There are a number of tools and resources available to helping your business become more energy efficient. Read on below for specific help on improving the energy efficiency of your office or business.
In order to adequately control and manage your business's energy use, you first need to know how much you are using. Once you can see the data you can then figure focus in on specific areas to improve your energy efficiency. Follow these steps to track and manage your energy use.
1. Set Your Goal- Having a goal that is easy to understand helps your team implement actions towards achieving success. For example, Park City Municipal's goal is net-zero carbon and net-100% renewable electricity by 2022. Other goals can be focused on reducing energy usage by a stated amount.
2. Commit To Energy Efficiency - Educate yourself about energy efficiency, and educate your staff about your business’ commitment to increasing energy efficiency. Promote your commitment to your customers who are interested in the steps that you are taking to save energy, and therefore keep prices lower on the products and services that you provide. For example, consider becoming an ENERGY STAR Partner, which will provide you with valuable insights into energy efficiency.
2. Develop An Energy Savings Plan - Businesses need a long-term plan that clarifies where energy savings will come from (i.e. lighting, building controls, computer power management) and the cost and benefits. No two plans will be alike, and depends on the size of your business, type of business, products or services. If you are a large business or manage many facilities you should consider developing a full Energy Management Plan.
3. Create An Energy Baseline And Benchmark - Identify how much energy your business currently uses and how much you pay for energy. Collect utility bills from the last 1-3 years and input the information into the ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager tool. This helpful tool allows you to easily monitor and track your business’ energy consumption, and highlights areas of highest priority. It also provides you with a energy benchmark by comparing your businesses to other similar businesses using national data.
4. Identify Energy Savings Opportunities - Depending on your facility and your staff resources you may be able to conduct an energy audit yourself, get started with this Simple Office Energy Checklist. Alternatively, you might want to use an outside provider to assist you with a walk-through audit.
5. Identify Financial and Technical Resources - Certain financial incentives are available from Rocky Mountain Power, Dominion Energy, and the Federal Government. See Business Energy Efficiency Rebates for more details.
6. Get It Done - Hire a contractor and/or work with the utility to complete the energy efficiency project. Complete and mail in applicable rebate and/or tax incentive application forms, communicate your achievements, and track your energy savings over time.
Simple Office Energy Checklist
This checklist outlines actions that conserve energy at the office.
- Replace incandescent lights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for desk lamps and overhead lighting. Using LEDs instead of comparable incandescent bulbs can save about 50% on your lighting costs. LEDs use only one-fourth the energy and last up to 25 times longer. Rocky Mountain Power offers an incentive program to help small businesses upgrade lighting to LEDs. See here.
- Switch off all unnecessary lights. Use dimmers, motion sensors, or occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lighting when not in use to reduce energy use and costs.
- Turn off lights when you leave at night. Use natural lighting or daylighting. When feasible, turn off lights near windows.
- Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it, to directly illuminate work areas.
- Use ENERGY STAR products.
- Close or adjust window blinds to block direct sunlight to reduce cooling needs during warm months. Overhangs or exterior window covers are most effective to block sunlight on south-facing windows.
- In the winter months, open blinds on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your workspace. At night, close the blinds to reduce heat loss.
- Unplug equipment that drains energy when not in use (i.e. cell phone chargers, fans, coffeemakers, desktop printers, radios, etc.).
- Replace desktop computers with thin clients or notebook computers and docking stations.
- Use EPEAT certified electronics like computers and servers.
- Turn off your computer and monitors at the end of the work day, if possible. If you leave your desk for an extended time, turn off your monitor.
- Turn off photocopier at night or purchase a new copier with low standby feature. Purchase printers and fax machines with power management feature and use it.
- Coordinate with vending machine vendor to turn off advertising lights.
- Have a qualified professional perform an energy audit. Check with your utility company for names of auditors.
- Install programmable thermostats.
- Check furnace ducts for disconnects or leaks.
- Ensure HVAC ductwork is well insulated.
- Ensure adjustable speed drives are operating properly. Insulate water heater, hot water piping and tanks to reduce heat loss.
- Install low-flow toilets, urinals, faucets and shower heads.
- Verify the energy management system switches into setback mode during unoccupied hours. Also, time clocks and computer controls may need adjustments after power outages or seasonal time changes.
- Save paper. Photocopy only what you need. Always use the second side of paper, either by printing on both sides or using the blank side as scrap paper. When done with paper, be sure to recycle it.
- Collect your utility bills. Separate electricity and fuel bills. Target the largest energy consumer or the largest bill for energy conservation measures.
- Carpool, bike, or use mass transit when commuting to work. Park City’s free transit system offers many options to get to work.
- To save gas, drive the speed limit, accelerate and decelerate slower, remove excess/unneeded weight, reduce unnecessary idling and miles traveled, and make sure tires are pumped up.
- Consider alternative work schedules and telecommuting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from employee commuting.
- Reduce business travel by increasing phone, video, and Web conferencing and training capabilities.
