6 Tips for Managing Commercial Energy Consumption
Is your commercial energy consumption out of control? Then you need an effective commercial energy management strategy. And, lucky for you, we've laid one out for you right here in this guide.
Below, you'll find several tips on how to get your building's energy use under control and keep it that way. For instance, you'll learn what steps you can take to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings while reducing energy consumption.
Best of all, effective energy management results in a plethora of invaluable benefits for your business. It saves you money, prevents brownouts, and boosts your image as an eco-conscious company. To reap these benefits for yourself, follow these steps for managing commercial energy.
1. Get an Energy Audit
The first step to managing energy is to get a professional opinion regarding how your building uses energy. Your energy company should do this for free.
Through the audit, they can tell you how much energy you're using, how much is being wasted unnecessarily, and what the biggest causes of energy waste in your building are. They will likely tell you some very specific steps you can take to curb your energy consumption.
2. Make Energy-Use Changes Based On the Audit
Next, don't take the auditor's advice for granted. Make a checklist of the energy-saving suggestions they make for you and create a plan to fix each of these issues.
Start with the biggest energy-wasters. Then, keep moving down the list, checking off the problems as you solve them.
Besides the specific advice of your auditor, here are some general tips on saving energy. The most obvious change to make is to get energy-efficient upgrades wherever you can.
Upgrade old, inefficient appliances and office equipment every few years. Replace them with ENERGY STAR certified devices. By reducing your energy costs, they'll soon pay for themselves, anyway.
Also, get rid of all incandescent bulbs and use only high-efficiency lightbulbs in all light fixtures. Since energy-efficient bulbs give off very little heat, this reduces cooling costs, too.
And, besides lighting fixtures, take advantage of natural sunlight as often as you can. That way, you can keep most of the lights off during the day. Additionally, consider putting in skylights.
Lastly, stop spending energy on rooms and appliances that aren't in use. Block heating/cooling to any vacant rooms. Unplug seldom-used equipment/appliances until they're needed.
3. Automate Energy Consumption
In order to follow the above tips efficiently, you'll need automation. For one thing, manually switching the lights on and off throughout the day based on the position of the sun is an unnecessary pain.
It also allows room for human error. That is, you may forget to switch the lights off when the sun's out.
It makes much more sense to automate the lighting in your building with a programmable timer. Time the lights according to shift times and sun position.
Alternatively, you can install light sensors. These detect when the sunlight is sufficient and will automatically shut off superfluous lights. Additionally, motion sensors will keep all lights off until they detect human movement.
In the same way, automate any and all types of energy consumption that you can. That includes your HVAC, external lighting, even automated window shades.
4. Monitor Your Energy Use
Even after you fix the specific issues that you know about, you'll still need to know on a regular basis how much energy your building uses. For one thing, you want to know how much improvement has been made due to your efforts.
You may, for instance, see little improvement even after your efforts to reduce energy waste. But then, you'll know you need to call your power company again to arrange a second audit.
Also, you'll be able to detect any unexpected spikes in energy use. Then, you can determine the cause and fix it. Energy monitoring also lets you notice and correct any seasonal power-wasting trends in your building.
5. Teach and Enforce Good Energy-Use Habits
As important as it is for you to know about energy management, it's equally important that the others in your building know it, too. After all, you can't enforce your energy management strategy all by yourself. In order for the strategy to succeed, you need everyone on the same page, managing energy together.
This starts with training, plus some of it will be handled by automation. But you may also need some incentives and/or penalties to keep this plan enforced.
6. Reassess Your Energy Management Strategy Quarterly
If 2020 has taught us anything, it's how quickly and drastically things can change. Energy management is no exception. The corrections you make today are by no means everlasting.
For example, your new, ENERGY STAR certified HVAC will significantly reduce your energy use for at least a few years. But, without exception, all appliances lose efficiency with age. Eventually, you'll have to replace it again to keep your energy consumption down.
Furthermore, your business will continue to change and grow, too. This can alter how your building uses energy as well.
For these and many other reasons, it's crucial that you continue to reassess your energy management strategy throughout the year. That means going through all 6 of these steps again, starting with an energy audit, at least 4 times per year.
Experience the Benefits of Commercial Energy Management
Now that you know about proper commercial energy management, do it. Follow these tips and continue following them to stop the needless waste of energy. This also lowers the energy demand in your area before it becomes too large for your grid to handle.
Lastly, please share this information with others in your local area so you can all benefit. And bookmark this page for future reference.
Now, do you have any more questions about energy management or demand response? We have all the answers you need. Start by reading these 6 Questions & Answers Regarding Demand Response in Texas.