Four Ways Facilities Can Reduce Energy
Far too many businesses and building owners still file their energy bills under “uncontrollable expenses.” While they may have taken steps over the years to reduce consumption, many now view these utility charges as merely the cost of doing business.
However, according to Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group, there is more that can be done to reduce energy consumption and costs.
“With energy costs making up to 20 percent of the average office building’s operating costs and with these costs rising, we must always look for new ways to reduce consumption,” he says.
Here are four steps building/business owners can take now:
Measure and monitor: Know how much energy is currently being consumed in the facility. This can be determined by using an online sustainability “dashboard” system to measure and monitor energy consumption. With this information, business/building owners can establish a benchmark and then evaluate their progress as they implement energy reducing strategies.
Retro-commissioning: Retro-commissioning typically requires minimal capital outlay but can produce considerable savings. It involves giving buildings a tune-up: testing thermostats on boilers and coolers to make sure they are operating correctly; conducting HVAC diagnostics; fine-tuning when building mechanicals go on and off.
End demand charges: Utility companies often charge business customers a “demand charge.” Business customers demand a lot of energy for a short period, instead of a steady stream of less energy throughout the day. Cost effective “smart” control systems can be installed that moderate energy use for heating and air conditioning, helping to reduce energy needs and demand charges, trimming utility bills by as much as 30 percent.
Create a culture of efficiency: A culture of efficiency is created when building users become a sustainability team, looking and suggesting ways to reduce energy needs. This can result in significant energy and monetary savings.
“Always keep looking for energy reduction opportunities,” adds Ashkin. “It’s a never-ending journey, but one with lots of cost savings along the way.