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Fix Energy Management Mistakes

April 29, 2014 | 0 comments

Despite best intentions, you and your staff may be making these common energy management mistakes. Though green building technology is becoming more advanced, remembering the basics is what can help drive down energy consumption even further.

Starting HVAC Equipment Too Early
Start-up and shut-down of mechanical equipment doesn’t always match building occupancy. According to FirstFuel, more than half of commercial buildings may be starting HVAC equipment too early – these buildings are ready for occupancy a full hour earlier than necessary, and are still conditioned for occupancy many hours after occupants leave (or even all night long). As an energy management solution, adjust start-up times for HVAC equipment and consider sequencing. As BOMA points out, if all your equipment starts at 8 am, peak demand will be much higher than if equipment starts sequentially beginning at 7:45 am for a span of 30 to 45 minutes.

Propping Exterior Doors Open
Stores, restaurants, and even office buildings prop exterior doors open to attract business, make deliveries easier, allow for fresh air, compensate for overcooling or overheating, or to provide easy access to outdoor seating and lounge areas. Doing this, however, is a huge energy waster. A Consolidated Edison study found that a 10,000-square-foot business keeping an exterior door open for eight hours a day, five days a week, wastes 4,200 kilowatt hours of electricity and pays an additional $1,000 on its annual electrical bill. While we assume that most office buildings don’t keep doors open all day, every day, doing so occasionally can still negatively impact energy use. In fact, New York City and Washington, DC, have both enacted laws to prohibit buildings from propping exterior doors open while running air-conditioning.

Ignoring Plug Loads
A recent study of nine Boston buildings (offices and hotels) by A Better City found that plug loads and lighting make up the majority of electricity consumption. In high-efficiency buildings, plug loads may account for more than 50% of total energy consumption, says the U.S. GSA’s Sustainable Facilities Tool. As an energy management solution, make plug load reduction a priority – and don’t forget server rooms and telecomm infrastructure when you’re analyzing plug load. These rooms and pieces of equipment may not take up a lot of space, but they can account for a lot of electricity consumption.

Not Replacing Incandescent Lamp
Along with 100-watt and 75-watt incandescent bulbs, 60- and 40-watt bulbs are now banned in the United States. Stores can continue to sell the incandescent light bulbs they have in stock through the end of the year, but it’s now illegal to manufacture incandescent bulbs in the United States. To better manage energy, it’s time to upgrade to either LEDs or CFLs for your task lights and any fixtures that still use them.

What other energy management mistakes have you made (or seen other facilities professionals make)?

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