Tag Archives: energy conservation measures

Changing light bulb

Changing light bulb by USAGYongsan on Flickr

Managing total energy costs over time requires an energy strategy focused on quantity as well as price. Energy conservation measures can go a long way toward lowering consumption and associated costs while achieving sustainability goals and meeting regulatory compliance.

These top four high-impact measures should be included in most energy conservation projects:

  • Lighting Retrofits – Almost always the quickest payback and most profitable energy conservation measure
  • Building Automation Controls – Comparable to lighting in quick payback and cost-effective savings
  • Water Conservation – Among the most aggressive ROI measures to provide big dollar savings and fast paybacks
  • HVAC Upgrades – Can improve efficiency on a large scale

Also reference the DOE – Office Building Energy Checklist

rising business performanceThere are many options for evaluating energy savings ROI (return on investment).  “Payback” is still the most widely used measure of value and describes the number of years it takes for the cost of an investment to be recovered through the annual savings that it provides.

Many industry corporate managers are often not impressed by proposed energy savings.  Yet the same results may be enthusiastically received when impacts are related to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the client’s business operations.  This means expressing a reduction in energy use (or cost) per unit that the business uses to measure output and productivity on a daily basis:  tons of product, barrels of product, gallons per revenue passenger mile, energy costs per square foot, energy cost per meal served in a restaurant, BTUs per employee, or the total annual energy spent as a percentage of net income.

Defining your energy costs of production is an essential step to understanding how energy affects your productivity and profit margin.  Businesses are best served by making the additional effort to carry the efficiency project ROI, Payback and Savings calculations out one step further and applying the energy costs/ savings to the functional business KPIs that represent the strategic purpose of the business.

Once the energy efficiency projects are brought back full circle and get measured in day-to-day operational terms the company will achieve true synergistic reductions in energy use.

Get Going

Armed with total energy usage data, meter data, Energy Star rankings and a prioritized list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), a Facilities Manager is prepared to establish a list of operational units of output that can be directly tied to energy consumed.  Conversely, all energy conservation measures and energy efficiency measures can now be expressed in operational business terms

  • Define your organizational business metrics or production measurements.
  • Redefine your current energy efficiency project in terms of Business KPIs.
  • Create company, employee and/or tenant awareness with lobby and cafeteria based energy reporting kiosks.
  • Establish an on-going measurement, monitoring and tracking program for these newly established KPIs.
USACE, Sembach develop net-zero energy master plan

USACE, Sembach develop net-zero energy master plan by USACE Europe District on Flickr

Building energy audits can be performed on commercial and industrial buildings to assess the amount of energy currently being used and assist in prioritizing and implementing energy-efficiency projects. Energy audits use a variety of techniques to evaluate energy efficiency and identify potential efficiency improvements to lower utility bills and increase comfort. Energy Star rating is just one method of establishing a comparative baseline of the energy usage of a building. Energy audits will assist building owners and property managers in identifying ways to help lower operating costs and create a more competitive position for their building in the real estate market.

Energy audits can be obtained at no cost to the building owner and at a minimum should include a review of the building envelope and building operations.

Typical energy audit reports will include similar recommendations in the following areas:

  • Building Envelope and Building Operations
  • Lighting Systems
    • Occupancy sensors for lighting in amenity areas
  • Heating and Cooling
    • Scheduled start and stop of HVAC equipment and lighting
  • Water Heating
    • Reset boiler hot water temperatures based upon outside air temp
    • Lower domestic hot water temp to 120 degrees
  • Energy Management Systems and Controls
    • Repair/ Replace defective zone control valves
    • Controls to lock out central cooling below 50 degrees
    • Controls to lock out central heating above 65 degrees
  • Set space temperatures during unoccupied times up to 85 degrees/ set back to 65 degrees at night
  • Annual Maintenance
    • Changing filters, cleaning coils and cleaning tubes/duct-work
  • Heat Recovery Operations

Sample Energy Audit Recommendations

Low Cost/ No-Cost Energy Conservation Measures

  • Install Programmable thermostats
  • Insulate interior hot water pipes
  • Install photocell control of parking lot and exterior lighting
  • Global Control for computer monitors “off” after 15 minutes of inactivity or at night

Retrofit or Upgrade at next replacement cycle

  • Evaluate potential savings for alternate Power Systems – Variable Frequency Drives
  • Install low flow faucets, and toilets
  • Install higher efficiency heating or cooling systems
  • Increase roof insulation
  • Evaluate window replacement
  • Replace higher efficiency lighting in common areas, exit lighting and stairwell lighting

Higher efficiency lighting in room areas, especially to replace incandescent bulbs

Get Going

  • Take advantage of DOE’s Energy Star – energy benchmarking software to easily get started and help you establish priorities.
  • Contact a deregulated energy broker in your area and request a free energy audit
  • Contact your local utility company and request a free energy audit
  • Review, prioritize and assign energy conservation measures and energy efficiency measures to ensure all high impact ROI and Low Cost projects are assigned and implemented first.

Contact your local energy broker to provide a list of all available energy rebates and tax incentives.