupancy and optimize thermostat settings accordingly.
Energy Conservation Techniques That Pay Dividends
If you’re working to improve your commercial building’s energy efficiency, you can reap some additional financial benefits for doing so by participating in demand response programs. To help stretch the capacity of the grid, utilities sometimes ask their customers to use less energy during certain peak demand times, a program they call demand response. Even industries with 24/7 power requirements can now participate, thanks to alternative energy options available such as back-up generators, battery storage, solar power, and more. Significant earnings are possible for companies willing to alter their energy use patterns for the greater good: here’s how 16 companies in the San Antonio, TX, area earned over $1.5 million combined for participating in CPS Energy’s DR program!
4. Get your employees engaged in conservation.
Looking for an energy saving tip for your office building? Find ways to engage your employees in energy conservation from the ground up. Energy company VEIC offers “Energy Treasure Hunts,” which pair facilitators and staff members in uncovering ways to save around the office. Turning conservation into a “collaborative quest” gets staff more invested in the conservation effort and excited to share what they learned with coworkers. (Read more about how to do an energy treasure hunt here.)
Aside from a treasure hunt, Constellation offers a number of actual campaign ideas. You could also look for local competitions on energy efficiency such as Louisville’s Kilowatt Crackdown, or build your own competition. Research has shown that any energy-saving tips for employees you come up with are more likely to succeed if employees believe their coworkers are invested in energy conservation, so spotlight your employees’ efforts as often as you can.