- Use coffee mugs and durable dishes and silverware instead of disposables.
- Make use of the various workplace incentive programs from Rocky Mountain Power and Dominion Energy.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy
For commercial buildings nationwide, space heating accounts for 36% of overall energy consumption. With the approach of cold weather, it is important to ensure your heating equipment is working properly and that your building is sealed tightly. After an initial check-up, monthly maintenance and energy conservation measures are necessary to keep your building's heating system running efficiently. These measures will help to maximize indoor comfort and lower winter energy bills.
- A full system checkup will ensure that all parts (fan belts, air dampers, and so on) are in working condition and operating properly. The checkup ensures more efficient operations and helps to avoid equipment failure which disrupts employees and tenants.
- Inspect heating ducts and seal any leaks. Direct leaks in duct systems can result in large heat losses.
- Check air filters throughout the building. Dirty or clogged air filters reduce air flow, thereby increasing the energy required for heating.
- Make sure all hot water tanks and piping are well insulated, even inside the heated space. This can be an inexpensive fix for a major source of heat loss.
- Ensure outside air dampers are closed during unoccupied hours, including during morning warm-up periods. Also, make sure motorized dampers are operating properly.
- Ensure that hot water or steam valves are in their proper positions to allow full flow with minimal pressure drop within the piping system.
- The operation of your heating system is regulated by thermostats. Calibrate these thermostats to ensure that they are functioning properly. Otherwise, the heating system will be receiving the wrong signals of when to start and stop.
Boiler Cleaning and Inspection
A regular maintenance program is very important, however an annual cleaning is often the best method of deterring system failure and increasing fuel savings. While an annual cleaning and inspection should follow manufacturer recommendations, some basic elements should be part of any cleaning program.
- Inspect and clean the fireside. A dirty fireside (such as one with deposits of soot and non-combustible material) will lead to loss of efficiency.
- Inspect and clean the waterside. This inspection should not begin until the boiler has cooled to 120ºF. Allowing the water to cool will limit the possibility of scalding.
- Check the refractory. Boiler failures are often caused by cracking or erosion in the refractory. Patch as necessary following manufacturer recommendations.
- Safely open the cooled burner and inspect the components. All parts should move freely without making contact with other parts. Clean all components to like-new condition.
- Detach controls and inspect them for both mechanical and electrical operation. Re-install and double check them before restarting the boiler.
- Check the fluid levels on hydraulic valves and repair any signs of leakage.
- Check filters and clean or replace them as needed.
- Check boiler feed pumps and replace or recondition if necessary.
- Empty and wash out condensate receivers and make an internal inspection. If necessary, overhaul and check for proper operation.
- First de-energize then check electrical connections on starters and relays for tightness.
Annual cleanings should be performed by a technician certified and experienced in boiler maintenance and repair.
A properly sealed and maintained building envelope is critical to maintaining building comfort and maximizing heating system efficiency. Repair air leaks, especially around windows, doors, and places where plumbing or duct work penetrates the building envelope. For an in-depth analysis of leaks, consider hiring a professional to conduct blower door tests or an energy audit, focusing on all areas of the envelope:
Windows and Skylights
- Replace broken or cracked window panes.
- Replace worn weatherstripping and caulking.
- Replace defective sealing gaskets and cam latches.
- Replace worn weatherstripping and caulking.
- Check automatic door closers for proper operation.
- Replace defective gaskets on garage doors and other overhead doors.
- Replace worn weatherstripping, caulking, and gaskets at exterior joints and at openings for electrical conduits, piping, through-the-wall units, and outside air louvers. You can borrow a thermal camera from the Park City Library to check for air leaks that need to be sealed up.
Stairwells and Shafts
- Replace worn seals and weather-stripping in stair wells, on penthouse machine room doors, in elevator shafts, in vertical service shafts, and on basement and roof equipment room doors when they are connected by a vertical shaft that serves the building
|Appliance||Power (watts)||Annual Operating Hours||Annual Energy Use (kWh)|
Annual Energy (kWh) = Power (kW) x Hours
How much does it cost to operate these personal appliances per year? Assuming an average national electricity rate of $0.11 per kilowatt-hour and a total annual energy consumption of 1,360 kWh, it would cost $150 per year to run these appliances. Add multiple instances of each appliance and the cost increases quickly.
Some might argue that because their mini-fridge is an ENERGY STAR® qualified appliance, it would make more sense for them to use it rather than a larger and older inefficient fridge available to everyone. However, a larger, older fridge still uses about 20 percent less energy per cubic foot than the average ENERGY STAR mini-fridge.
Many facility policies state that personal electrical appliances are permitted only for company/school-related purposes. The challenge is in how to determine whether an appliance is for company-related purposes.
In general, things that are used for the direct benefit of customers/students are considered company-related. For example, fridges used in laboratories for experiments or a heater for an employee/student who has a condition requiring the room temperature to be outside of the standard 68°F to 72°F. To accomplish the objective of removing personal appliances, many businesses implement phase-out periods of roughly one month.