10 Energy-Saving Ideas That You Should Know About
There's no shortage of information available to help facility managers improve building energy efficiency. Strategies such upgrading lighting systems are widely known and implemented. However, many useful energy-saving measures receive less attention. Here we give a shout out to some great ideas that may have flown under your radar.
- Cool roof coating
Reflective roofing throws back heat and helps keep buildings cool. This can lead to substantial energy savings, depending on the climate and other factors. Look for roofing products that are ENERGY STAR certified.
- Reduce solar heat gain
Install reflective solar film, shades or awnings on south- and west-facing windows. This will help lower cooling costs and reduce ultraviolet radiation. Also, close shades or other window treatments during peak daytime hours.
- Variable frequency drives
For facilities with little or no occupancy during nights and weekends, variable frequency drives (VFD) can reduce airflow (and the power needed to drive the air) by up to 80 percent.
Skylights equipped with photo sensors and lighting controls cut energy costs by replacing artificial light with free daylight. In one case, a grocery store reduced lighting costs by 30 percent.
- Energy-efficient landscaping
A well-designed landscape can reduce cooling costs by up to 50 percent and heating bills by up to 40 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Leafy trees on the south and east side of your building provide cooling shade in the summer while allowing the sun to warm your facility in the winter. Evergreen trees on the north and west sides provide protections from cold winter winds.
- Energy recovery ventilation (ERV)
ERV systems save energy by capturing up to 80% of exhaust heat and transferring it to the incoming fresh air supply. In summer, conditioned air is used to cool the warmer supply air, reducing air conditioning costs.
- Air curtains
Air curtains keep outdoor heat and cold from entering the building. They also help to control insects, dust and odors. Available in a variety of sizes and strengths, they are commonly used in warehouses, walk-in coolers, delivery doors and more.
- LED exit signs
Exit lighting operates continuously, and light-emitting diode (LED) lamps are rapidly becoming the standard in exit lighting because of their high energy efficiency and long life—20 to 50 years. While LEDs have a higher initial cost, they more than pay for themselves in reduced energy use and lower maintenance.
- Combine printers
Printers consume a surprising amount of energy, even when they are not printing. The average printer costs about $40 per year to operate, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Sharing printers saves energy, reduces equipment costs and cuts down on paper use.
- Laundry equipment controls
If your facility has laundry operations, heat generated from laundry equipment requires a significant increase in air conditioning load to keep these areas comfortable. Install electrically actuated steam valves and mechanical timers on steam tables to reduce energy use and air conditioning load.
Choose the right measures for your facility and implement them. The savings will help you appreciate the benefits of energy efficiency.
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