After payroll, energy is one of the largest operating costs for a commercial building. What are facilities professionals across the country doing to control operating expenses and contribute to a healthy bottom line?
Green, energy-efficient retrofit projects and procedures are high on the list. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, almost 60% of existing office buildings were built before 1980; many are past due for upgrades to aging building equipment and systems.
Plug Load Projects
This sustainable effort doesn’t require a big upfront investment, and the paybacks are worth the small price you might spend. No-cost ways to control plug load include unplugging unnecessary office equipment or designating specific employees to shut down printers, copiers, coffee machines, etc. after-hours. Facilities professionals are also spending money on energy-efficient office equipment, power management software, and power strips with built-in sensors that power down equipment when an office is vacant.
Implementing Green Leases
Tenant demands to go green are on the rise, which is causing property managers to support these requests through building projects that increase energy efficiency. Green leases can motivate tenants to reduce energy consumption, produce less waste, decrease water usage, and purchase efficient equipment. These leases can also be written to offer property managers incentives for funding the projects necessary for green retrofits.
Performing Energy Audits
One of the first steps in understanding building energy use is examining equipment, operations, and usage patterns to find out exactly how much energy is being used – and which equipment is using it. If you jump into an energy-efficiency project without completing an energy audit, you may not be putting dollars toward your building’s biggest energy-efficiency problems. From detecting missing insulation to pinpointing high lighting levels, a commercial energy audit can reduce energy costs by 10% to 40%, according to Abraxas Energy Consulting.
On average, lighting retrofits can yield 45% ROI in about two years, according to a statistic from the Energy Cost Savings Council. Whether it’s a lamp replacement, de-lamping, or installing occupancy sensors, lighting retrofits are oftentimes a priority simply because commercial lighting is second only to space heating when it comes to overall energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Window Film Installation
Protecting your facility from exterior elements can help with utility bills, occupant comfort, and employee productivity. When it comes to improving the building envelope, window film is one investment that will help you reach your green goals. High-performance window film can offer year-round savings on energy costs by keeping the heat out in summer and keeping the heat in during winter. It can also improve productivity by reducing glare and making interior temperatures more comfortable.
Have you implemented any of these energy-efficiency upgrades we mentioned? What kind of results are you seeing?