Sum up high energy rates in your facility to over-billing by energy companies and you ‘ll see profits drop. Add old equipment in your building and it sounds even worse.
What can you do?
Bad news – the average commercial building wastes near 30% of all the energy it consumes.
Good news – there are some easy ways to close the gap.
Some improvements are no or low-cost changes, and the savings can be used to invest in building upgrades.
- Adjust the thermostat for when the building isn’t occupied and for seasonal changes.
- Replace or clean HVAC filters monthly during peak cooling or heating season. Dirty filters consume more energy and overwork the equipment.
- Control direct sun through windows in both summer and winter to prevent or encourage heat gain.
- Calibrate thermostats to ensure that the readings are correct.
- Make sure that areas in front of vents are clear because air distribution can consume 25% more energy if the vents are blocked.
- Replace air handler filters to keep the air clean and to prevent equipment from working harder than they should.
- Clean the evaporator and condenser coils on heat pumps, air-conditioners, or chillers.
- Repair leaks and adjust pressure in compressed air systems.
- Repair steam trap leaks; replace malfunctioning steam traps.
- Repair damaged insulation and replace missing insulation.
- Keep exterior doors closed while running your HVAC.
If you’ve already tried everything above and your costs aren’t going down, then it may be the time to seek other solutions, such as identifying billing errors, determining the optimal energy rate for your business, and reviewing energy agreements.
In fact, there are 3 things that you can take advantage of in order to reduce your HVAC energy expenses:
- Energy Incentives:
Many federal, state and municipal governments and even utility companies offer incentives, refunds, and rebate opportunities for LED, HVAC, and insulation improvements that usually go unnoticed. Companies can save you thousands of dollars just by finding these opportunities and making small adjustments.
- Equipment Upgrades:
There are several solutions that you could implement when it comes to equipment upgrades. New equipment will always be more efficient than old. So, if you have a cooling tower, chiller, pumps or boilers that have been requiring a lot of maintenance, chances are that you will save more money in buying a new piece of equipment than in trying to repair your old one.
Our tech team highlighted 4 equipment upgrades that can save you thousands of dollars per year.
- Modulating boiler: old boilers suck down gas, and boilers that are either one, two, three or four stage will always waste more energy than a modulating condenser boiler. It is basically the difference between driving an automatic or a manual car. The automatic car runs smoothly and will change gears by itself according to the demand. The same thing happens with the boiler and the burners. A modulating condenser boiler is compact and energy-efficient, and will directly affect your energy bills.
- VFD on cooling tower fans: most people think about variable frequency drives for pumps, but the benefits of installing VFD’s on cooling tower fans are numerous. In locations where the outside temperature can vary significantly throughout the day, there is no need for the fan to work at the same speed all the time because the water will cool down faster when the external temperature is lower. A VFD in the cooling tower fan will deliver water from the cooling tower to the chiller at a constant temperature, and your chiller will be able to run more efficiently.
- Water-source heat pumps such as ClimateMaster or BOSCH: because they move heat instead of generating heat, water source heat pumps are great if you want to save 30% to 60% on energy. Even though their installation cost is higher than other solutions, water-source and geothermal heat pumps have low operating costs because they take advantage of relatively constant ground or water temperatures.
- Building automation/control system options available in the market are all about energy management efficiency. These intelligent solutions will integrate all of your equipment to a single platform that identifies performance, allowing you to make smarter and faster decisions that impact energy savings.
- Utility bill audits: Utility bills often hide savings. Several companies specialize in finding ways that you can reduce energy costs to be more profitable, and they act as an energy advocate. They will review all your utility bills and look for opportunities for cost savings that go above and beyond negotiating fair rates and accurate taxes.
In short, energy savings is all about having good equipment, an effective maintenance plan, and taking advantages of the opportunities offered by the industry.
We put together an Ultimate Building Maintenance Checklist file for you, so you can keep track of your equipment and prevent energy expenses due to lack of maintenance.