Ways To Save

Key Accounts Serious About Saving Energy

The top ten areas commercial and industrial customers should review for energy savings are:

  1. Lighting - Lighting represents a significant portion of the energy used at an industry or large commercial facility. In some cases such as warehouses, lighting can account for up to 40% of the total energy usage. That is why it is important to analyze your facility’s lighting and investigate opportunities to make energy efficiency improvements. Simply turning lights off when not required is one way to save energy. Other options include removing lamps, or “de-lamping,” from multi-lamp fixtures. In 4-lamp cases, this involves disconnecting the ballast as well. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs. Replace existing T12 lamps with energy efficient T8 lamps and electronic ballasts and take advantage of any natural light. Occupancy sensors are also important for areas that have sporadic use.
  2. Compressed air - Even small leaks in a compressed air system can add up to significant energy loss. Locate and repair any noticeable air leaks. As much as 15% of generated compressed air can be lost due to air leaks. Reduce compressor operating pressure. Consider replacing any undersized air piping to reduce lost pressure. Warm air can reduce the efficiency of air compressors. Consider piping in cold outside air. Consider purchasing compressors with variable speed drives.
  3. Heating - Heating accounts for about 55% of a typical home’s energy usage. Depending on the business, it can account for the same. Appropriate thermostat settings are essential in order to keep heating costs to a minimum. The thermostat should be set as low as possible in the heating season. Between 68 and 72 degrees is typically recommended. Programmable thermostats can help in lowering heating bills by adjusting room temperatures to different times of the day, such as occupied and unoccupied times. For multiple heating systems, the installation of an energy management system can stage the cycling of the units to minimize peak demand use. It is also a good idea to have your HVAC system serviced annually and clean or replace the heating and cooling filters monthly.
  4. Cooling - Like heating, air conditioning also represents significant energy use. Controlling thermostat settings are essential to keeping cooling costs low. Temperatures of 74 – 78 degrees are recommended. You may also consider using fans to supplement air conditioning. For every two degrees you increase your thermostat setting, you may save 6-10% on cooling costs. For facilities that have multiple A/C systems, consider installing an energy management system which allows for staged cycling of the units to minimize demand by preventing all of the units from operating at once.
  5. Ventilation - Consider using variable-frequency motors on ventilation fans, which are often used in large manufacturing or warehouse settings. Fans utilizing variable-frequency motors save energy by allowing the volume of air moved to match the system demand.
  6. Hot Water - Each commercial user of electricity may have specific water heating needs. Therefore, opportunities for energy efficiency can vary. If your business uses standard water heaters, look at the thermostat settings. If possible, adjust thermostat settings to 120 degrees or lower. Encourage employees to be conscious of water use and to reduce it if possible. Installing faucet aerators and fixing leaks are essential also.
  7. Cooking - For those in the food service industry, cooking represents about 21% of their total energy use. As older equipment fails, replace it with energy efficient equipment. Minimize pre-heating times so that equipment is not used more than necessary. When replacing equipment, consult with local gas and electric utilities to determine which might offer the greatest energy savings.
  8. Refrigeration - Refrigeration accounts for 10 – 15% of a commercial user’s energy. For those in the grocery business, it accounts for close to 40%. Periodically check for air leaks on refrigerator door. Make sure a tight seal is formed to prevent cold air from escaping. Encourage employees to be conscious of keeping refrigerator and freezer doors open only when necessary. This will reduce compressor operation. As refrigeration equipment fails, replace it with energy efficient models.
  9. Windows - Windows can be beneficial or detrimental when it comes to energy savings. Sunlight entering windows can significantly increase cooling load; however, heat gain through windows can potentially reduce heating costs in the winter. Interior window film can reduce solar heat gain passing through glass while not reducing visibility. Awnings can reduce glare and heat gain through windows. Finally, properly placed landscaping (shade trees, shrubbery, etc.) can provide shading in the summer and a wind break in the winter.
  10. Intermittent/plug loads (i.e. office equipment, large motor loads, etc.) - Office equipment is increasingly becoming a larger portion of the total energy use in office settings. Simply making sure that any non-essential computers or equipment are turned off during non-business hours and weekends is the easiest way to save energy with office equipment. Many ENERGY STAR labeled products have energy saver options such as stand-by modes that automatically turn off equipment.
  11. Demand management - Consider shifting infrequent tasks that require energy use to an off-peak time. Any equipment/process/operation that can be moved from an on-peak time to off-peak time can result in significant demand savings. This, of course, will vary based on when the facility sets its peak demand.
    For facilities that have multiple A/C systems, consider installing an energy management system which allows for staged cycling of the units to minimize demand by preventing all of the units from operating at once.