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5 Low-Cost Energy-Efficiency Solutions that Make a Big Impact

May 1, 2012 | 0 comments

Installing occupancy sensors, vending machine controls, and LED exit signs are great starts when it comes to low-cost sustainability initiatives. But have you thought about the changes you can implement that cost almost nothing? These small, inexpensive (or free) modifications lower water and energy use even more, save additional money, and improve productivity for tenants and occupant.

These 5 changes can make a big impact on your bottom line:

Delamping. If lighting levels are higher than the IES illumination standard (or if occupants complain of light that’s too bright), remove unnecessary fluorescent lamps. The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa saves more than $15,000 a year with its delamping initiative (and hasn’t received any complaints due to reduced lighting levels). The Missouri Industrial Assessment Center has an online calculator you can use to estimate delamping savings. Check it out here.

Smart power strips. Nearly 30% of U.S. corporate computers aren’t shut off at night. Use smart power strips (power strips that use timers, current sensors, or occupancy sensors to determine when peripheral equipment should be shut off) to save up to 100 kWh per year. For occupants who forget to turn off radios, space heaters, fans, computer monitors, task lights, etc., this can cut back significantly on unnecessary energy use. Rebates for smart power strips might also be available through utility companies.

Day Cleaning
Small changes (like switching to day cleaning) don’t cost much, but offer big savings in return.

Day cleaning vs. night cleaning. Construction firm Fluor Corp. switched from night cleaning to day cleaning in three of its facilities; due to this new initiative, the buildings’ lights are now off by9 p.m. instead of2:30 a.m., saving nearly $70,000 each year.

Changing HVAC filters. According to ENERGY STAR, each dirty HVAC filter can cost an extra $5 per month (and could shorten the life of HVAC equipment). Replace filters regularly to save energy and maximize equipment life. This is especially effective in multi-family housing and hotels; according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, a 300-room hotel can avoid increased HVAC costs of $12,045 a year by changing filters regularly.

  • Relocate thermostats. If thermostats are located near sources of heat or cold (windows, office equipment, etc.), they could send incorrect information to the HVAC system. Relocate thermostats near return air ducts, if possible. And while you’re checking thermostats, also check vents, grilles, etc. Many hot/cold complaints are caused by blocked diffusers. Walk through the building before peak cooling season and peak heating season to make sure furniture isn’t blocking airflow.

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