Improving Energy Performance: Five Questions to Ask
Chances are, there’s plenty of energy waste at your facility. Finding the sources of that waste and improving efficiency can be difficult. Start with a little investigation. Take a look around your facility and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are there linear fluorescent lamps in the office or production area?
T12 lamps are no longer manufactured for sale in the United States and there are fewer T8 lamps to choose from, due to federal energy efficiency regulations. Now is the perfect time to switch to higher-efficiency and longer-lasting LED replacement lamps or fixtures.
2. Have building controls been properly tuned?
Energy management systems can reduce operating costs, but it’s easy to forget about them. Over time, sensors, thermostats and other controls can become out of tune. Ensure all system components are calibrated properly and updated to reflect seasonal changes and occupancy schedules.
3. Are plug loads using energy when they’re not in use?
Electronic equipment continues to operate 24/7, whether anyone is using it or not. Employ power management settings on computers and office equipment. Smart plugs power down devices after hours or when they’re not in use. Occupancy sensors can reduce energy use for vending machines.
4. Is maintenance reactive in nature, responding only to problems?
Scheduled, preventive maintenance for lighting and building systems can save on energy costs and keep building occupants comfortable and productive all year long. A successful preventive maintenance program requires written procedures, training and documentation.
5. Is your facility filled with personal appliances?
Space heaters, mini-refrigerators, fans and other small appliances are difficult to control from an energy management standpoint. To discourage their use, maintain a comfortable work environment and provide access to appliances in break rooms and other common areas.
Know your energy score
You’re off to a great start, but to take efficiency to the next level, you need to assess and compare your energy performance. Use ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager, a free online tool for measuring and tracking energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. You’ll get an energy score and compare your energy use to thousands of similar facilities.
If your energy performance isn’t where you want it to be, consider a facility energy audit. A professional auditor will help you target the most effective cost-saving opportunities.