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January 31, 2017
The average commercial building wastes 30 percent of its energy. This is a huge number, and the bleeding off of this energy costs your company a lot of money. Apply different changes to use energy more efficiently and responsibly. Here are seven unexpected ways that your commercial building can waste energy on a regular basis.
1. Employees Running Space Heaters
A typical problem, especially in offices, is that your employees are cold. This may be because either the air conditioning is too high or the heat isn't high enough. Employees who sit at a desk the majority of the day are likely to get cold if the temperature is off and they aren't moving around much. They may take it upon themselves to bring in a space heater to keep at their desk just to keep warm during the day.
This is a problem because not only are you already paying to heat or cool the building but now you're also paying to run the space heaters of your employees. Banning them from bringing them won't solve the issue as they will still be cold and unhappy. Start out by making sure that vents aren't being blocked and thermostats are in the right locations. Employees may move furniture around and inadvertently block some of the vents. It's important that the vents are kept clear for the air to circulate properly. Regarding thermostats, they were probably installed in the correct location initially, but through changes in layout, they may no longer be in ideal spots. Thermostats should be 4 feet above the finished floor and on a flat, interior wall. They should be away from heat-generating equipment and frequent foot traffic.
2. Running Computers on Nights and Weekends
Many people leave their computers or other equipment on when they're finished for the day or the weekend. Office equipment accounts for about 16 percent of an office energy use, and it costs $1 billion each year, collectively, for electricity that keeps computer monitors on when no one uses them.
Sleep Mode and More
Encourage your employees to put their computers in sleep mode or even turn them off at the end of the day. This is not only a good practice to reduce energy usage, but it will also ensure that your employees close important documents and restart their computers regularly. Turning off computers increases your firm’s security.
3. Lighting, Heating or Cooling Systems Running on Nights and Weekends
Leaving on the lights and your heating and cooling unnecessarily wastes, even more, energy than the computer monitors.
These systems should be timed to either reduce output or turn off during nights and weekends. It's not beneficial to have these systems on all night when no one is in the building. Make sure they are timed accurately.
4. Lights on All Day Long
Depending on your office space, you may not need to even leave the lights on in all areas all day long.
Let the Sunshine In
If your office has windows, make sure to let in the natural light. This reduces eye strain for your employees, and it may even make them feel happier.
5. Too Much Water
The less water you use, the less energy you need to run hot water heaters. Therefore, saving water reduces your energy bills as well.
Minimize Water Waste
First, you need to make sure to repair any pipes or fixtures that are leaking. This saves several gallons of wasted water. Next, invest in water-efficient faucets to reduce the amount of water the comes out of the spigot.
6. Not Using Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is a great way to make sure you don’t waste more energy. Invest in a wind turbine or solar arrays, depending on your location.
The more energy you get from a sustainable source, the more energy you can save as a whole. By using efficiency upgrades, you can save the energy load of the building by as much as 35 percent. If your renewable source of energy produces more electricity than you need, it goes back to the grid, and your utility company may pay you for it.
7. Vending Machines
Vending machines are constantly running and using up energy. Shut off snack vending machines at night and during the weekends without an issue since they don’t need refrigeration.
No Need for Extra Lighting
Vending machines need a lot of light so people can see their selection. Vending machines also don’t need extra lights nearby since most of them run their lights. Turn off the overhead lights near vending machines to save more power.
By taking some easy steps, you can reduce your building's energy costs while keeping your employees happy. Consider these suggestions as you move forward and implement the ones that are more relevant to your company. Scheduling a commercial energy audit can help your company discover additional ways to conserve energy and reduce its utility bills.
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