Saving Energy While Staying Warm
Tips to help facility managers control costs during the long, cold winter.
If you are an in-house facility manager, the odds are pretty high that you spend a lot of time focusing on your operation’s bottom line.
While during summer months your main concern is keeping the building cool without increasing your energy bill, wintertime shifts your gears to keeping the building warm without breaking the bank.
There are few things that you should consider implementing this winter — if you aren’t already doing so — to help you to save money and energy.
Usually forgotten, motion sensors are an awesome solution for hallways, restrooms, conference rooms, break rooms, stock rooms and any other space that is not fully occupied throughout the day.
By installing a motion sensor you will cut your energy cost in up to 90 percent, especially if the room is rarely used, and as a result, a light could stay on for days at a time if forgotten.
Easy to install and available in different shades, window films are perfect for buildings facing south as it will help you to save energy and reduce glare, without compromising the amount of daylight getting into the room.
For a better understanding of how much you will save, take a look at the different window film energy calculators online.
LED All The Way
While compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) is more efficient than incandescent lighting, you still can bring your energy costs down by replacing your current CFLs with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.
Depending on the size of your building, consider a high-efficiency, dual-stage furnace to help you to save energy while keeping the building warmer.
Having a space that is designed to accommodate different heating and cooling systems is essential to energy savings, especially if part of the building is not used on a regular basis, such as a conference center, gymnasium or stock room.
Zone Controlled Lighting
Another easy way to save energy is by having your lighting system designed in a way where the building gets lit in sections.
Here, the parts of the building that don’t get to be used very often remain with the lighting turned off.
Every office space should have task lighting installed as part of their design plan.
This way, employees would be able to work efficiently using lighting that’s more appropriated than a general option.
Considering that, when it comes to temperature and comfort zone, not every person is at the same level, another option for the colder months is to set the building at a cooler temperature while allowing employees to have space heaters in the offices.
This way you will keep your energy costs down.
If your doors and windows are fairly new but you still feel the draft during cold months, you should look into installing new weather stripping throughout your office building.
I know that might sounds obvious to many of us, but unfortunately a large amount of individuals forget to check how well insulated their office building is.
Such a mistake ends up reflected in their monthly energy costs.
Check Your Windows
Poor quality windows can generate a considerable increase in your monthly energy costs since they facilitate hot air escaping the space.
Every year check your windows to make sure they are fully operable and no air is leaking through.
Otherwise, consider replacing your current windows with new, high-efficiency ones.
Hiring an energy professional to perform an in-depth energy assessment of your building will allow you to address specific matters such as poor insulation and air leakage that is invisible to the human eye.
VK Sustainable Concepts’ Principal Andrea Vollf, LEED AP ID+C, is a registered interior designer and sustainability professional. Vollf is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council — Illinois Chapter, with in?depth knowledge of sustainability. Vollf is also one of the co-founders of NEW — Networking of Entrepreneurial Women — a networking group that is committed to supporting and promoting entrepreneurial women in the Chicago suburban area. Connect with Vollf on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Icon ID is dedicated to providing more energy efficient technology for all lighting needs.